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Pubs and clubs honoured at the Best Bar None Inverness Awards

By Calum MacLeod

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A RECORD number of entries were received for this year’s Best Bar None Inverness Awards recognising the various achievements of the city’s licensed trade, according to organisers.

The eighth annual awards ceremony was held at the Mercure Hotel on Monday, with 23 pubs, bars and clubs receiving prizes.

Special category award winners will now go on to represent Inverness at the Best Bar None Scottish final at Dunblane Hydro on March 19.

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael, who helped present the awards alongside Inverness Business Improvement District (BID) chairman Peter Strachan, said the event was something she looked forward to attending every year.

She told guests: “I go to a lot of dinners and very often they are quite stuffy. This is never a stuffy dinner.

“You are all ready to have a good night – you’ve worked through Christmas and the new year, some of you have had no time off at all, so tonight is your night.

“It’s because of you and what you do in your job every day that Inverness has the welcoming reputation that it has as a safe city to come to. My thanks to all of you.”

Mr Strachan said that this year’s awards once again demonstrated the high level of commitment and dedication shown by local venues to ensure the hospitality, entertainment and customer experience in Inverness is second to none.

There were three special awards presented on the evening.

The first, for best newcomer, went to whisky bar Angels’ Share, which Mr Strachan said had enhanced the local night-time economy since its opening last year.

Scott Murray, managing director of Angels’ Share parent company Cru Holdings said: “It’s great to see the fruition of all the endeavours of the team to develop what was an empty unit into a thriving bar.”

The heart of the community award went to the Chieftain Hotel, a former national winner in this category.

The Chieftain also collected the best hotel bar award and general manger Liz Lawson put the hotel’s success down to good staff, good training and a commitment to trying to do a lot for charities and the local community.

The innovation and social responsibility award went to Johnny Foxes and The Den, which also won the late night bar trophy, for consistently demonstrating commitment to the best interests and welfare of its staff, customers and the wider community, including working in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands to offer modern apprenticeships.

It was also recognised for its support for local charities such as Mikeysline, Highland Hospice, Maggie’s Highland, Highland Disability and the Trinity Church clothing and recycling programme.

“As previous national Best Bar None award winner in this category, it continues to be a top class venue with a conscience and is again a worthy recipient of this award,” Mr Strachan said.

Also going on to represent Inverness in the national finals in March will be best bar winner, Auctioneers, and independent bar winner Scotch & Rye.

The evening also raised £600 for the work of Inverness Street Pastors through a game of Hit or Miss, which was topped up by £75 when the winner donated half his £150 prize to the charity.

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