Just a year after opening, a Capital establishment has won out against more than 1,000 pubs and bars around the UK to take home two top industry awards.
The Barrelhouse Bar & Grill, which took over the site from the troubled Jock’s Lodge pub in Willowbrae, has been named Star Bar of the Year and Best Bar Team at the Star Awards. Barrelhouse was the only bar to scoop two prizes.
Edinburgh bar operators Caygill & Smith, who have three other venues in the city, received the prestigious awards at a gala celebration night in Manchester from Coronation Street star Kym Marsh.
Caygill & Smith took over the former Jock’s Lodge pub – a troubled local with a poor reputation – when it had been closed for three years, undertaking a £280,000 refurbishment and reopening the site as the Barrelhouse in November 2016.
The awards marked its dramatic transformation into a popular neighbourhood bar specialising in Cajun and BBQ food and blues fusion music.
The judges said the Barrelhouse won due to its “fantastic food and drink, the highest of standards and a brilliant team of attentive staff who give it the ‘X factor’, ensuring every customer has a great time.”
Barrelhouse’s originality also put it in a “league of its own,” the judges said.
Barrelhouse has the look and feel of a New Orleans BBQ shack and boasts an all-year garden with a smokehouse, spit roast, mini gin and rum cocktail bars and a herb and vegetable patch.
Caygill & Smith director Amanda Caygill says: “It’s unreal to have won – especially when we haven’t been open for long. We couldn’t have done it without the support of residents who’ve got behind us. The staff are chuffed to bits and rightly so, they are the key to making everyone happy. Taking on Jock’s Lodge was a challenge but the area is close to so many fantastic parts of the city and we love it.”
Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “It’s a remarkable achievement creating a really special local bar for the neighbourhood.”