Queen’s Head Hotel is best bar none at national awards

Queen's Head, Kelso. From left, Emma Archibald, Anna Ewart, Lucy Wight, Chris Lewis (Scottish Business Resillience Centre, award presenter), Mark Hay, Giuliiana di Lorenzo and Sandra Hay.
Queen's Head, Kelso. From left, Emma Archibald, Anna Ewart, Lucy Wight, Chris Lewis (Scottish Business Resillience Centre, award presenter), Mark Hay, Giuliiana di Lorenzo and Sandra Hay.

A Kelso hotel has been recognised as among the best licenced premises in Scotland for the second year running.

The Queen’s Head Hotel on the town’s Bridge Street scooped the award for Best Hotel Bar at the Best Bar None Scotland National Awards held in Dunblane last Thursday.

A total of 23 of the region’s licensed premises picked up awards at the Scottish Borders Best Bar None regional awards last month but The Queens Head, and the Wagon Inn, also in Kelso, were the only two included in the 53 national finalists, split across 11 categories.

The nation-wide scheme which recognises premises promoting a safe day and night time economy and social responsibility.

Mark Hay, proprietor of The Queen’s Head alongside his wife Sandra for the past decade, also runs the Town’s Arms in Selkirk as well as two outside function bars businesses. His 15-bedroom hotel is run by a team of 28 full and part-time staff.

He said: “I know how much work the bar staff put into these awards and we are streets ahead of everyone else when it comes to getting it right for these awards.

“They judge you on absolutely everything. There’s a lot of work involved for the staff and we were up against some crackers to be honest.”

The awards are backed by the Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

All premises taking part are required to prove they try to prevent crime, disorder and public nuisance, protect public safety and children’s welfare and promote good health.

Chairwoman of Best Bar None Scotland, Mandy Haeburn-Little, said: “I truly believe Best Bar None venues are driving positive change in our communities and creating safe social spaces with their commitment to providing a positive experience for their customers.

“The awards continues to raise the profile of the fantastic work our venues do in support of safe social spaces but in particular their innovation and social responsibility practices which impress the judges year on year.”

There are eleven categories within the awards scheme, being best pub, independent pub, bar, independent bar, hotel bar, night club, specialist entertainment venue, heart of the community, newcomer, innovation and national champion.