Bar entrepreneur among winners in Star Pubs & Bars awards

David King

Experienced bar operator Dave King (pictured) has been named retailer of the year in the awards run for lessees of Star Pubs & Bars.

The award was in recognition of the £250,000 transformation of a large building in Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, into the City Tavern earlier this year. The site became a multi-levelled pub with capacity of 450, with a theatre-style kitchen, spacious bar and dining areas, outside terraces and function rooms.

Dave, who was previously co-owner of leading bar operator and design specialist Fluid Group, beat off competition from over 1,100 other lessees to win the title at the awards run by Star Pubs & Bars, part of Heineken.

Other awards included one for food for Jack Werner and Rozi Hempstead of new Somerset House in Bristol and best live sports venue for managers Marko and Wendy Howard and lessees Mark and Dawn Stevens at Murphys Sports Bar in Brentwood, Essex.

Hosted by football legend and broadcaster Chris Kamara, the ceremony saw a total of 15 awards presented, including new categories for best use of social media and team training. The number of finalists was doubled to 90 in response to the high standards of Star Pubs & Bars’ lessees.

Judging was carried out over three months by both Heineken and Star Pubs & Bars’ employees as well as sponsors with special expertise in each category.

Chris Jowsey, trading director at Star Pubs & Bars, said: “The level of commitment, vision and commercial acumen we saw amongst our lessees is phenomenal. Judging such brilliant operators is humbling but also highly inspirational.”

After winning his award for City Tavern, Dave said: “The whole team is thrilled. Our aim is to give our customers a special experience every time they come here, whatever the occasion or time of day.

“This award is a great tribute to the commitment and talent of the City Tavern team who make it all possible all day, every day. At eight months old, the City Tavern is still a very young business, and we won’t be taking our eye off the ball but will continue to keep focused on making customers happy.”

Chris added: “The City Tavern building has gone through various guises in its life as a stables, bakery and offices but never has it been so imaginatively used as it is by David.

“Not only is the design stunning with a real ‘wow’ factor, but everything David offers be it meals, coffee or cocktails is done to the highest of standards and at level where it competes with the very best specialists.

“The competition was incredibly tough this year, to win one award is outstanding, to be nominated for a further two is unique. This part of Newcastle was crying out for great places to eat and drink and David has filled a real gap in the market brilliantly.”

Full list of winners

Best bar team
Calvin Dow, The Castle, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Live sports venue
Managers Marko and Wendy Howard and lessees Mark and Dawn Stevens, Murphys Sports Bar, Brentwood, Essex

Team training
Martyn and Linda Cripps, The Longboat Inn, Penzance, Cornwall

Heart of the community
Janet Bilton, The Windmill, Linton, West Yorkshire

Famous for food
Jack Werner and Rozi Hempstead, Somerset House, Bristol

Most family friendly
Graham Anderson and Sharon Stanton, The Eastfield Inn, Bristol

Best outdoor pub
Neil Pickles, The Malt, Harden, West Yorkshire

Pint perfection
Michael Perry and Carvey Heaven, the Fountain Bridge, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire

Best cask pub
Trevor, Denise and Matt Fudge, The Anchor, Sidmouth, Devon

Jamie Kimpton, Pollards Inn, Willaston, Merseyside

Best use of social media
John and Kimberley Calton and James Laffan, The Staith House, North Shields, Tyne & Wear

Best newcomer
Alex Cook, The Mill, Stokesley, North Yorkshire

Lifetime achievement award
Bob and Maureen Smith, The Plough, Great Harwood, Lancashire

Lifetime achievement award
Kath Duffy, The Newcastle Packet, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Retailer of the year
David King, City Tavern, Newcastle upon Tyne

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