Preston’s night-time businesses came together for an evening of honouring the best in city centre venues and staff.Advertisement
More than 100 of the city’s barmaids, bouncers and managers packed into the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club for the Alive After Five Awards.
It was the first time the awards had been held and BBC Radio Lancashire’s John Gillmore was the host, assisted by Mayor of Preston councillor Veronica Afrin.
The awards aimed to showcase the best of Preston’s city centre nightlife, which has won the Purple Flag – recognising the city as a good and safe night out – for the last three years.
Winner of the Outstanding Achievement, for opening and operating Macs Bar and Ships and Giggles, went to Andy Mac.
He said: “Preston is a great place to have a venue. I came here in 2002 tostudy at UCLan and just stayed. I’ve tried many things since starting in business in 2005 and it’s great to stand up there and get recognition from all those other venues.”
Mac was one of those to pay tribute to Lancashire Police’s licensing chief Sergeant John Lovick who was handed the Special Recognition award.
He praised the attitude of venues in the city centre as he accepted his award.
“You’re all good listeners,” he said, “but we need to keep this going. Other cities and towns look at Preston and think how do they do it? We have a good relationship between venues and the police, it’s very important.”
Other winners on the night included a double win for The Black Horse who were crowned Pub of the Year and took home Best Night/Event for their Dungeons and Dragons evening.
Winners were decided by a combination of a public vote, with more than 3,500 people voting via Facebook, and some categories had mystery shoppers.
One of these was Restaurant of the Year, won by family-run Tinos.
Lynne Ciannis, co-owner, collected the prize on a rare night off.
She said: “It’s typical that Tino himself couldn’t be here tonight, but we had to cover one of the staff so he stayed at the restaurant.
“We’re very proud of being a family business and it’s nice to be recognised.”
There were also prizes for some of the less glamarous jobs in the city centre, including Security Operative of the Year.
Dave Wareing from Yates’ was the winner and paid tribute to his team.
He said: “It’s not really me that’s won this, it’s all of our guys. There’s six of us in the team and it’s hard work but important to make sure people have a safe night.”
The awards were organised by Preston’s Business Improvement District, who city centre businesses fund to promote the city’s nightlife and encourage people to use the city centre more.
Mark Whittle from Preston BID said: “We’ll definitely be doing the awards again next year. It’s good to see so many businesses applauding each other and I hope it encourages collaboration.
“What we need to do is make sure everyone is working to promote Preston as a whole, as well as their own business. Holding events like this help to achieve that.”
The event cost £380 to put on, paid for by the city centre business levy, with the venue and other parts of the night being donated for free by businesses.
Full list of winners:
Bartender of the Year: Chris Zahra from
Waitress of the Year: Mollie Zhou from
Security Operative of the Year: Rob
Wareing from Yates’
Entertainer of the Year: Dan Nightingale
Best Regular Event: Dungeons and Dragons
at Black Horse
Manager of the Year: Tony Mercer of
Outstanding Customer Service Award:
Nichola Morgan from Yates’
Pub of the Year: The Black Horse
Entertainment Venue of the Year: Frog and
Club of the Year: Squires
Restaurant of the Year: Tinos
Outstanding Achievement: Andy Mac
Special Recognition: Sergeant John Lovick
What do you think of the winners? Let us know in the comments below