SLTN Whisky Bar of the Year, in association with Glenfiddich
While Scotch whisky continues to enjoy unprecedented success around the world, the Scottish on-trade remains a vital route to market for the water of life. The SLTN Whisky Bar of the Year Award, in association with Glenfiddich, will recognise a bar with whisky at its very heart. The 2019 finalists are:
With a constantly-evolving range, whisky is central to the operation at the Ballygrant Inn. It runs whisky tastings and food matching evenings with local distilleries and uses social media to promote any new additions to its range. There is a constant programme of in-house training which is augmented through distillery tours and tastings hosted by the brands; there’s also a library of whisky publications for staff reference.
To complement the high numbers of tourists who pass through the bar every year, Fiddler’s gets on the road to promote itself and whisky at shows throughout Scotland and beyond. At home, it has developed a menu to promote the versatility of whisky, which includes suggested food pairings and a range of whisky flights. As well as regular in-house training, all staff are put through a qualification at the
Scotch Whisky Experience.
The Pot Still
A Glasgow institution popular with local whisky fans and tourists, The Pot Still refuses to rest on its reputation. Staff who are genuinely enthusiastic about whisky and always ready to promote new expressions make this a very comfortable hostelry for experts and whisky novices alike. With monthly in-house training, every member of staff is well equipped to discuss a customer’s tastes and develop a personalised flight or
lead a tailored tasting.
SLTN Cocktail Bar of the Year,
in association with
Grey Goose Vodka
Cocktails are big business for many of Scotland’s bars – and those venues continue to push boundaries with ingredients, techniques and serves. The SLTN Cocktail Bar of the Year Award, in association with Grey Goose Vodka, will go to an outlet where quality, innovative drinks underpin the operation. The 2019 finalists are:
Evolution underpins the ethos of The Adamson, which, in the past 12 months, has further developed its cocktail offer to cater for its varied clientele. This year various new sales drivers, including the bar’s multi-serve drink offer – the Adamson Cocktail Tree – have been introduced. Championing training, as well as researching new mixology techniques and tastes, The Adamson is consistently raising the bar.
The American Bar
Inspired by the 1920s, The American Bar represents an opulent hideaway within the vast Gleneagles estate. The cocktails are designed to mirror the bar’s luxurious design, with attention to detail evident throughout. While each drink on the carefully-curated menu has its own story to tell, it’s the staff who really bring the drinks to life – ensuring that each and every visit to the bar is a memorable one.
Hidden in plain sight, Draffens takes its name from the former department store it’s housed within. Paying homage to the Dundee institution, the secret bar uses a catalogue-style drinks menu to showcase some of the historic ingredients that passed through Dundee’s port. With no social media and no sign, this speakeasy specialises in prohibition-style cocktails, alongside an array of the classics.
SLTN Craft Spirits Enthusiast,
in association with
The SLTN Craft Spirits Enthusiast Award, in association with Eden Mill, will recognise an individual who demonstrates in-depth knowledge of this burgeoning category and shows real flair and creativity in producing drinks using small-batch spirits. The 2019 finalists are:
Since setting up capital cocktail bar Kin in 2017 with fellow bartending veteran Jody Buchan, former Bramble GM Sam Baxendale has continued cultivating a deep understanding of all things craft and small-batch, as well as trends in the spirits industry. Working in the confines of the small basement bar hasn’t hindered Sam’s ability to help put together a unique range of spirits and serve them
in an expert yet accessible way.
Long-time bartender John Morrison first started in the trade a decade ago, developing an initial curiosity in a few spirits categories into an extensive, in-depth knowledge of most of them. Since joining the team at Glasgow cocktail institution Blue Dog, John has made good use of the outlet’s extensive gantry to indulge his passion for spirits and create inventive drinks for customers and cocktail competitions alike.
The Tippling House
Distilling spirits knowledge from everywhere he can to inform both his own approach to drinks and to pass it onto his team at The Tippling House, bar manager Joe Nelson credits the great mentoring he received as a fledgling bartender for inspiring his impressive style of training his team. Believing that quality spirits provide the base for extraordinary drinks, Joe employs the venue’s unusual and rare spirits to create intrigue behind the bar.
