THE search to discover Northern Ireland’s best pubs, hotels and restaurants IS under way as the new look annual Pub of the Year Awards launched in Belfast yesterday.
In recognition of the widening scope of the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland, a record 14 Awards are up for grabs, each designed to highlight the very best that the sector has to offer.
With the introduction of three Pubs of the Year Awards, recognising the best pubs and bars in rural, urban and city locations, this year’s Awards are set to be the most inclusive ever.
Also new for 2015, three Commitment to Local Food Awards (in partnership with FoodNI/Taste of Ulster) will recognise the growing importance of locally sourced food within Northern Ireland’s best pubs, hotels and restaurants.
With community involvement continuing to be an important focus for the local hospitality industry, 2015 also welcomes the introduction of three Commitment to the Community Awards for pubs, hotels and restaurants.
This year’s Best Hotel Bar category features two accolades with Awards for the Best 1, 2 & 3 star Hotel Bar and Best 4 & 5 star Hotel Bar.
One Award category will invite nominations from the general public. People can nominate their favourite barperson by writing to The Sunday Life, which is joining forces with Hospitality Ulster once again to find out who’s the Best Barperson in the pub personality stakes.
The Awards will also recognise the industry’s rising stars and those that have played a vital role in shaping the sector with two new Awards: Hospitality Ulster’s Rising Star (in partnership with Ulster University) and the Industry Legend Award (in partnership with Hospitality Review).
All submitted Award entries, along with public nominations from the Best Barperson and the Industry Legend Awards will be vetted and judged by an independent judging panel comprised of industry experts, before being mystery shopped to ensure they meet industry standards and best practice guidelines.
Olga Walls, chair of Hospitality Ulster, said: “The Pub of the Year Awards celebrate all that is great about our Northern Ireland’s hospitality industry and the Awards are hotly contested each year.
“We have some of the best hospitality venues in the world right on our doorstep and many of these are setting industry standards when it comes to their customer offering and service as well as innovation.
“As our industry has evolved, so have we as an organisation and so too have our Awards. That is why we are introducing a number of new Awards for 2015, which recognise the widening scope of the industry.
“Whilst retaining the proud title of ‘Pub of the Year Awards’ and celebrating and honouring all that is great about the Ulster Pub, we have also introduced several new Awards that recognise the growing diversity of our pubs, hotels and restaurants.
“I would encourage all businesses to get involved and enter this year’s Awards, as we strive to celebrate the real heroes of Northern Ireland’s hospitality industry.”
The closing date for entries is Tuesday September 15. The winners will be revealed on Wednesday November 11.
For further information and to enter online log onto www.nipuboftheyear.org