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Local bars battle it out to be named the toast of the trade

The search to find Northern Ireland’s best pubs steps up a notch this week, as the shortlist for Pubs of Ulster’s prestigious Pub of the Year Awards 2014 is revealed.

A total of 38 shortlisted premises from right across Northern Ireland will now go head to head to be named the toast of the trade at the top industry Awards next month.

Winners of a record ten award categories – including the much sought after Pub of the Year title – will be revealed at a special gala awards night hosted by Cool FM breakfast show host, Pete Snodden, at La Mon Hotel and Country Club on Wednesday 12th November 2014

Commenting on the awards Pubs of Ulster chairman, Mark Stewart, said:

“Pubs of Ulster’s Pub of the Year Awards provide a valuable opportunity to recognise the significant contribution Northern Ireland’s pubs make, not only within their own communities, but to the hospitality industry as a whole.

“To be a great pub means more than serving a great pint. From first class food to charity work, innovative events and great entertainment, our pubs are helping to raise standards across the whole hospitality sector.

“I would like to congratulate all of the shortlisted pubs and wish them the very best of luck at next month’s Pub of the Year Awards.”

 This years’ Pub of the Year Awards are the most hotly contested yet. Following a record number of entries, the shortlisted pubs were selected after an extensive judging process by the Pub of the Year Awards’ independent judging panel, comprising top Northern Ireland business, marketing and media professionals.

From all of the entries submitted, 38 shortlisted pubs will go forward to the gala Awards ceremony, hoping to win awards in 10 Award categories: Best Barperson (in partnership with the Sunday Life); Best Entertainment; Best Food; Best New or Improved; Best Marketing Idea; Best Charity Event; Best Big Idea, Best Hotel Bar, Best Ulster Pub Week event and the ultimate award – Pub of the Year 2014.

The Pub of the Year’s expert judging panel consists of mentalist and hospitality expert, David Meade; digital media expert Russell Moore; retail specialist, Hugh Black (formerly Victoria Square, Belfast); retail, digital and marketing expert Enda McShane (Velocity Worldwide); Worldwide drinks industry veterans, Maire Campbell (former Coca-Cola); Padraig Gribben (CEO, Vintners Federation Ireland); Norman Trotter (former head of C&C); Terry Loughins (former Diageo) and Brigid Simmons (CEO, British Beer & Pub Association); Martin Breen, editor, Sunday Life; Nicola Daly, manager, Hospitality Review; Jordan Moates, Downtown/Cool FM; Gary McDonald, business editor, The Irish News; John Mulgrew, digital journalist, The Belfast Telegraph and Richard Sherriff, business editor, The News Letter.

After rigorous judging by the panel, pubs from across Northern Ireland were put through their paces further, with mystery shoppers visiting their premises to ensure they adhere to best industry standards.

The overall winner of this year’s Awards will not only walk away with the prestigious ‘Pub of the Year 2014’ title but with a full page profile in The Sunday Life and a commemorative front cover; plus a choice of a dedicated advertising package on Downtown/Cool FM worth £1000.

The Pub of the Year Awards are the only industry recognised awards, this year’s awards are sponsored by Britvic, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Dillon Bass, Heineken Northern Ireland, Molson Coors, Richmond Marketing, Tennent’s NI, Drinks Inc. and media partners, Sunday Life, Downtown/Cool FM and Hospitality Review NI.

Tickets to the Pubs of Ulster Gala Awards night cost £75 per person or £750 for a table of 10 and can be booked by emailing Paula Kane on [email protected]

For further information about the Pub of the Year Awards 2014, visit


The full shortlist for the Pub of the Year Awards 2014 is as follows:

Best Barperson (in partnership with the Sunday Life)

Clare Johnston, the Railway Arms, Coleraine,

Christian Grey, Gilles Bar in the Galgorm, Ballymena

Jordyn Busby, JD Tiplers, Portadown,

Kevin O’Brien, the Maypole in Holywood,

Margaret Ferguson, the Lakeside Inn, Downpatrick

Willie Gregg, Harbour Bar, Portrush.​


Best Marketing Idea

Shiro, Belfast

The Albany, Belfast

The Elk, Toomebridge

The Filthy Quarter, Belfast

The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone


Best Charity Event

Garrick, Belfast

Sally’s, Omagh

The Bridge House, Belfast

The Cellar Bar @ Port Hotel, Portrush

The Stables & Groomsport Inn, Groomsport


Best Entertainment

Betty Black’s, Bangor

Corner Bar at The Market Yard, Limavady

O’Hare’s, Newcastle

The Ryandale, Moy

The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone


Best Food

Mary’s Bar, Magherafelt

Salty Dog, Bangor

The Harbour Bistro, Portrush

The Maghera Inn, Castlewellan

The Ponderosa, Derry/Londonderry


Best Hotel Bar

Adair Arms, Ballymena

Benedict’s, Belfast

Cocktail Bar at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Gillie’s Pub, Ballymena

Salty Dog, Bangor


Best New or Improved

Kiwi’s Brew Bar, Portrush

Sunflower Public House, Belfast

The Albany, Belfast

The Dirty Onion, Belfast

The National Grandé Café, Belfast


Best Ulster Pub Week event

Mary’s Bar, Magherafelt

McBride’s On The Square, Comber

The Anchor Bar, Newcastle

The Lakeside Inn, Downpatrick

The National Grandé Café, Belfast


Best Big Idea

Devenish Bar, Enniskillen

El Divino, Belfast

Ryan’s Bar & Restaurant, Belfast

The National Grandé Café, Belfast

The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone


Pub of the Year

Railway Arms, Coleraine

The Dirty Onion, Belfast

The Filthy Quarter, Belfast

The Goat’s Toe, Bangor

The Maghera Inn, Castlewellan


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