SLTN Awards

Finalists Revealed

Discover the shortlists for the 2023 SLTN Awards.

Barperson of the Year

In association with Ian Macleod Distillers

Open to all bar staff across Scotland, the SLTN Barperson of the Year award, in association with Ian Macleod Distillers, seeks to recognise the knowledge and passion of the country’s best all-round barperson. This award will go to a barperson with genuine enthusiasm for the job, and the skills and desire to truly enhance the experience of their customers.


The 2023 Finalists:

Marcus Gordon
Ivy Lodge, Aberdeen

Marcus joined Orchid Cocktails in April 2022, progressing to Senior Barperson, before making the move to Ivy Lodge in Aberdeen. He is self-taught, learning from books, searching online and visiting other bars to pick up tips. Marcus shares his knowledge with his customers and hopes to learn even more about whisky and premium spirits to add to what he has already learnt at Orchid. Marcus has big career plans and a real determination to achieve what he sets out to do.

Pietro Puccio
Ballie Ballerson, Edinburgh

Pietro studied hospitality in Sicily, where a mixology course prompted a move to Barcelona to take up a career in cocktails, leading to a year working and learning around Italy’s bars. Ballie Ballerson has sponsored him to come to the UK, and he recently represented the firm in a World Flair competition in Finland. Now that he’s in Scotland, Pietro is keen to expand his whisky knowledge to be able to better serve his customers. He has a fantastic career in hospitality in front of him.

Ricky Wallace
The Lochside, Islay

After working with TGI Fridays in Glasgow for 25 years, Ricky felt he needed a change and landed on the island of Islay and at The Lochside. With training in all aspects of hospitality, he has seamlessly fitted in, getting to know all his customers and their preferences, and greeting new arrivals like old friends. He has also learnt a lot about whisky. Ricky is passionate about passing on his skills to his staff through frequent training sessions – and now has a protégé to pass his flair bartending skills onto.

Beer Quality Award

In association with Tennent’s

For the Beer Quality Award, Tennent’s and SLTN have sought out those outlets truly dedicated to keeping, dispensing and presenting beer to the highest possible standard.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Barrelman

New kids on the block they may be, but the Fox family were determined to make their first venue the best in town, and have been meticulous in establishing high standards at The Barrelman from the outset, even when that has been an expensive choice for their fledgling business. The result is a pristine system operated by staff trained with real attention to the details that matter, delivering beer quality that would put many a veteran venue to shame.

The Stag

Forfar’s oldest pub has been there so long that its stonework bears marks from the town’s long-gone loch, and its upstairs rooms are reportedly haunted – but there is nothing spooky about the beer in The Stag’s pipes, which flows as fast, fresh and cold as a mountain stream, drawing a fiercely loyal clientele. Behind the historic façade, the bar and its team run a tight, modern system that guarantees every pour will be as good as the last.


Pride in pouring the perfect pint is built into the bricks at Winstons, whether customers are ordering the most popular draught lager, or delving into the pub’s rotating cask ale selection. With a beer management system born out of ‘evolution not revolution’, and staff trained to know that drill inside out, despite being well off the Capital’s beaten track in Corstorphine, Winstons has proven the adage that ‘if you build it, they will come’.

Best Outdoor Area

In association with Magners

Beer gardens and outdoor areas have long been an important asset to hospitality businesses. The SLTN Best Outdoor Area award, in association with Magners, will go to an outlet that excels in providing an al fresco experience which is a real asset to the business.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Abbey Inn

Offering fun and a place for everyone, The Abbey Inn has worked wonders transforming what would otherwise have been a run-of-the-mill pub car-park into a colourful and comfortable oasis within its Paisley neighbourhood. Bright, but not brash, there’s a community-minded thoughtfulness to this urban beer garden’s lay-out and events, whether hosting football fans, family occasions, or just its loyal crowd of locals having a right old laugh.


In an idyllic semi-rural location, this gem of a country pub garden has been wrought from a long-neglected site by sheer hard work and fastidious attention to detail. Fittingly for a former railway station, Carriages is now once again the hub of its home village, with an outdoor space that is welcoming to all ages, where customers can enjoy a carefully considered food and drink menu from breakfast til bedtime, served up with some real community spirit.

