SEVEN licensed premises in Galashiels are the first Borders recipients of awards acknowledging pubs, hotels and night clubs which have met the highest standards for customer care.
The presentation of the Best Bar None Scotland awards was made at a special dinner in the King’s Arms Hotel, Melrose, last week.
Galashiels was selected as the first town in the region to take part in the scheme, developed in partnership with the Scottish Government, the police, licensing boards and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.
First piloted in Glasgow in 2005, the scheme, sponsored by drinks giant Diageo, was not rolled out in the Borders until November last year with 17 licensed premises in Galashiels initially showing an interest.
In the event, 14 signed up and nine were actually tested, giving a success rate well above the average in Scotland where 400 premises earned awards out of 1,500 assessed.
The Galashiels premises were evaluated against the criteria in the Licensing Scotland Act 2005 of preventing crime and disorder, ensuring public safety, preventing public nuisance, promoting public health and protecting children from harm. The culmination of the judging was an independent and external assessment, with gradings given to each participant and, where appropriate, gold, silver and bronze awards awarded.
The Royal British Legion in Park Street and the Indigo Rooms nightclub in Overhaugh Street won gold. Silver awards went to the Harrow Inn and Hunters Hall, both in High Street, with bronze awards going to the Salmon Inn and Auld Mill, in Bank Street, and the Glue Pot in Overhaugh Street.
After the ceremony, Councillor Gavin Logan, convener of Scottish Borders Licensing Board, who presented the awards, said: “This scheme offers licensed premises a significant opportunity to demonstrate hard work and commitment by staff to ensure premises are a safe and friendly environment and this, in turn, will help generate a more positive image of the night-time economy.
“I am delighted that the Best Bar None scheme has been take up by so many licensed premises in Galashiels.
“Those of us involved in licensing issues welcome any initiative that will assist in promoting sensible drinking and reducing alcohol-related incidents.”