SLTN Rum Bar of the Year,
in association with Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands
The SLTN Rum Bar of the Year Award, in association with Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, will go to a venue that really pushes the boat out when it comes to this growing category – from the range stocked to the knowledge and passion of the staff who work there. The 2019 finalists are:
More than 200 rums populate the back-bar of this busy venue, which rotates between regulars and rum aficionados during the week and tiki-drinking groups at the weekend. The range incorporates a mix of well-known brands and more unusual products, and customers can peruse the ever-changing selection on the well-maintained list that includes tasting notes, prices and ABVs. Downstairs, there’s an intimate space for tastings and events.
The King of Islington
Rum is the beating heart of this cosy city centre bar, where every evening has the potential to turn into a rum master class. Bottles from across the world line the back-bar, which is organised geographically, with every style of rum represented, from Agricoles to cachacas. Customers are able to choose from a flight tailor-made to their specific tastes, a spirit and mixer or delve into the bar’s cocktail list, with each section inspired by a different region.
This Leith Walk pub could be something of a hidden gem for rum fans. Comprising around 60 bottles, the range spans big-name brands to smaller producers and offers a variety of different flavour profiles. The bar runs regular tastings and events for customers, who are also kept informed of any new bottles at the bar via its social media channels. A regular rum deal and ‘staff pick’ are used to showcase one of
the pub’s favourites.
SLTN Family Outlet
of the Year,
in association with
Vimto Out Of Home
Catering for families is a significant opportunity for on-trade businesses. The SLTN Family Outlet of the Year Award, in association with Vimto Out of Home, will recognise a venue that delivers a fantastic experience the whole family can enjoy. The 2019 finalists are:
Bowfield Hotel & Country Club Howwood
All age groups are catered for at Bowfield, with guests able to kick back in the newly revamped spa, state-of-the-art gym or pool, while the wee ones can enjoy the softball play area and crèche. The team of chefs takes pride in the family-centred restaurant, where good food in relaxed surroundings is the focus. Customers can even cut the stress of kids’ birthdays by taking advantage of party packages, where a team handles everything.
This former church has undergone various incarnations but arguably none better-suited than its current one. Firmly established at the heart of the community, the venue caters for the whole family. Kids’ parties and larger bookings are accommodated on the mezzanine level; while the beer garden is considered one of the best in the west. Heated huts, benches, slides and swings are just some of the attractions of this urban establishment.
Uisge Bar & Restaurant
Architecturally designed to complement its Highland setting, this purpose-built bar and restaurant works with and for the local community, which spans all age groups. Passionate about the wealth of local produce on its doorstep, the team lovingly prepares homemade food for all. A play park and a ten-rack bike shelter are clever additions, as well as the free local ice-cream and healthy drinks for children eating from the kids’ menu.
SLTN Craft Beer Award,
in association with
The SLTN Craft Beer Award, in association with Firkin Express, will go to an outlet that demonstrates excellence in all aspects of this dynamic sector – from the range of craft beer stocked to the knowledge and passion of the team. The 2019 finalists are:
Innis & Gunn
Edinburgh’s craft beer scene is booming, so when Innis & Gunn decided to revamp its Lothian Road bar, the pressure was on. The resulting venue, rebranded as the Brewery Taproom, sports 26 draught lines, including two cask and two linked to the company’s own tank lager. As well as around ten Innis & Gunn beers, the bar’s range features beers from across Scotland, the UK and abroad. There’s also an extensive packaged range.
St Andrews Brewing Co
The larger of St Andrews Brewing Co’s two units in the town, the South Street bar offers its customers 18 taps – 14 keg and four cask – as well as a wide range of packaged beers in the fridge.
Although there are beers from further afield, ‘the best of Scottish’ is very much the focus at the South Street venue and twice a year the bar dedicates all of its taps to breweries from Fife.
Shilling Brewing Co
The team at Shilling Brewing Co takes pride in having the best craft beer range in Glasgow city centre, and it’s tough to argue with them. In addition to 25 draught lines serving beers from across Scotland, there are also six lines dedicated to the bar’s in-house brewery (which includes collaborations with other Scottish brewers). Combined, the ever-changing range offers everything from lagers and pale ales to sour beers and saisons.