The Ivy Lodge

Instagram-ready and as bright and comfortable as the upper deck of a luxury liner, The Ivy Lodge is a triumph of conjuring something from nothing – established on a derelict site near Aberdeen’s docks as a Covid-era pop-up, the venue has grown with each successful year since, and now offers the city’s premium outdoors-indoors environment, helping transform the city’s Shiprow into a go-to destination for the young and the funky.

Best Venue to Watch the Match

In association with SKY Business

On the day of the big match, what venue do sports fans in your area think of first? This award, presented in association with SKY Business, is for those on-trade outlets where live sports coverage is a central part of their customer appeal, and business is maximised by providing the best possible experience, with audio visual equipment and a food and drink offering tailored to win a crowd’s loyal support.

Sky Business Logo

The 2023 Finalists:

The Ark

Don’t be fooled by its laid-back vibe – The Ark is serious about its sport. With an incredible 24 screens on-site, zoning allows it to show three different sports channels at a time, offering the full range of local and national football and rugby, alongside Formula 1, boxing, mixed martial arts and even cricket, if customers ask for it. With a menu designed to deliver quality food at volume when busy, customers needn’t miss a second of the match with app-based table service.

The Ball Room Sports Bar

Recently refurbished to a high standard, The Ball Room Sports Bar offers top quality coverage of everything from football, rugby, and tennis to the US Superbowl final running until 5am! Catering to all sorts of social gatherings and a range of customers, from kids coming in with their football teams to pensioners in for a game of pool or snooker, the kitchen offers up a menu of burgers and sharing plates to suit, while the modern bar keeps the wide selection of cold drinks flowing, win or lose.

The Record Factory

This West End powerhouse is nationally renowned as a top venue for live sport, with the added attraction of its cool rock’n’roll dive bar vibe. But there is nothing scruffy about The Record Factory’s top-of-the-range screen provision, available inside and out, and in bookable private booths. With an eclectic range of drinks to suit both home and away fans, and close ties to the student community via sponsorship of sports teams and societies, these guys are in it for the long game.

Cocktail Bar of the Year

In association with Bacardi-Martini Ltd

Cocktails provide an excellent opportunity to build on the benefits of premium drinks brands, increasing both profitability and consumer appeal. For the Cocktail Bar of the Year category, SLTN and Bacardi-Martini Ltd sought out Scottish bars which make great use of cocktails, and their presentation, to draw a crowd and drive business.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Absent Ear

This intimate cocktail den, hidden below the Merchant City, is named in homage to Vincent van Gogh. Its innovative, art-inspired menu is presented to drinkers on iPads to peruse and features colourful illustrations created by local artists and the multi-talented mixologists themselves! The delicious drinks are conceived collaboratively by the team of eight who serve them with a side of fun, in the shape of playful and experiential garnishes and table-side interaction.

The Cocktail Geeks

The self-proclaimed geeks at this Edinburgh bar don’t do things by halves. Every four months, punters queue out the door to sample a new immersive theme based on pop-culture phenomena such as Stranger Things, Star Wars and The Last of Us. The décor, glassware and staff outfits even change in tandem with the drinks menu. The team spend time workshopping each subject, so it can be presented authentically and enthusiastically – and it shows in the scrumptious drinks.

Hey Palu

Staff development has been a major focus this year at this modern Italian bar in Edinburgh that serves classy cocktails apertivo style. A new plan has been put in place for in-house training, but as one of the country’s foremost experts in amaro, head mixologist and co-owner Alex Palumbo has also begun offering guidance on the liqueur to other bars. The menu flexes seasonally and is full of delightful surprises, like the Coconut White Russian that looks nothing like you’d expect.

