Who Will Be the Stars of Scottish Bar and Pub Awards? All the Categories.


Voting closes today for the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards 2023 as it looks to shine a spotlight on Scotland’s much-loved pubs and bars! Plus, the great news is, everyone can get involved!

Celebrating its 28th year, the awards, often dubbed the ‘Hospitality Oscars’, are Scotland’s longest running licensed trade awards and celebrates the industry’s rising stars, customer service gurus and creative forces. 

From John O’ Groats to Gretna Green and everything that’s in between, you can choose from a selection of awards to vote for your favourite venue. Whether they are supplying top service for your furry friends, shaking the best cocktails in town, championing the best live music or even giving back to the community – the judges want to know what you think!

They will also be checking out great Whisky bars, new bars, hotel bars and outside areas too, as well as great employers, bar managers, bar apprentices and young licensed trade entrepreneurs.

So, if you have a beloved local pub or bar that you think goes above and beyond then it’s time to give them the recognition they deserve.

The prestigious awards ceremony will be held on 29th of August and is a highlight in the licensed trade calendar but most importantly the public can vote to crown their favourites. So, whether you are a customer, employee or supplier then make sure you vote for your choices of outstanding venues.

Event organiser Susan Young explains, “We need all the customers out there to vote. Once the votes have been counted then our mystery shoppers will visit. The results will not be revealed until the ceremony which will be attended by the top 4 finalists in each category”.

Susan added “It’s set to be another incredible year for our 28th Scottish Bar and Pub Awards as we look to recognise some of the most creative, hard-working and beloved venues in the country. The ethos has always been about recognising great venues and applauding the people who put their heart and soul into running their businesses. This year is no different”.

Voting is easy, just go to www.scottishbarandpubawards.com or email entrysbpa@mediaworlldltd.com and you can vote in as many different categories as you like. You can also check out the category options below:


Sheep Dog Whiskey Dog Friendly Pub of The Year

Sheep Dog Whiskey are hunting for a pub that provides a welcome for pet dogs. Do you know a pub or bar that allow customers to bring their friendly pooches inside? Do they provide a water bowl and the occasional treat? If so, they could be in the running for this accolade. Judges will be bringing their own dogs on mystery visits (volunteers are queuing up!!) If you think you know a pub or hotel that fits the bill – enter it now and if you think you are the most Dog-Friendly Pub in Scotland get your customers voting!.

AF87160D-5212-43AF-9A7C-3279C09AC86F 4 5005 cARO Procurement Customer Service Award

Customer service is paramount when it comes to running a successful business. Aro Procurement is on the lookout for a pub, restaurant or hotel which fully embraces the customer service ethos. Do you know a business that does this? If so, they could be eligible for this Award. Judges will look at the measures that are in place to ensure staff are well trained in customer service. Short listing will be done by Mystery Shoppers and if necessary this will be followed up with a meeting with the judges.

88B410D9-7EE0-43D6-8C2F-4F0595331E28 4 5005 cBenromach Whisky Bar of the Year

Benromach is a traditional Speyside distillery, intent on making single malt the right way with true character. They keep things simple. A handful of distillers relying entirely on expertise and senses to make the finest handmade whisky; Speyside single malt matured exclusively in first-fill casks, with a subtly smoky character. Now Benromach is looking to crown a bar ‘Whisky Bar of the Year’. Each Benromach whisky has its own character, and this year they are looking for a bar with true character and staff with a passion and enthusiasm for whisky, who are able to engage with their whisky-loving customer base. Is your bar the one? Or do you know of a bar worthy of the crown?

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Campari Mixologist of the Year
Do you think you make great cocktails or do you know someone that does.  Campari is looking for Scotland’s top mixologist . A good mixologist doesn’t just know how to craft a tasty cocktail but also knows the history behind the drinks they sell and also embraces innovation through the ingredients they use and the techniques applied. Of course they also have the ability to create new and innovative mixed drinks.   Send us your creative cocktail recipe, utilising Campari, and some information about yourself.  There will then be a shake-off with the five creators of the most creative recipe invited to show off their skills ahead of the ceremony on 29th August.
42B7EE19-94E6-4A88-9CB3-7E5B22388B21 4 5005 cBuzzworks & Montpeliers Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

Buzzworks and Montpeliers are partnering to offer one emerging entrepreneur the opportunity to be mentored by one of the industry’s most experienced and successful individuals over a twelve-month period. Are you successful already, but would hugely benefit from great operational and financial advice, to allow your business to grow to the next level? If so let us know what you think you would benefit. All candidates will be interviewed too.

8FD630E0-D003-4D31-9810-B8C754571120 4 5005 cDeanston Whisky Guru 2023

Are you passionate about all things whisky, with a bold and industrious spirit? Do you love to share your whisky knowledge with your colleagues and customers, but dare to do things a bit differently? Or do you know someone that inspires you when it comes to whisky, with their hard work, optimism and authenticity? This category, ‘Whisky Guru of the Year’, is for people who not only have a great knowledge of whisky but are bold and fearless educators and advocates, with a real passion for craft. It is open to all on-trade employees or employers whether in the bar, pub, restaurant or hotel industry.

