The directors of the recently crowned Pub of the Year 2015 admitted they were overjoyed but a little shocked when their pride and joy won the title.
Julie Price and Jill Clelland have been running The Bridge Inn, in High Street, Bonnybridge for just over a year after working together in the popular public house under publican Brendan Devaney for eight years.
Julie said: “This is the first award we have ever won. Jill couldn’t believe it when The Falkirk Herald told her. It’s a great wee pub though, with a wide selection of loyal customers and we had a bit of a buffet for them after we found out we had won.
“We still don’t know who nominated us. Lots of people came to tell us they had voted for us, but no one has come forward yet saying they actually nominated us.”
The award, which will have pride of place behind the bar, was a welcome surprise in a successful but tough year for the two women, especially for Jill who was diagnosed with breast cancer after she and Julie took over the premises.
Jill, who said she is now doing fine, said: “The Bridge Inn has a nice, family friendly atmosphere and we’re well known for our homemade food, especially our steak pie. We also recently got SKY and BT Sports in for customers which has proved popular and hold a monthly karaoke night.”
The two directors thanked their staff and customers for their support and also 525 Accountants and Alchemy Inns Ltd for the help they have provided over the last year.
Second place went to The Wheatsheaf, Baxters Wynd, Falkirk and third was taken by The Railway Inn, Glasgow Road, Dennyloanhead. Both pubs earned special certificates for their achievements.
Earlier this year people were invited to send in their nominations for pubs from around the Falkirk area, taking into account all the special qualities which add up to make the perfect local.
A Pub of the year spokesman said: “ We find many qualities in a great pub. Individuality and character, welcoming ambience, good beer, wine and food. And not forgetting the decor, seating, lighting, nice nibbles, clean loos and so on.
“But ultimately, it’s the people – staff and regulars – who make a pub truly great.”
The nominations were then collated and the 10 most popular were published to give people a chance to vote for their favourite watering hole/eating establishment.
Votes closed last month, with The Bridge Inn coming out on top.