Community Pub of the Year

In association with Tennent's Direct

The Community Pub of the Year award, made in association with Tennent’s Direct, is for a pub of any type which attracts most of its customers from its local area, and plays a significant role within that community, with a relevant drinks range served by knowledgeable, friendly staff.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Caledonian Bar
Port Glasgow

This traditional pub is located in the heart of Port Glasgow and has made efforts to place itself at the heart of community activity. When the local bingo hall closed, the Caledonian introduced afternoon bingo sessions twice a week and it provides a fully staffed bar every Friday night for charity events. Last Christmas Day, it opened for seven hours and laid on free soup and a buffet for visitors.

Platform 3

This town centre bar works closely with public bodies to enhance the experience of being in Linlithgow for visitors and residents. Monthly charity quizzes, an annual ducks race and sports sponsorships are all part of the schedule at Platform 3. Local groups, from former firefighters to a Malt Whisky Society, meet in the bar, and it was recently at the centre of a drive to site defibrillators throughout the town.

The Station Bar

Serving a rural community, the owner of this hotel bar strives to operate the venue as a hub for the village. A veterans club, a book club and a group of adults with additional support needs are all regular daytime visitors, while work by many local artists adorns the walls. Such is the community spirit at this venue that when a regular recently died with no family, locals and the bar owner covered the cost of his funeral.

Craft Beer Bar of the Year

In association with Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I

The SLTN Craft Beer Bar of the Year award, in association with Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, will go to a venue with a team that prides itself in delivering a great beer experience for all their customers.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Hanging Bat

An outstanding venue both aesthetically and in terms of its craft beer offering, The Hanging Bat’s draught offer includes 17 keg lines, across a wide range of styles, alongside six from cask, while over 200 core and rotational bottles and cans are kept in stock from over 100 breweries. Staff are encouraged to try fresh beers outside of their comfort zone, helping them make informed recommendations to suit their customers’ tastes.

Grunting Growler

Pioneers and now ‘movers and shakers’ of the Scottish craft scene, Grunting Growler has a rotating selection of six craft beers on draught and a broad selection of over 300 cans and bottles. All are chosen on tight criteria favouring independence, innovation and provenance, across a wide range of styles. Customers are encouraged to engage with staff, creating memorable experiences, while learning about styles, techniques, and ingredients.

The Craftsman Company

On a mission to ‘Excite the Enthusiast’, the Craftsman ethos is to showcase beers that accommodate both connoisseurs and curious newcomers, and provide a city-centre platform for independent brewers, big and small. With 16 ever-changing taps and a wide global range of bottles and cans, this independent business can respond quickly to what its customers want, with scope to highlight special editions, seasonality and specific styles.

Family Outlet of the Year

In association with Vimto Out of Home

Catering for families with quality food, top drinks brands and child-friendly facilities offers a significant opportunity for bar and restaurant operators – and SLTN’s Family Outlet Of The Year award, in association with Vimto Out of Home, is aimed at venues providing a fantastic experience for the whole family to enjoy, from children to grandparents.


The 2023 Finalists:


Generations of families keep coming back to Charwood for celebrations and get togethers, ranging from 21st birthday parties to funerals. Beyond those family occasions, the restaurant and bar complex prides itself in having a menu to suit all ages and tastes. Providing games and colouring sheets to keep the youngest members of the family busy at mealtimes, Charwood hasn’t forgotten the seniors with a range of meals for smaller appetites.

Clayton Caravan Park
St Andrews

The enthusiastic team at this family-run leisure complex within a static caravan and lodge complex puts fun for all the generations at the centre of its activities. With older age group swimming sessions and a soft play area for young children on site, Clayton can lay claim to having something for everyone. A comprehensive kids menu including a junior breakfast and smaller portion options on the main menu make for enjoyable family mealtimes.

Molly’s Bistro

This recently refurbished city centre venue, part of Aberdeen’s ground-breaking Shiprow project, is ever-popular for family parties and celebrations. The home-cooked kids menu, alongside half portions from the adults menu, includes options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. Molly’s loyal customers drive its vibrant social media, and a photographer is on hand every Saturday to help families capture their special moments.

Gastropub of the Year

In association with CVH Spirits

The SLTN Gastropub of the Year Award will go to a venue that delivers high-end pub food and a quality drinks range to match, with first-rate friendly service in a welcoming pub environment.

