The Library on Saddler Street is celebrating after scooping the top award for ‘Best Overall Premises’, beating 32 other pubs, bars and clubs in the Durham Best Bar None Awards. It also took home two further gold accreditations for ‘Best Bar’ and ‘Best Alcohol-Free Range’.
Best Bar None is a national Home Office backed scheme, which sees the alcohol industry working in partnership with the police and local authorities to promote responsible alcohol consumption and higher professional licensing standards in pubs, bars and clubs.
The voluntary scheme is open to all licensed premises in Durham City Centre. Durham City’s Best Bar None Awards, which are held in association with Durham Constabulary, recognise and reward establishments that are committed to the responsible management and operation of licensed premises.
The Library came out top following a number of assessments and spot checks from police and council officers. As well as winning the top award for ‘Best Overall Premises, it was voted Best Bar for its high standards of customer safety and responsible license holding, and Best Alcohol-Free Bar for its extensive range of non-alcoholic drinks, which it won for the second- year running.
The pub’s extensive range of soft drinks, including coffee which can be refilled free-of-charge, makes it a popular spot for families, as well as students, who use it as a social and study space. General Manager, Andrew Nicholson and his team go the extra mile for customers, learning regular's names and favourite tipples, to create a home-from-home experience.
Reflecting on his success, Andrew said: "We’re delighted with our win. It is a great achievement; it has brought the team together and boosted everyone's confidence. We are very proud of our high standards and I'm determined to work hard to maintain them."
The Three Bridges on North Road took home the award for ‘Best Pub’. General Manager, Scott Guy said: "I was overwhelmed to win this award, it was a personal goal of mine. It just goes to show all our hard work over the last year has really paid off.
"In a small city like Durham, reputation is really important and winning awards like this really helps. The pub has changed a lot recently; we've had a big refurbishment and we've stepped up. We're really popular with the students now - they regularly eat here as we offer discounts with a student card, which makes it good value for money. They also feel safe, they know the staff well and they feel it’s a place they can come and relax."
The two pubs are strong supporters of the Durham Best Bar None scheme; The Library has been a member since the scheme’s inception and the Three Bridges joined in 2013. Both Andrew and Scott are experienced licensees and have worked in a number of different venues across the city.
Durham's Best Bar None Scheme launched in 2008. Evolution of the scheme last year saw some members reporting a 25% increase in turnover and a 15% increase in footfall (in comparison with 2008), as well as a yearly decrease in violence, making Durham City centre a safer environment in which to socialise.
46 Saddler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU
The Three Bridges
80-83 North Road, Durham, DH1 4SQ