Emotional, that’s how publican John Martin feels about the Harbour Inn winning the Evening News Pub of the Year competition.
He’s been pulling pints at the Newhaven pub for nearly seven years and is over the moon to have been voted as the best beer-swilling bar in the Capital.
And why does he think they swiped the number one spot?
“It’s all about the people,” he said sincerely. “Our customers are just fantastic.
“We’re just a traditional local pub known for our ales, we welcome anyone in.”
He said the success of the traditional, pub is about the atmosphere created by the community for the community.
There is no doubting the welcome is warm which has much to do with John’s passion for the Inn.
A publican with over 30 years’ experience, his easy going character and genuine warmth makes visitors feel instantly at ease.
“I love my job,” he said. “I have been doing it for 31 years and the Harbour Inn is probably the best pub I’ve ever taken control of,” he added amid friendly jibes from regulars in the background.
He laughed: “But seriously, winning is absolutely marvellous – I’m on cloud nine.
“Honestly, my word to describe it would be simply ‘emotional’.
“It’s a great achievement.
“We’re a friendly pub and everyone is made to feel welcome and that’s the way it should be.
Overlooking the Firth of Forth, the cosy Newhaven pub is thought to be the oldest nightspot in the neighbourhood.
Formerly the Stone Pier Inn, the site has been occupied by a public house since 1860.
The Harbour Inn is also one of the area’s top venues for free live music, with weekly performances from veterans of the Capital music scene.
“As well as our regulars we get people coming in from all over, which is brilliant,” John added.
“We have a couple from Scarborough who come up every year to visit us.”
And this year, 25 cruise ships stopped off at Newhaven harbour, bringing an international flavour to the Harbour Inn.
As he pondered where he was going to put the new trophy, John took a moment to express his gratitude.
“I would like to thank everyone for making this happen.
“Lots of people go into making it a success, so I really appreciate it.”
Hundreds of pub-goers voted for their favourite local in the Evening News 2018 Pub of the Year competition.
Runners-up were Winstons Lounge Bar on Kirk Loan, in Corstorphine.
Lisa Smith on behalf of Winstons said: “We’re really, really pleased to have been voted in second place. It is great to have this accolade and a good fun thing to do – everyone got involved and it was a real community effort.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to our customers for their ongoing loyalty.”
And in third place was last year’s winner Bunch O’ Roses in Restalrig.