SLTN Beer Quality Award,
in association with Tennent’s
When it comes to draught beer in the on-trade, quality is king. The SLTN Beer Quality Award, in association with Tennent’s, will go to an outlet keeping, dispensing and presenting beer to the highest standard. The 2019 finalists are:
The Bridge Inn
A busy bar in a picturesque location, The Bridge Inn provides a warm welcome for locals and visitors alike. Cellar management is a priority at this pub, which is stocked, cleaned and maintained to a schedule. The operation is run with care and attention by manager Nicola Cassidy and her Cask Marque-trained staff, who welcome beer lovers with a smile. As one customer commented on social media: “An absolute credit to the local scene.”
An Aberdeen haunt for over two decades, College was subject to a major refurb in 2018 that breathed new life into this institution. The PB Devco-owned venue certainly has the look, but there’s also plenty substance. In a first for Aberdeen, College stocks Tennent’s tank lager – which has been shifting in huge volumes. The venue also offers a variety of category leaders and craft favourites, all kept in top condition by a cellar management professional.
A traditional pub in the twenty-first century, Winstons has carved out a place at the heart of its community despite major competition. The team at Winstons has worked hard to build a reputation for beer quality, with attention to detail from delivery to dispense. Manager Iain Hewitt and deputy Lisa Smith have an appetite for beer knowledge, quizzing brewery staff and putting themselves and their team through regular training.
SLTN New Business of the Year,
in association with
The London Essence Co
The SLTN New Business of the Year Award, in association with The London Essence Co, will go to a new venue which stands out from the crowd, taking everything from the concept and project management to financial planning and marketing into account. The 2019 finalists are:
Cold Town House
Born out of a desire to restore brewing traditions in an historic marketplace, this business is shaking up Edinburgh in more ways than one. Attention to detail can be found in each of its three floors – savour homemade beer and live music on the ground floor or venture upstairs to the Pizza and Prosecco bar where Neapolitans are created by expert pizzolas in a custom-built oven. There’s also a rooftop terrace with views of the castle.
Stack & Still
Frequently queued out, this 250-seater restaurant has brought an innovative concept to Glasgow’s casual dining scene. Thanks to its simple yet effective food offer, it has become a destination for kids, adults, teenagers and workers who seek simple, tasty food in an understated and upbeat environment. This is also the first time the city has seen a self-dispense bar with a RFID card linked to the bill. Success continues with two more ventures.
Resurrecting the local to serve the community isn’t straightforward. Identifying the gap in the market was the first step in creating what’s now a revived and welcoming place to go for a drink and bite to eat. An overhaul has retained the old feel without compromising on contemporary updates. Classic, wholesome food can be enjoyed thanks to a new kitchen. A big part of the bar’s success is down to the people: the staff and the customers.
SLTN Late Night Venue of the Year,
in association with
Tia Maria &
Atmosphere is key to a late night venue. The SLTN Late Night Venue of the Year Award, in association with the Tia Maria & Coffee Project, will go to an outlet which successfully combines a late night ambience with top quality drinks and customer service. The 2019 finalists are:
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Aberdeen’s Union Street, the subterranean 21 Crimes has already made a mark on the granite city’s bar scene since opening last November. Inspired by a list of unlawful activities which saw condemned Britons shipped to Australia during the 18th and 19th centuries, the speakeasy-style bar combines a quality and curious cocktail selection with a slick interior.
More than just a watering hole to its clientele, this venue has become something of an institution for fans of live music. What is a busy food-led outlet during the day is quickly transformed into an atmospheric and energetic late night haunt as the sun goes down. And for a small venue ready to cater to big numbers past the midnight hour, what’s equally as crucial to the bar’s offer is the team’s dedication to social responsibility.
The Howlin’ Wolf
It’s hard to say whether it is the distinctive blues music which welcomes patrons or the low lighting and carefully-curated design, or both, but there is a special ‘of the night’ vibe about this Bath Street bar.