CEB2BE49-FAEE-48F8-879F-0FB6B293157D 4 5005 cPremier Card Services Independent Operator Of The Year

Premier Card Services Scotland , the company which represents Dojo– the small business card machine provider, is on the lookout for Scotland’s top Independent Operator. You don’t have to be the biggest, but you do have to show that you are dynamic and forward thinking with a taste for growth and expansion. Good operators know how to identify new opportunities, innovate, and adapt to changing market trends, and by doing so their businesses remain competitive and relevant. Can you relate to that? Technology such as Dojo can also help you improve your customer experience – do you use technology to its full effect?


Drinks Express Outdoor Area 2023

Customers now embrace wining and dining outside, whether they have just popped out for a beer or a cocktail. This award will go to the pub, bar, restaurant or bar that has created an exceptional outdoor space which enhances the customer experience. It’s not just about the way your outside area looks, its about the service element too and ease of ordering, and about demonstrating how your space is contributing to the success of your business.


‘Giving More’ Award in partnership with Edrington UK

Giving More is deep rooted in Edrington’s DNA. Whether this is to their people, consumers, customers or communities – their central purpose is giving. The founders of Edrington, the Robertson sisters, also established the Robertson Trust which is Scotland’s largest independent grant-making charitable trust. This inaugural award has been created to celebrate and reward those in the hospitality industry who have the same ethos of Giving More. Those who have went above and beyond to give more to either their community in which they operate, their customers, or to their employees. This may include volunteering or providing a community service or looking after the welfare of employees. We’d love to hear who you think deserves this accolade.

93B9AAF0-EC7D-4C6E-BB3A-F4F9B0E77CBB 4 5005 cHOSPO Manager of the Year

There are five key characteristics which make a good manager according to HOSPO, Scotland’s only hospitality focused recruitment agency. Trust – the employer trusts a good manager to run their bar, restaurant or hotel with integrity. Passion – a passion for hospitality and the people around them. Flexibility – paying attention to your individual team members requirements and managing the business accordingly. Teamwork – an essential component of running any good business. Development – a thirst to continue personal learning. Do you have a manager that fits the bill or are you one.

ED9B8171-7C68-4396-9DFE-7D6D079D78A8Cocktail Bar of the Year

Cocktails are just as popular as ever and we are looking for a Cocktail Bar that excels. We are also looking for a bar which marries traditions with a contemporary look and which empowers bartenders to go beyond their limitations and create flavour-curious (great) cocktails. Do you know a cocktail bar that has this story to tell, or are you one? If so enter now… all bars will be mystery shopped and bartenders will be asked to create a new cocktail.

F7381B33-2A1A-4A60-8D49-070274BF540FDRUM Digital Innovator of the Year

It has never been more important to have a clear and ongoing digital strategy and forward thinking hospitality operators have embraced digital. This award aims to recognise that. We are looking for trade businesses that have successfully used the power of social media, digital advertising, and website design to build their brand and connect with customers with the aim of driving footfall to their establishments. How have you managed to keep your business to the forefront. We are looking for creativity and a clear strategy.

421C4568-138B-46CC-BCFC-FD8DD682A7D2Flor de Caña Sustainability Award 2023

Sustainably crafted premium rum brand, Flor de Caña has not only launched a global Sustainable Cocktail Challenge, but it is also looking for Scotland’s licensed trade Sustainability Champion. Flor de Caña is the world’s only Carbon Neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit, and it continually seeks to promote and reward sustainable, eco conscious practices. It is looking for a Scottish bar, restaurant or hotel that is on the sustainability journey. What are you doing to ensure your business is greener?

Tell us about your eco-friendly creative drinks or the business initiatives that you are implementing to help build a greener future or tell us about someone that you know that deserves the accolade.

0FB62991-AEBF-4235-8F5A-F67A79C16726 4 5005 cHi-Spirits Best Live Music Venue 2023

Live music is very much part of a vibrant night life, and pubs and bars that invest in live music can be found in most towns and cities in Scotland. Are you one of the best or do you know a live music bar or pub that is the best in Scotland? Hi-Spirits, which offers the on-trade a diverse portfolio of brands such as Southern Comfort, Fireball, Tequila Rose, Buffalo Trace and more, is looking for a bar that has an equally diverse live music offer – whether your music genre is pop, rock, country, or a mix, it’s important that the sound is as good as the ambience. Great service and a quality drink offering are also part and parcel of the offering.

