Pubs, clubs and bars in Durham City have been recognised for their excellence in promoting responsible drinking, at a landmark event.
Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary’s ‘Best Bar None’ awards have been given out for the tenth time, celebrating the responsible management and operation of licensed premises.
The national award-winning scheme, which has operated every year since 2008, sees premises sign up to undergo assessments as well as mystery shopper visits.
Best Bar None accreditation is given out to those which meet set criteria while the awards are given to the premises which score the most points in both assessments and visits.
Awards and accreditations for 2017 were handed out on Tuesday night with surprise ‘premises of the decade’ and ‘special recognition’ prizes given out to mark the tenth year of the accolades.
The biggest winner was The Bishops’ Mill, which was named ‘premises of the decade’, having scored the most points over the ten years of the accolades.
It also landed the coveted ‘2017 best premises in Durham City bar none’ having won the ‘best bar’ award. Its Guy Stoker also earned a ‘special recognition’ award for being the only premises manager to oversee a decade of entries and having guided The Bishop’s Mill to either winner or runner up in the ‘best bar’ category most of those ten years.
A ‘special recognition’ award also went to Keith Draper, who came up with the idea for Durham’s Best Bar None programme as well the city’s national award-winning Pubwatch Scheme, during more than 30 years running The Half Moon Inn.
Winners in full, by category, were:
Best pub: The Half Moon Inn
Runner up: The Court Inn
Best bar: The Bishops’ Mill
Runner up: The Library
Best nightclub: Klute
Runner up: Missoula
Best alcohol free premises: The Library
Runner up: The Water House
Best university bar: The Stag’s Head, Collingwood College
Runner up: Grey College
2017 best premises in Durham City bar none: The Bishops’ Mill
Special Recognition Awards: Keith Draper.
Guy Stoker, The Bishops’ Mill.
Premises of the decade: The Bishops’ Mill.
Cllr Simon Henig, leader of the county council, said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all the winners and runners up in this special tenth year of the Best Bar None awards.
“It’s really nice to see recognition for Keith, without whom there would be no Best Bar None or Pubwatch in Durham, and Guy who has been a mainstay of the awards.
“The value of Best Bar None over the last decade is beyond doubt – our city is a safe place to enjoy yourself and the programme has played a major role in that.”
Durham Constabulary’s chief constable Mike Barton added: “County Durham and Durham City are world known as destinations of culture. Durham City Best Bar None Scheme, now 10 years old, has been pivotal in ensuring our many visitors are safe and have a night to remember, with no mornings of regret for those who have enjoyed the ‘night time economy.’ Here’s to the next 10 years!”
Stuart Errington, chief fire officer at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service – a partner in the scheme, said: “Best Bar None is a fantastic example of partnership working across Durham City. The fire and rescue service want everyone to be able to enjoy a night out in the city, but to do safely and there is no doubt this scheme has made a huge contribution towards this important aim over the last 10 years.”
Best Bar None is a national awards programme operating in 34 towns and cities.
Durham was named the UK’s Best Bar None Best Overall Scheme last year.
Licensees involved in the local Best Bar None reported an almost 20 per cent increase in profits during 2016.
Last year’s figures for violence against the person in Durham were also nearly ten per cent lower than in the 12 months before Best Bar None began operating in the city.