CVH Logo

The 2023 Finalists:


Don’t let the rustic décor fool you; this Glasgow institution is as forward-looking as you like. The venue offers its customers a seasonal menu of dishes that range from modern takes on the traditional, through the slightly more unusual to the downright bonkers, all of which the staff are able to pair with a huge number of wines by the glass. Even a change of ownership hasn’t changed the venue’s approach and dedication to locality.

The Boar’s Head

When the owners took on a traditional village pub and turned it into a high-end gastropub the locals were delighted. And it’s easy to see why. Working with suppliers across Fife, the team offers an imaginative menu using only the freshest ingredients. Want to know about sourcing? A QR code on the menu will provide all the information you need. Local provenance continues on the drinks list, which features a range of Scottish brewers and distilleries.

The Loveable Rogue

Modern twists on pub classics are the name of the game in this classy-but-comfortable gastropub. Staff are trained to be able to pair each dish with a strong range of wines and cocktails, and the team works with a wide range of suppliers from around Scotland. None of this would matter if the food wasn’t also top-notch. Fortunately the dishes are as tasty as they are well-presented. A loveable addition to Glasgow’s dining scene.

Gin Range of the Year

In association with Schweppes

Gin has been one of the big success stories of recent years. There are more gins – including Scottish gins – on the market, more bars stocking a broader range, and more consumers drinking the spirit than ever before. The SLTN Gin Range Of The Year award, in association with Schweppes, will go to a venue that has embraced this opportunity to drive fresh footfall and revenue.


The 2023 Finalists:

Billington’s of Lenzie

Gin is always at the heart of this operation. whether in the daytime delicatessen, or the evening gin bar. Currently stocking close to 100 varieties from all over the world, including some exclusives to the Scottish market, the owners of Billington’s have such enthusiasm for gin that they have created one of their own, plus their own tonic, and a canned ready mix of the two. Tasting event regulars are given Gin Library Cards to help keep track of what’s been tried.

Masonic Arms

This traditional pub has a dedicated gin bar to the rear, with no less than 232 gins on its shelves, a predominantly Scottish collection that the enthusiastic operators curate to ensure there is something for every taste. Always happy to help customers select a drink that will suit them, the staff are painstaking over mixers and garnishes, and appreciate that glassware is an important part of the drink experience, all creating ‘theatre in a glass’ and encouraging adventurous choices.

The Old Ship Inn

Stocking an astounding 300 gins, this popular city centre pub has seen its range expand so much in the past year that it has outgrown the dedicated gin area to dominate all the shelves. Staff at the Old Ship Inn have a handy garnish key and corresponding coloured stickers on all the bottles to help them ensure they have the perfect serve for every gin on busy nights, and believe the best way to market gin is face-to-face, talking through the different options, tastes and flavours.

Independent Pub/Bar of the Year

In association with Madri Excepcional

Independent pubs and bars account for a significant proportion of Scotland’s on-trade, and the SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year award, in association with Madri Excepcional, celebrates the vital role that free trade holds in Scottish society. We are looking for an outlet which relishes its independence, is responsive to its customers’ needs, and is both popular and commercially successful.


The 2023 Finalists:

Fox and Hounds

Scottish rural hospitality writ large on a fine old canvas, the Fox and Hounds has taken a traditional format and fine-tuned it for the 21st Century. Embracing its local community with a diversity of events, from grand outdoor beer festivals to regular Dungeons & Dragons nights, bands, barbecues and festive fun, the pub wields a formidable food and drink offer that is well worth travelling for, making it a magnet for discerning tourists and daytrippers.

Bag O’Nails

A multi-generational, multi-cultural reimagining of a prime West End site, Bag O’Nails is powered along by an enthusiastic young team, and management that’s willing to listen to their ideas. A thoroughly modern drinks and food offering complements a lively open interior, that retains some historic touches alongside the glitz. Careful attention to training, regular business reviews and a willingness to innovate bode well for the future.