9216CEAB-A580-4272-9003-EAC7C30450AB 4 5005 cHotel Scotland Family Business of the Year

Scotland has some very successful family businesses which have thrived over the years and they deserve recognition for the hard work that goes into making a family-owned hospitality business work. Do you think you deserve recognition or do you know a family business that does? We are looking for a business that is forward thinking, dynamic and includes more than one generation of the family. Although Hotel Scotland is sponsoring this category it is open to all family-owned businesses in hospitality.

758FE2D7-1D52-40FA-A93F-6FED11A606B7 4 5005 cInverarity Morton Scotland’s Best Drinks Offering

As a composite wholesaler we are looking for a venue that demonstrates a diverse drink offering, from wine, spirits, beers and softs. Whether you own a bar, restaurant or hotel we are searching for a venue that displays creative forward-thinking and are inclined to think outside of the box when it comes to developing their drinks list. This award is dedicated to a venue that’s bold and daring, just like their drinks offering.

E4C84F4F-C448-4703-B3E1-6E7FBEC642ED 4 5005 cKopparberg New Bar of the Year

Kopparberg is on the lookout for Scotland’s best new bar. The Kopparberg team is looking for a bar that has proved to be a success with customers – it doesn’t have to be the most stylish or the biggest, but owners should demonstrate creative forward-thinking and be inclined to think outside of the box when it comes to developing their business. It goes without saying but good customer service and an excellent range of products behind the bar is essential. Do you know a bar, or are you one, that deserves the title?

7A11E55B-79EB-4ED1-AF41-066D664FE80C 4 5005 cMedia World Casual Dining Award

There are many great Casual Dining Restaurants in Scotland and this year we seek to recognise those that stand head and shoulders above the competition with our Award for Casual Dining. Do you have a relaxed atmosphere, and serve good value quality food? Are your staff adept at customer service, and do your chefs know how to serve up tantalising, tasty food? Are you family-friendly and customer-focused?

7F9430B9-8BCE-45A3-B782-C14F96BB5FBD 4 5005 cMolson Coors Scottish Bar of the Year

Molson Coors is seeking out Scotland’s best Bars, which have been around for at least a year. We’re looking for venues that are a hit with their customers – success can come through great customer service, a beautiful bar environment, stunning food and drink offering or an event calendar that keeps customers flocking back. Operators that offer something special for their locals, or are known for exceptional standards by locals and visitors alike – we are keen to hear from the exceptional teams that make this industry so vibrant and fresh.

88E3FBCB-559E-46FF-B419-A62F7D5B55BD 4 5005 cMolinari Hotel Bar of the Year

Molinari is the Sambucca that Italians love and the brand is looking for a Hotel Bar that you love. A hotel bar that epitomises the best of all things Scottish. Do you know a hotel that offers great service, and activities such as golf, and a bar that allows you to relax – either pre-activity or post activity or are you one? The judges will be looking for a bar with ambience, a good range of drinks, cocktails too, and it goes without saying… service with a smile.

37473D6A-2FAC-4723-B017-9F642BC28FED 4 5005 cPernod Ricard Best Late Night Venue 2023

Pernod Ricard, the brand owners with Havana Club, Beefeater and Chivas in its portfolio, is looking for a late night venue that exemplifies what is good and great about late night socialising. Great drinks, music and service are all important, but the atmosphere too plays its part. Eligible venues must be open after midnight, but whether you are a club, dive bar, cocktail bar or entertainment venue – this award is for you if you offer a first class late night experience.

D5059743-92BE-4022-9865-29A5EF03DFA2 4 5005 cHospitality Employer of the Year

Health and wellbeing in hospitality is being embraced by companies the length and breadth of Scotland and this year we are seeking the hospitality operator that does most to ensure its team is looked after and part of that criteria will include its response to looking after the health and wellbeing of its team. Do you work for a business that you feel goes above and beyond, or do you think you are one? Do you offer the best environment for your team to thrive and do you support them?

36F7AA03-A07A-4A02-8A5D-F7AF81FA4964William Grant & Sons Bar Apprentice 2023

The Bar Apprentice is back for its 16th year and William Grant & Sons backing the initiative with brands Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky, Hendrick’s Gin, and Monkey Shoulder. A bespoke programme has been created for this year’s apprentices – an experience you can’t buy! The programme aims to inspire and educate as well as giving practical experience for working behind the bar or on the floor. The 2023 apprentices will be mentored by a team of experts from William Grant & Son’s. The apprentice who embraces the experience and makes the most progress will receive the accolade William Grant & Sons Bar Apprentice 2023 and will be presented with the award at the Awards Ceremony.

2C71F5F1-57A7-4A74-A9BC-85D97150C5FA 4 5005 cSunday Mail Pub of the Year

Scotland’s leading Sunday newspaper is looking for the best pub in the country. Do you have a welcoming atmosphere? Do your customers come back, and come back again? Get your customers to fill in the entry form when it appears in the Sunday Mail and online and tell us why you think you are eligible for ‘Pub of the Year’.

Other awards will include the Lifetime Achievement Award and an award for Sustainability