Peebles pub named as best bar none in land

Nikki Cassidy, left, being presented by Sarah Bellis with the Campaign for Real Ale's Scottish and Northern Irish pub of the year award for the Bridge Inn at Peebles.
Nikki Cassidy, left, being presented by Sarah Bellis with the Campaign for Real Ale's Scottish and Northern Irish pub of the year award for the Bridge Inn at Peebles.

A Borders pub has been named as the best bar none in the country and beyond by beer buffs.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has chosen the Bridge Inn in Peebles as its 2017 pub of the year for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Nick Henderson at Burt's Hotel in Melrose.

Nick Henderson at Burt's Hotel in Melrose.

Known locally known as the Trust, the Port Brae pub is a town-centre locals’ bar offering a choice of four real ales.

The pub has a mosaic entrance floor and is decorated with bottles, memorabilia of outdoor pursuits and photographs of old Peebles.

Nikki Cassidy, licensee of the Kingdom Taverns bar since 2011, said: “We’re proud to be named Camra’s Scottish pub of the year for 2017. We’re delighted to have won.

“Peebles is a vibrant town surrounded by award-winning breweries, which we take full advantage of, giving us a local edge.

“With our knowledgeable bar staff and friendly clientele, we really feel that the Bridge is an important part of the community. It is great to be recognised as such.”

That accolade follows the Bridge Inn being named Edinburgh and south east Scotland’s 2017 pub of the year by Camra branch members.

The Bridge Inn was presented with its award on Saturday, September 16.

It now goes on to vie to be named one of the top four pubs nationwide.

Sarah Bellis, the campaign group’s director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to win the Scotland and Northern Ireland pub of the year award.

“The Bridge Inn has been a much-visited pub by Camra members for many years, and the title is well deserved.”

The Bridge Inn is one of two Peebles pubs to make it into the 2018 Camra Good Beer Guide, edited by Roger Protz, the other being the Cross Keys, a JD Wetherspoon outlet in Northgate.

Peebles is one of only three towns to muster multiple entries in the latest guide, the others being Kelso, with the Cobbles and Rutherfords, and Coldstream, with the Besom and Castle Hotel.

Other pubs featured are the Craw Inn at Auchencrow, the First and Last at Burnmouth, the Clovenfords Hotel, the Black Bull Hotel at Duns, Earlston’s Red Lion, the Ladhope Inn at Galashiels, the Exchange Bar in Hawick, the Canon in Jedburgh, Leitholm’s Plough Inn, Melrose’s King’s Arms Hotel, Town Yetholm’s Plough Hotel and the Gordon Arms Hotel at West Linton.

The region’s six brewers – Tempest at Tweedbank, Born in the Borders at Lanton Mill, Freewheelin’ in Peebles, Traquair House, near Innerleithen, Broughton Brewery and Old Worthy, both at Broughton – are also listed.

The Craw Inn, the Cobbles and the King’s Arms at Melrose are the only three hostelries in the region to do the double and be included in both the Good Beer Guide and the Ebury Press Good Pub Guide, edited by Fiona Stapley.

They are given a mention in a round-up of other pubs worth a visit, alongside the Allanton Inn, Lauder’s Black Bull, Ayton’s Hemelvaart Bier Cafe, the Border Hotel at Kirk Yetholm, the Gordon Arms in the Yarrow Valleyand the Buccleuch Arms at St Boswells.

Like last year, only three Borders establishments secure entries in the main section of the Good Pub Guide – Burt’s Hotel at Melrose, named as Scotland’s dining pub of the year for the fourth year on the trot and fifth time overall, plus the Cross Keys at Ancrum and the Wheatsheaf at Swinton.

Nick Henderson, proprietor of Burt’s Hotel, said: “We’ve had a new head chef, Craig Gibb, since April, and much of our kitchen team has changed, so it’s great that we’ve retained that award. We’re all delighted.”

This year’s Good Beer Guide, the 45th, and Good Pub Guide, the 36th, are both out now, and both cost £15.99.