The Palais

Neighbourhood is all important at The Palais, which makes a virtue of its up-and-coming east end location away from the city centre’s inconveniences. But it is far from parochial, offering eclectic food, drink and entertainment to a delightfully varied clientele, helping breathe new life into its surroundings. Blessed with flawless reviews and led by an adaptable team with their eyes forever on the future, this venue is very much the shape of things to come.

Late Night Venue of the Year

In association with Disaronno International UK

The SLTN Best Late Night Venue award, in association with Disaronno International UK, will go to a late opening premises that successfully combines a late night ambience with top quality drinks and excellent customer service. The winning venue will demonstrate business innovation and an impactful marketing strategy.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Howlin’ Wolf

A lovely mixture of luxurious and reclaimed features, low lighting and dark wood have created a fun atmosphere which you can feel as soon as you enter this venue. The buzz of a Memphis Juke Joint created by the live blues bands and an extensive food menu served until 2am ensures there’s a fun night to be had by all. Fancy a late-night beer or cider? The fridges are rammed with over 50 varieties to choose from.

Radisson RED

Floor to ceiling glass windows with panoramic views across the Clyde create a unique ambience when entering this venue, fully justifying its place on the list of top 50 rooftop bars in the world. Enjoy a Glasgow themed cocktail created by the highly knowledgeable bar staff whilst partying the night away to some of the biggest international dance and trance DJs making full use of the state-of-the-art Void Sound System.

Uno Mas

A large open space has evolved into a cosy late-night venue, where low sofas and booths are mixed with higher dining tables and stools creating interesting spaces for all customers. Controlled lighting, live music and DJs four nights a week creates a fun late-night vibe without becoming a nightclub. Quick and consistent cocktails from a well thought out cocktail menu are served to your table allowing you to chill and chat.

Licensee of the Year

In association with Kopparberg UK

The SLTN Licensee of the Year award, in association with Kopparberg, will recognise a licensee who has worked hard with the best interests of the Scottish hospitality sector at heart, improving standards and running a first class outlet.


The 2023 Finalists:

Alex Riches
St Lukes & The Winged Ox, Glasgow

Overseeing a team of more than 80 staff is a big task but Alex makes it look easy. Not only has he responsibility for training and developing the teams at Glasgow venues St Luke’s, The Amsterdam and The Absent Ear, he’s also got his finger on the pulse of what makes each of those businesses tick, with a keen eye on their varied target markets. He is keen to encourage the next generation of bartenders, supporting them through events such as the annual Bartender’s Ball.

Sasha Carlyle
Hugo’s, Moffat

A second-generation licensee, Sasha works tirelessly to develop her Moffat bar and restaurant, as well as raising money for charities. With an impressive grasp on her customer base – which includes tourists from home and abroad, in addition to a dedicated local following – Sasha is constantly tweaking and evolving the offer at Hugo’s, introducing new products and new events to ensure the bar and restaurant is always the very best it can be, creating a thriving business.

Steve Latto
The Criterion Bar, St Andrews

Under Steve’s leadership, The Criterion has become a beloved fixture in St Andrews, with an offer that caters equally to the town’s student population, local customers and international visitors – including the odd celeb in town for the golf. Never resting on his laurels, Steve has spent the past year developing the food side of the business, and building on what was already a strong wet sales revenue stream. A mentor to his 25-strong team, Steve is committed to employee development.

Mixologist of the Year

In association with Absolut and Barnomadics Ltd

The SLTN Mixologist of the Year award, in association with Absolut and Barnomadics, will recognise the bartender who displays the best overall knowledge of the premium spirits category and demonstrates innovation and creativity while making thoroughly enjoyable cocktails.

Absolut Barnomadics logos

The 2023 Finalists:

Dan Docherty
Porter and Rye, Glasgow

Dan’s commitment to making the best use of quality ingredients is evidenced by his close work with his venue’s kitchen to create accurate flavour pairings, and his sustainable dealings with the local fruit and vegetable store. With subtlety and flair, Dan made two cocktails simultaneously, while continuing to story-tell and engage with the judges. Excellent drinks and the on-the-spot creation of an alcohol-free margarita spot-lit his knowledge.