An impressive range of drinks, which is coupled with a food offer, served to a high standard – no matter what time of night – has made this venue a standout establishment within Glasgow city centre.
SLTN Gin bar of the Year,
in association with Schweppes
Gin has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years – and the category is big business for pubs and bars. The SLTN Gin Bar of the Year Award, in association with Schweppes, will recognise a bar with gin at its core. The 2019 finalists are:
An artistically-designed and illustrated drinks menu sets the scene for a special drinking experience in this bar. The Finnieston stocks a concise, specially-selected range covering all bases, while staff can offer informed advice to customers thanks to a comprehensive monthly training schedule and regular updates. Presentation is key, and there’s a broad range of garnishes and glassware to ensure drinks look and taste the part.
Large picture windows mean the vast range of gins and garnishes is visible to customers before they’ve even stepped inside. With limited space, Gallery 48 has to choose what to stock carefully but has managed to fit in interesting examples of every style. A combination of enthusiasm and knowledge among the management and staff contributes to an enjoyable experience for the gin connoisseur and novice alike.
The Masonic Arms
One step into the lounge bar at the family-run Masonic Arms is all that is required to see that gin plays a central role in this business. The hundreds of bottles on display cover every style and many countries. And the husband and wife team behind the bar talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically about gin and the wide range of mixers and serves available. There’s also regular training for all staff to ensure everyone’s up to speed.
of the Year,
in association with Kopparberg
The SLTN Licensee of the Year Award, in association with Kopparberg, will recognise an individual who runs a first-class operation, who lives and breathes hospitality and who is absolutely committed to raising standards. The 2019 finalists are:
The Golf Hotel
A three hundred year old coaching inn takes a special type of dedication to maintain and operate – and Graham Guthrie isn’t short on enthusiasm. Three decades at the helm of the business have given Graham a firm grasp on what his customer base wants, whether it’s regulars in the public bar or tourists stopping in for a meal as they visit the area. And he continues to invest in the business, with a new outdoor area having opened in the past year.
Having worked for pub company Stonegate for nearly ten years – the past six as general manager – Hollie McKenzie has earned the respect of the company by building Missoula’s business as well as helping to mentor and develop her team. The offer at Missoula has Hollie’s fingerprints all over it, from the food and drinks menus to regular events. She is currently preparing to move into an area management role with the company.
After cutting his teeth in roles for a pub company, Alexander joined the opening team at Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox in Glasgow’s east end, rising to become general manager a few years later. He now oversees two units – Saint Luke’s and new sister venue The Amsterdam – where his responsibilities include everything from staff recruitment and training to dealing with suppliers, managing stock and monitoring the financials.
of the Year,
in association with Molson Coors
Knowledge, passion, skill, creativity, enthusiasm, dedication – the SLTN Bartender of the Year Award, in association with Molson Coors, will recognise the bartender with all these qualities, and more.
Keeping a busy city centre bar moving is no mean feat – yet it’s all in a day’s work for Thomas. Having developed two drinks menus, as well as various guest menus, for Metropolitan in the past 12 months, he relishes the chance to flex his creative muscles and regularly attends trade training nights to further improve his knowledge and keep a close eye on the trends, ensuring Metropolitan remains at the fore.
The Horseshoe Inn
Having started out in the hospitality sector at the age of 16, and with his first bar shift under his belt by 18, Mark has never looked back. His hands-on approach means his influence is visible across the business – from the well-run cellar to the impressive drinks range. Mark’s approach to training impressed judges, with simple, but effective signs positioned behind the bar to help new-starts learn the tasting notes and pairings of popular beers and spirits.
Shilling Brewing Co
From pale ales and porters to sours and stouts, Josefine lives and breathes craft beer. Despite having started her trade career working in a restaurant in Germany, Josefine sees Scotland – more specifically, Scotland’s bars – as her spiritual home. As staff rep at Shilling Brewing Co, she’s tasked with imparting her trade wisdom and passion for beer to the rest of the team – something which Josefine effortlessly excels at.
of the Year,
in association with Absolut Vodka and Barnomadics
The SLTN Mixologist of the Year Award, in association with Absolut and Barnomadics, will recognise a bartender with exceptional knowledge of the premium spirits category who demonstrates creativity and flair when making cocktails. The 2019 finalists are:
Hailing from the motherland of mixology, New Orleans, this switched-on ‘chef with alcohol’ concocts the classics impeccably and knows how to wow tipplers who frequent the speakeasy and aperitivo hangouts she heads up. Sarah’s ease behind the bar and love for experimentation has led to her representing Scotland at cocktail competitions across the UK and beyond, where she’s an ardent advocate of Dundee’s fantastic drinks scene.
