A record number of pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels from the Borders have picked up a Best Bar None Scotland award.
Representatives from 23 local licensed premises were presented with their awards at a ceremony in the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in St Boswells last week.
Venues from Eddleston to Eyemouth have been recognised for their commitment to a safer and more secure environment for the public.
The figure includes 11 premises which have either entered the awards for the first time, or have returned after an absence last year. A total of 18 premises picked up awards last year.
This year’s winners are:
· Gold: Barony Castle Hotel (Eddleston), The Carters Rest (Jedburgh), The Cobbles (Kelso), The Cross Keys (Peebles), Union Club (Innerleithen), Liddesdale Hotel (Newcastleton), Macdonald Cardrona Hotel (Peebles), Melrose Rugby Club, The Plough Hotel (Yetholm), Queens Head Hotel (Kelso), Waggon Inn (Kelso), Warehouse (Galashiels).
· Silver: The Bourtree (Hawick), The Bridge Inn (Peebles), Buccleuch Arms (St Boswells), Oblo (Eyemouth).
· Bronze: Black Swan (Kelso), The Forresters Arms (Jedburgh), The Gordon Arms (Yarrow), Grapevine (Galashiels), Hunters Hall (Galashiels), Templehall (Morebattle), Trinity Bar (Hawick).
Each premise is now accredited to the Best Bar None scheme, which last year saw the Queens Head and Waggon Inn both pick up Scottish titles.
Both Kelso premises are again in the running for a national award, with a ceremony due to be held in Dunblane on Thursday, 29 March.
Best Bar None Awards are supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
Councillor Watson McAteer, chair of Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board, said: ‘The continued success of the Best Bar None Awards is good news for our communities, particularly the number of new or returning premises in 2017 from across the Scottish Borders.
‘These premises take customer care and safety seriously, which is important for the public to know so they can enjoy a safe night out.
‘I congratulate all of our local winners and wish both the Queens Head and the Waggon the best of luck in the national finals later this month.’
Arlene Campbell, National Best Bar None Scotland lead, said: ‘Best Bar None has become recognised for venues delivering high standards in the licensed trade focusing on social responsibility and duty of care in support of the licensing objectives. ‘
The venues voluntarily participate and I’d like to commend all 23 of the Scottish Borders venues for their commitment to the scheme. It is great to see Best Bar None becoming established in this area in support of the local community and day and night-time economy.’
PC Nick Walker from the Scottish Borders Safer Communities Team, and local Best Bar None lead, added: ‘It is great to see a record number of Best Bar None Award winners in the Scottish Borders, but we would like to see even more join up.
‘The scheme provides a number of positives for participating premises and means the Borders can maintain safe and welcoming licensed venues.
‘The process is very straightforward and Police Scotland and council licensing staff can assist participants at any stage.
‘The 2018 scheme will launch in the coming weeks and I would encourage all local licensed premises to take part.’