Max Macauley
West Side Tavern, Glasgow

For someone fairly new to the game, Max is already well established in the drinks industry, and can effortlessly demonstrate his knowledge and innovation. Max made our judges three drinks in different styles; one built, one shaken and one stirred, each showcasing the fundamentals of mixology. Max has a contagious confidence and passion when talking about his love of drinks-craft, making him a brilliant champion for the industry.

Zach Sapato
Mikaku, Glasgow

Zach quite literally ticked every box, living up to his strong reputation within the drinks industry. Each of his cocktails was well constructed with specific, alternative, and sustainable garnishes, ingredients, and glassware - right down to the tempered ice. Zach’s desire to bring his global knowledge to Scotland to not only culture pair his drinks with his venue, but also to build a rich and vibrant bartender community, is truly noble.

Music Led Venue of the Year

In association with Belvedere Vodka

Music is the heartbeat of many of Scotland’s pubs, bars and clubs, and can bring real benefits to a business. The SLTN Music-led Venue of the Year award, in association with Belvedere Vodka, will go to an outlet with music at its core, and which makes the most of all the opportunities a strong music offer can bring.

belvedere logo

The 2023 Finalists:

Backstage at The Green

This venue is a revelation at the back of The Green Hotel in Kinross. The rock memorabilia throughout is testament to David Mundell’s musical knowledge and experience. Outside of festival season, he and business partner Jamie put on between 18 and 22 gigs a month, for seven months of the year. This is a destination venue and people travel to see the gigs that they organise and promote, quite often staying at the hotel and boosting its viability in the quieter months.

The Bungalow

Live music is the lifeblood of The Bungalow and has been 100% incorporated into the design of the venue. Alan and Tommy have deep roots in the music industry, and allow music and events management students free use of their venue. As well as running ticketed events, they also put on free afternoon gigs and Open Mic nights. Artists playing the venue benefit from top quality backline equipment and an excellent front-of-house PA system.

 The Howlin’ Wolf

The key to The Howlin’ Wolf’s success in attracting a crowd is live music seven nights a week with free entry, staying open till 3am and serving food with table service till 2am every day. It has built a large international following of rock, blues and soul fans, who visit from all over the world, and are warmly welcomed with a blues music-themed cocktail menu. Customers are encouraged to play the piano in the quieter seated area through the back, which adds authentic atmosphere.

New Business of the Year

In association with The London Essence Co.

New businesses and business ideas are the bedrock of Scotland’s vibrant hospitality industry. For the New Business of the Year award, SLTN and The London Essence Co. are looking for an outlet that has launched in Scotland in the last 12 months – including new venues launched from scratch as well as existing premises relaunched in an entirely new style.


The 2023 Finalists:

The Black Grape

Nestled at the foot of the Royal Mile, The Black Grape is a stunning bar with a focus on ‘small plates, wine and good times’. Visitors can expect top-level service from a well trained team while they choose from a wide selection of local and global produce. The food and drink offer is outstanding, but it’s the attention to detail that sets the venue apart, from the quality fixtures and fittings, to its branded crockery.

KORA by Tom Kitchin

When the Kitchin Group’s previous venue suffered water damage, it saw an opportunity to transform the space into something entirely different. With a focus on ‘farm to plate’ food, KORA is as warm and welcoming for customers enjoying a few after-work drinks as for those sitting down to a three-course meal. Since opening, it has extended its offer to include a brunch menu and a selection of bar snacks.


This beautiful basement wine and negroni bar is a beacon of style, catering both to those looking for a quiet glass as well as larger bookings. Looking to make wine more accessible to a broader range of guests, the owners have introduced wine tastings, helping build a strong repeat customer base. The bar also offers a range of quality cocktails – including various takes on the trendiest of drinks, the negroni.

Restaurant of the Year

In association with Matthew Clark

The SLTN Restaurant of the Year award, in association with Matthew Clark, will go to the venue that demonstrates the highest quality of food and service together with an excellent range of perfectly-served drinks. This category is split into two divisions: Fine dining and Casual dining.