The American Bar
Lulu was the first ever female to hold the role of head bartender at Gleneagles and – thanks to her intuitive knowledge, rapport with clientele and flair for mixing drinks – just 12 months later, found herself tasked with opening the five-star Perthshire resort’s glamorous cocktail sanctum, The American Bar. She is passionate about using Scottish ingredients and discovering new flavours, especially from the hotel’s kitchen garden.
A background in chemical engineering, encyclopaedic knowledge of libations and access to high-tech equipment in Porter’s Gin’s microdistillery (located in the basement of Orchid) mean that the only limit to Nick’s innovation is his imagination – and he has that by the bucket-load. Providing superb service with a flourish and creating unforgettable drinking experiences for his patrons drive everything he does.
of the Year,
in association with Bibendum
The SLTN Restaurant of the Year Award, in association with Bibendum, will go to a venue that demonstrates the highest quality of food and service, together with an excellent range of perfectly-served drinks. The 2019 finalists are:
Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or
This city stalwart may have notched up 18 years, but the team at Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or isn’t resting on its laurels. Absolutely committed to working with the best quality produce, Brian and his team continue to develop the offer, creating stunning dishes while maintaining consistently high standards.
A fixture in the vibrant Finnieston scene since 2013, The Gannet continually evolves the contemporary Scottish cuisine it offers, while staying true to its original ‘farm to fork’ ethos. Quality remains the watchword, but the team is pushing boundaries with new and exciting dishes and presentation methods.
Isle of Coll
Offering spectacular views across Arinagour bay to the Treshnish Isles and Mull, this stunning new restaurant is the latest addition to the Coll Hotel, which has been owned by the Oliphant family since 1963. And the food more than lives up to the impressive surroundings – from the freshest seafood to Coll-reared lamb.
Combining elements of the owners’ backgrounds in fine dining restaurants with quality, local produce and relaxed, friendly service is proving a recipe for success for this Borders business. Innovative, contemporary dishes underpin the high quality food offer which spans lunch to evening tasting menus.
of the Year,
in association with Distell International
The SLTN Gastropub of the Year Award, in association with Distell International, will go to a venue that delivers high-end pub food and a quality drinks range to match with first-rate customer service in a relaxed pub environment. The 2019 finalists are:
The Bonnie Badger
The Bonnie Badger has taken the word ‘gastropub’ and elevated it to a completely new level. From the stunning surroundings and warmest of welcomes to delicious classic pub dishes with a contemporary twist, it showcases the best local produce in harmony with chef Tom Kitchin’s ‘From Nature To Plate’ philosophy. In sync with this is a drinks list which not only caters to every meal on the menu, but also every palate.
The Crown & Kitchen
On walking into The Crown & Kitchen, you are made to feel like family – and it’s clear to see why many of the locals treat this venue as a home from home. A collaboration between the owner and head chef – who have a bond like no other – the menu boasts an impressive range of dishes, each of which incorporates local flavours and produce. The authenticity and charm of The Crown & Kitchen has made it the success it is today.
With a chalkboard listing suppliers on the wall, it is clear to see that local produce and a passion for honest, delicious food is paramount at The Ox. And this capital pub delivers at every opportunity – from the impressive drinks range on the back-bar to its ‘Dog Of The Week’ wall of fame, not to mention the team of chefs who undeniably know how to serve up the best roast dinner in town – it is everything a gastropub should be.
