The Northern Whig, in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, has been crowned the best pub in Northern Ireland at the National Pub and Bar Awards.
The popular bar and restaurant, which underwent a major £300,000 refit in 2016, was the regional winner for Co Antrim and went on to take the esteemed title at the National Pub and Bar Awards ceremony, held at the iconic BAFTA Theatre in London on May 23.
Organised by Pub and Bar magazine, the awards brought together the top pubs and bars from across the UK – including six regional winners from Northern Ireland – to recognise and reward those leading the way in the hospitality industry.
The Northern Whig, part of the Horatio Group, was joined by its sister property at the event – Denvir’s Coaching Inn in Downpatrick, which was named as Best Pub in Co Down.
Stephen Magorrian, Managing Director of the Horatio Group said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the Northern Whig has been named Best Pub in NI, especially after our major investment in the venue just over a year ago, when we closed the Whig for over a month, to completely transform the look, feel and offering of premises.
“Hospitality is an industry that never stands still, and people are central to our business. This award is a huge credit to our dedicated team of 40 at the Northern Whig, headed up by manager, Gerard Keaney, who have delivered exceptional service, food, and customer care since we opened the doors of the new look Whig last May.”
Earlier this year, judges travelled across Northern Ireland rating bars and pubs on service, selection, design and entertainment. The Northern Whig impressed the judges with its exceptional drinking and dining experience, ambience and excellent customer service – providing an all-round superior hospitality experience.
General Manager of The Northern Whig, Gerard Keaney, added: “There are many fantastic pubs and bars throughout Northern Ireland, so to be named the best really is a remarkable achievement and honour.
“The past year has been a very busy and exciting time for us. Through the transformation of the Northern Whig, we have created a more relaxed, intimate venue with a superior food and drink offering, so it is a huge honour to be recognised by a national publication as being the Best Bar in Northern Ireland.”
In addition to The Northern Whig and Denvir’s Coaching Inn in Downpatrick, the Horatio Group also owns the popular Horatio Todd’s in Ballyhackamore and Molly Browns in Newtownards.
In total, 94 pubs from across Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland were at the award ceremony in London having been selected as the best in their Ccounty.
The six regional winners from Northern Ireland included the Northern Whig, Antrim; Denvir’s Coaching Inn, Down; The Corner House, Armagh; The Taphouse, Fermanagh; Dormans, Derry and Time Bar, Tyrone.