The 2023 Finalists:

Casual Dining

The Silver Darling

With stunning panoramic, floor to ceiling windows and a view of the Aberdeen coastline, The Silver Darling sets the scene for an incredible dining experience and does not disappoint. The presentation and quality of its food is excellent across the board.

The Pierhouse Hotel

This venue is an absolute joy. The interior is coastal chic, and the menu is very seafood focused, with lobsters landed in the morning only 20 metres away. That ethos of local sourcing, with even the bread baked a few doors down, enhances the overall experience.

Fine Dining

Dean Banks at the Pompadour

Exuding luxury and charm, this is a first-class eatery for locals and tourists alike. Each course and drinks pairing is exquisite, and delivered to the table with theatre and flair. There is a focus on sustainable practices and a passion for creating new and interesting dishes.

Porter & Rye

This intimate restaurant pairs opulent dining with a relaxed atmosphere. With starters designed to share, mains where customers can select their meat of choice from bespoke fridges within the venue, and creative cocktails, it is the ultimate Glasgow dining spot.

Whisky Bar of the Year

In association with Glenfiddich

Scotch whisky is enjoying unprecedented success around the world – but the Scottish on-trade remains a vital route to market for the country’s national drink. SLTN’s Whisky Bar of the Year award, in association with Glenfiddich, will go to an outstanding dealer in drams, in terms of the range on offer, the knowledge of its staff and the quality of its service.


The 2023 Finalists:

The George Hotel

Catering to tourists as well as locals, the whisky offer at The George Hotel is split across two bars, one with a focus on official distillery bottlings, the other looking at more unusual releases from independent bottlers. A range of whisky flights caters to those looking to explore specific regions or styles, while those wanting to ease their way into the category can enjoy accessible whisky cocktails. For a real treat, there’s also whisky and food pairings.

The Malt Room

This intimate space in the heart of Inverness has become a fixture for whisky fans, offering a curated selection of whiskies ranging from unusual-but-affordable to once-in-a-lifetime-rare. Upstairs from the main bar, a stunning tasting room is available for whisky tastings and food pairings, while a recently-added bottle shop, just across the street, ensures customers can take home a bottle of any whisky they’ve tried in the bar.

The Pot Still

It might be easy for The Pot Still to rest on its reputation as one of Scotland’s most famous whisky bars, but the team won’t hear a word of it. In addition to stocking a vast array of whiskies from Scotland and across the world, the pub recently added a selection of whisky flights for those looking to take a journey through a particular region or flavour profile. Its staff old and new are always ready to share their whisky wisdom and opinions with guests.
Additional Awards

Outstanding Individuals of Scottish Hospitality

The winners of these special awards will be revealed on the night, at the SLTN Awards on the 2nd November 2023.

Independent Multiple Operator of the Year

In association with Diageo

The Independent Multiple Operator of the Year will be a business that consists of four or more bars, restaurants or hotels. Handling all the complexities of multiple site management and fostering strong team spirit will be the key characteristics of this award winner.

The Independent Multiple Operator of the Year award, in association with Diageo, recognises and celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship that defines Scotland’s licensed trade.

Entrepreneur of the Year

In association with Chivas Regal

Entrepreneurial spirit is the bedrock of Scotland’s rich and diverse hospitality industry.

For this special award, SLTN and Chivas Regal have joined forces to search for the hospitality industry’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneur.

Hospitality Hero Award

In association with PayFacto

Operators and staff across Scotland’s hospitality industry regularly go above and beyond to help others – from colleagues and regulars to local charities and groups.

The SLTN Hospitality Hero award, in association with PayFacto, will recognise an individual in the Scottish trade who has gone the extra mile to help others.

Industry Achievement Award

In association with Edrington UK

The most important influences on Scotland’s licensed trade are the people who play a part in it as owners and entrepreneurs, managers and educators, activists and innovators.

The SLTN Industry Achievement Award, presented in association with Edrington UK, will recognise an outstanding individual whose career has made an impactful contribution to the trade.