The search to find Northern Ireland’s top hospitality hot spots came to a dramatic conclusion as the cream of the local hospitality industry gathered at La Mon Hotel & Country Club for Hospitality Ulster’s Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Following a record number of entries from pubs, hotels and restaurants, a total of 44 shortlisted premises and individuals from right across Northern Ireland went head to head to be named the toast of the trade.
A total of 14 awards were presented at the glamourous ceremony, which was hosted by Cool FM presenter Pete Snodden and attended by VIP guests.
In an exciting new development and in recognition of the great diversity of pubs in Northern Ireland, this year there were three separate Pub of the Year Awards, recognising the best City, Urban and Rural pubs across the province. With the introduction of the three new categories this year’s Awards were the most inclusive yet.
After a hotly contested competition the three Pub of the Year winners were…
- Pub of the Year City – Sunflower Public House, Belfast
- Pub of the Year Urban – Mary’s Bar, Magherafelt
- Pub of the Year Rural – Friels of Swatragh, Derry~Londonderry
In recognition of the growing importance of food provenance, Hospitality Ulster introduced three new Commitment to Local Food Awards (in partnership with Food NI/Taste of Ulster), recognising the outstanding Commitment to Local Food within Northern Ireland’s Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants. With fierce competition in this category the eventual winners were:
- Commitment to Local Food Pub (in partnership with Food NI /Taste of Ulster) – Pier 36, Donaghadee
- Commitment to Local Food Restaurant (in partnership with Food NI/ Taste of Ulster) – Tedfords, Belfast
- Commitment to Local Food Hotel (in partnership with Food NI /Taste of Ulster) – Newforge House, Magheralin
The Best Bar Person of the Year Award (in association with Sunday Life) recognised truly exceptional individuals and was entered via nominations through the Sunday Life. With the highest ever number of nominations recorded this year, pub-goers across Northern Ireland embraced the opportunity to share their appreciation about their favourite barperson. In a competitive field, Nathaniel McCauley from Muriels Café Bar, Belfast clinched the Best Barperson title.
Meanwhile, Best Hotel Bar 1, 2 and 3 Star was awarded to The Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro, Bangor whilst The Manor Country Hotel, Enniskillen scooped the Best Hotel Bar 4 and 5 Star.
The Hospitality Ulster Rising Star (in partnership with Ulster University Business School) – another new Award for 2015 – went to Miss Sindile Moyo – an exceptional young student, who graduated in July with a degree in International Hospitality Management from Ulster University.
Three Commitment to the Community Awards were presented to winners in pub, hotel and restaurant categories, recognising their outstanding contribution to local charities, good causes, cross community initiatives and efforts to increasing industry standards. The winners were:
- Commitment to the Community Pub – Front Page Bar, Ballymena
- Commitment to the Community Restaurant – 26 West Bar and Grill, Belfast
- Commitment to the Community Hotel – La Mon Hotel and Country Club, Castlereagh
Also new to the 2015 line-up was the Industry Legend Award (in partnership with Hospitality Review NI). The award was presented to Bill Wolsey, founder and managing director of Beannchor Group for his outstanding contribution to the local hospitality industry.
This year’s Awards were supported by Britvic, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Dillon Bass, Drinks Inc., Heineken Northern Ireland, Henderson Foods, Molson Coors, Richmond Marketing, Tennent’s NI, and media partners, Sunday Life, Downtown Radio/Cool FM and Hospitality Review NI.
For further information about the Pub of the Year Awards 2015 and for the full list of winners, shortlisted venues and finalists, visit nipuboftheyear.org