Sunderland city centre raising the bar

A national awards scheme aimed at promoting responsible management and a safe and welcoming environment in licensed premises comes to Sunderland City Centre. The Best Bar None awards are a UK-wide scheme which is already running in more than 60 towns and cities.

Sunderland City Centre Management - in partnership with the Police and City Council - is to bring the Best Bar None awards to Wearside for the first time.

The Best Bar None awards - which are backed by the Home Office - were launched in 2003 and have been adopted nationwide, including by both Durham and Newcastle. In Newcastle The Bacchus was crowned the best bar in 2008.

All licensed premises within the city centre boundaries will be eligible to enter and will be assessed by an independent panel which will include representatives from the police and fire brigade. The winners will be rewarded at a black tie dinner in March 2009. The City Centre Management is planning to launch the scheme at a dinner in September, which will set the scene for the award ceremony itself.

Sunderland City Centre Manager Louise Hardy said: "We really hope the licensing trade will get behind these awards as it's a real opportunity for bars, clubs and pubs in the city centre to highlight their good practice."

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Reader’s comments

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    10:25 31 Jul 2008

    I would be interested to know to what extent the adjucators include disabled access in their decision criteria. Since October 1st 2004, all premises should be accessible in compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

    I know of one pub in Newcastle which has a Best Bar None sign at the entrance and has an accessible toilet UPSTAIRS without lift or ramped access.

    As a wheelchair user, it leaves a sour taste to see a bar winning an award or being credited when they are in breach of the law.

    Steve "WheelchairSteve" Wilkinson
    Accessibility Champion

  2. AG

    19:11 7 Nov 2008

    My opinion regarding Steve's comments on wheel chair access.

    Firstly it is important to point out that I agree that service should be improved massively to better wheel chair access. I often take my mother out in her wheelchair and get frustrated with the lack of compassion premises have towards wheelchair users.

    Now onto my job which is to manage 2 city centre bars in Sunderland, Paddywhacks Irish Bar and the Glassspider. Steve I must agree that bar's like the ones I manage are fortunate to have had a refurbishment in the last 3 years, having the opportunity to include wheelchair access, ground floor toilets and a lift to a upper floor toilet again with disabled access in one. But, it was not always this easy and I know of some other premises that cannot make the adjustment to the bar and its operation to comply with the legislation. The bar is simply either not big enough or health and safety cannot accomodate the change. I also know of other privately owned premises that cannot afford the costs involved. I feel that more and more bars and pubs will be closing over the next year due to constraints such as:

    - the smoking ban
    - beer prices increasing
    - late license ( increasing the trading times / expenses and in my experience dilluting the customers social experience as customers come out later or at inconsistent times increasing the competition)
    - Fuel prices increasing / (increasing taxi tariff's) which makes it more expensive to pull the out of town customer to the city centre.
    - the economic melt down, decreasing the spend with the disposable pound

    I think that there are some great managers and pubs out there which do deserve to partcipate in the best bar none award and it is slightly narrow minded to say they should not be included just because they dont comply to one part of the criteria.

    Andrew Golding
    "the flip of the coin"

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