Two Falkirk pubs have won stunning success in the annual Best Bar None Awards for the Scottish licensed trade, gaining both a platinum award and a national “best bar” accolade.
The latest in a long line of honours for both Behind the Wall (platinum) and Sportsters (best bar) were won against a strong field of some of the best outlets in Scotland, and have been singled out for praise in the Scottish Parliament.
The national awards scheme supports the delivery of safe and inclusive social spaces, while rewarding social responsibility and duty of care.
A Best Bar None honour is seen as a formal acknowledgement that a winning outlet is run to exacting professional standards.
Behind the Wall owner Brian Flynn and Sportsters general manager Iain Meiklejohn both say the accolades are a tribute to the hard work and commitment of staff - and a sign that Falkirk has great venues to offer visitors as well as discerning local residents.
Mr Flynn said: “I hadn’t been expecting that award, but the team are delighted we’ve won it.
“It is a very thorough judging process, and our managers have to play a full part in all of that while running their busy operations - so it is great that we have been gained this honour.”
“As well as having some of the best individuals in the game, serving the people of Falkirk week after week, those individuals make the best team.
“It’s why we do what we do, at the level we do it”.
He added: “Angus MacDonald MSP (Falkirk East) praised the achievements in the Scottish Parliament and Michael Matheson (Falkirk West) tweeted the local success too - and it’s good to know that our politicians recognise this kind of result for local pubs”.
Founded in 1985, Behind the Wall has developed into a multi-tiered leisure proposition with a solid reputation for quality entertainment.
Sportsters general manager Iain Meiklejohn said: “We won this award two years ago, and have won gold every year for ten years, but of course that means we have to keep raising the bar.
“You can never assume you are going to do well just because you gained an award last time - so of course it’s fantastic we’re ‘best bar’ this year.”
Sportsters Falkirk is part of Castle Leisure Group, one of the country’s best-known licensed on-trade multiple operators.
With both outlets the judges considered not only diligence and commitment to their licensing obligations (which are now more complex and demanding than ever before), “but more importantly, their customers”.
Also delighted with the Awards, staged in Dunblane, were the manager and staff of the Corbie Inn in Bo’ness, which was a finalist in the social responsibility category.
Manager Drew Imrie said: “Lots of things bring people to the Corbie Inn, but it’s underpinned by a commitment to address all the many challenges pubs face these days in terms of safety and responsiblity.
“It helps that people know you and your staff are making that commitment, and that they can relax and enjoy themselves in a great environment”.