SLTN Best Outdoor Area,
in association with Magners Irish Cider
An outdoor area can be a real asset to licensed premises. The SLTN Best Outdoor Area Award, in association with Magners, will go to a venue with an al fresco space which has made a real impact on the business. The 2019 finalists are:
Cold Town House
There is no question that this venue, which opened in early 2019, stands out from the crowd. Sitting in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, Cold Town House is beautifully designed and executed with an après ski cabin feel. Use of the space and the inclusion of a lift really adds value here, ensuring everyone can enjoy this rooftop space. Busy on even the rainiest of days, this outdoor area has been a huge success so far.
The team at Malones has achieved a huge amount with the bar’s outdoor space.
Although it’s slap bang in the middle of Glasgow city centre, this urban garden makes you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle.
The décor, the use of the space, the mobile bar, live music sessions, the swing… all add a huge amount of character and make this outdoor area a must-visit on sunny days.
The Three Sisters
With its down-to-earth market-style feel, the impressive outside space at this capital venue caters for all corners of the market.
Giant outdoor screens are put to good use, for everything from kids’ movie mornings to live sport, while the al fresco area is also used for a range of events, including an epic Halloween bash. Almost another venue in its own right, the outdoor area is an important part of The Three Sisters business.
SLTN Sustainability Award,
in association with
Sky Ocean Rescue
The SLTN Sustainability Award, in association with Sky Ocean Rescue, will recognise a venue with sustainability at its heart, where the team is committed to reducing the business’s impact on the environment. The 2019 finalists are:
Alongside using renewable energy, low energy lighting and sourcing all produce as locally as possible, an innovative approach to the design of cocktails has massively reduced waste at this venue, including reducing use of lemons from 100 to five per week. If a drink requires orange juice, for example, the whole orange is used, with oil extracted from the skin and the pulps dehydrated or used in chutney or jam.
Sandaig, Isle of Tiree
Recycling, upcycling and self-sufficiency are at the core of everything that happens at the Ceabhar Restaurant, from using waste glass to create decorations to growing produce for use in its recipes. Commitment to reducing the business’s carbon footprint prompted the operators to brew their own beer, which they vow to never put into single-use containers. Portion management and composting have helped reduce food waste to zero.
Glenuig, Sound of Arisaig
Glenuig Inn’s holistic approach to sustainability influences every decision, from using 100% renewable energy to reducing waste to landfill by 97.5%. Food and drink is sourced responsibly and external packaging is eliminated where possible via a packaging take back scheme. Zero food waste leaves site as it is dried and sterilised then added to biomass fuel. Open all year, they actively engage visitors to appreciate the unspoilt area, encouraging them to keep it that way.
SLTN Best Venue to Watch the Match,
in association with Sky
The SLTN Best Venue to Watch the Match Award, in association with Sky, will go to an outlet where live sport is integral to the offer. Criteria covered everything from the viewing experience to a tailored food and drink offer. The 2019 finalists are:
College offers a truly unique viewing experience with a custom-built viewing system inspired by American sports venues. The cube of screens provides a definite ‘wow’ factor and, alongside the large projectors, further TV screens and individual screens in booths, ensures sports fans won’t miss a minute of the action. The first bar in Aberdeen to serve Tennent’s tank lager, College also boasts a fantastic range of craft beer and spirits.
Committee Room No 9
Six huge HD projector screens hit you as you walk through the door and, together with a further seven screens, make for a fantastic viewing experience at this city centre bar. Whether it is football, NFL, rugby, golf, tennis, horse racing or boxing, the team ensures a bespoke experience for all occasions, with a tailor-made menu created for each event and custom-made banners adding to the fantastic atmosphere.
The Three Sisters
Huge in size and popularity, The Three Sisters regularly hosts over 1000 people for sporting events. Boasting 21 screens, three projector screens and a 225” LED screen in the spacious courtyard, alongside a fantastic sound system, The Three Sisters prides itself in creating an atmosphere “second only to the stadium itself”. A proactive social media approach, alongside live podcasts and blogs, ensure The Three Sisters is always packed with sports fans.
SLTN Live Music Pub
of the Year,
in association with Jägermeister
Live music is the heartbeat of many of Scotland’s pubs and bars and can bring real benefits to business. The SLTN Live Music Pub of the Year Award, in association with Jägermeister, will go to an outlet that truly embraces live music. The 2019 finalists are:
With free live music seven nights a week, Bloc+ is a well-established part of Scotland’s music scene. An adaptable stage and seating setup with top quality sound equipment allows the bar to adapt its layout throughout the day and to accommodate acts of different sizes. There is a jam session every Sunday and the bar issues compilations of up and coming acts who play there.
The Howlin’ Wolf
A carefully-planned music programme throughout the week means there is something to suit all blues fans at The Howlin’ Wolf. Acts that play the pub range from local solo performers to full bands and internationally-renowned, award-winning stars. Food and table service are available throughout opening hours, while the bar offers a wide range of drinks, including craft beers and a global spirits selection.
A fiddle and an accordion at the corner of the bar lets customers know they are in a music bar from the moment they arrive, while the piano near the door is often used for impromptu performances by customers.
A more formal programme of live music throughout the week attracts a mix of locals and visitors to Inverness and the Sunday session plays a major part in developing young local talent.
SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year,
in association with
The SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year Award, in association with Asahi UK, will go to an outlet which relishes its independence. Marketing, product range, staff training and customer service were among the criteria. The 2019 finalists are:
Food, drinks and music all play a part in this busy city centre bar. Fully exploiting its independent status, Bloc+ is constantly working with suppliers to keep its drinks offer up to date and affordable for its daytime and evening regulars. Understanding its customers’ needs has allowed the kitchen to develop a popular lunchtime menu with daily offers. At night, pizzas are available until closing time.
The Castle Tavern
This family-run pub has a core of local regulars as well as a steady stream of tourists. A real ale pub, The Castle Tavern has its own branded beers; and it is developing a series of festivals, including a Christmas market. All of this is marketed to customers through regular social media updates and a presence in the local press; the pub also benefits from positive word of mouth.
With an evolving clientele throughout the day and across the week, Siberia offers a wide range of food options and a comprehensive drinks range, including cocktails. With a lot of nearby competition, the bar works hard to attract and hold on to its regulars – this includes loyalty cards, partnerships with student associations and a new EPOS system that allows customers to order and pay via an app.
SLTN Independent Multiple Operator
of the Year,
in association with Smirnoff
The SLTN Independent Multiple Operator of the Year Award, in association with Smirnoff, will recognise a group that has pushed boundaries in the last 12 months to reach the highest standards in drinks retailing, staff training and development, customer service, marketing and community engagement. The 2019 finalists are:
People development is at the heart of Manorview, and the group continues to ramp up its focus on the 500-strong team – from a dedicated app which keeps the team connected to its HeartCount Fund profit share scheme. The group has steadily expanded its central belt hotels estate since its inception in 2007; and investment continues, with additions to Bowfield Hotel & Country Club and Cornhill Castle in Biggar among recent projects.
The McGinty’s Group
Since it was established a decade ago with one pub on Aberdeen’s Union Street, The McGinty’s Group has steadily expanded to comprise nine outlets – the most recent of which, The Esslemont and Mac’s Pizzeria, opened in August; it also acquired historic Aberdeen pub The Grill. Staff development remains a major focus for the group and it has continued to build on the robust training programmes in place for its 250-strong team.
It may have been trading in Aberdeen for over 30 years now, but PB Devco is certainly not resting on its laurels. The family business has had a busy 12 months, with a major revamp of its sports bar College followed by the launch of two new outlets: Argentinian-style steakhouse Vovem and speakeasy-style bar 21 Crimes. Training is a top priority and there’s a comprehensive development programme in place for the 200-strong team.
of the Year,
in association with
SLTN and Chivas Regal have joined forces to search for the licensed trade’s most inspiring entrepreneur, acknowledging the special role these individuals play in ensuring Scotland retains one of the most innovative and successful licensed trades in the world. Who will be named SLTN Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019?
SLTN Industry Achievement Award,
in association with Edrington-Beam Suntory UK
The most important influences on Scotland’s licensed trade are the people in it – the owners and operators, managers and educators, campaigners and innovators. The SLTN Industry Achievement Award 2019, in association with Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, will recognise an individual who has made a unique contribution.