best bar none

PUBS, bars and restaurants across the borough are being encouraged to join an initiative that can lead towards being acclaimed as Woking’s best licensed premises.

The recognition could come in the 2019 Woking Best Bar None accreditation and awards scheme, which was launched on Tuesday last week.

National Best Bar None co-ordinator Mick McDonnell, Tom Hardy from Asahi UK and Cllr Kevin Davis

Representatives from last year’s winners and other businesses gathered with borough councillors and supporters for the event at the Woking head office of the lead sponsor, Asahi UK.

Best Bar None is a national scheme supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry. It aims to promote the responsible management and operation of licensed premises that support Woking’s vibrant and diverse night-time economy, while strengthening partnership working between licensed premises and public bodies.

To become accredited, licensed premises must first be assessed process to determine whether they meet an agreed set of operational standards. Once accepted, they will become either a gold, silver or bronze Woking Best Bar None accredited venue.

Gold businesses are entered for awards in six categories, with the winners chosen by a panel of independent judges. In addition, members of the public can vote for their favourite venue in the Woking News & Mail People’s Choice Award.

The categories are:

• Overall Best Bar None

• Woking News & Mail’s Peoples’ Choice

• Best Town Centre Pub

• Best Local Pub

• Best Bar

• Best Dining Experience

• Asahi UK Social Responsibility Award.

Woking Borough Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, Cllr Kevin Davis, commented: “Woking Best Bar None is a fantastic initiative that’s aimed at improving standards in licensed venues across the borough to help create a vibrant, thriving and safe environment for both customers and venues.

“Following the success of last year’s scheme, where 11 licensed premises achieved gold accreditation, I would encourage all local pubs, bars and restaurants to apply.

“Achieving accreditation, either gold, silver or bronze, demonstrates the seriousness and commitment with which you operate your business. It’s a superb way to build your reputation both publicly and within the trade.”

The overall winner for 2018 was The Garibaldi pub at Knaphill, which also got the Best Local Pub and the Asahi UK Social Responsibility awards.

The News & Mail award was won by The Red Lion pub at Horsell. The Best Town Centre Pub was The Sovereigns, Cellar Magneval in Church Path, Woking, was Best Bar and The Cricketers at Horsell got the Best Dining Experience prize.

Licensed premises can sign up to Woking Best Bar None by visiting

For more pictures see the 30 May edition of the News & Mail

PUT IT TO BED - Staff from Bed Bar celebrate their prizes

PUT IT TO BED – Staff from Bed Bar celebrate their prizes

BED BAR is the best bar in Woking according to the people who really matter. . . you.

The late-night cocktail bar on Church Path scooped the Woking News & Mail-sponsored People’s Choice prize at the inaugural Best Bar None awards at HG Wells Centre on Monday.

The Bed Bar team returned to the stage moments later after being declared the Best Bar in the town.

Managing director Paul Fisher and his staff were the big winners on the night, alongside Guildford Road pub The Sovereigns which scooped the Best Pub and Miller Brands UK ­Overall Award.

And Paul, 32, was delighted that the club’s turnaround in ­fortunes from a low-key beginning five years ago has been appreciated and recognised in the public vote.

I would encourage anyone and everyone to get involved in Best Bar None

He said: “We’ve been in the town for five years now and we’ve gone from the worst club in the area to the best – it’s a fantastic feeling. We are pretty relieved to be honest because we’ve achieved what we set out to do and that was to become the best bar in Woking.

“A few new members of staff have come in and really got on board with the competition.

“We’ve reviewed all our policies and procedures and this award is recognition for all the hard work we have put in. There is a Bed Bar inReading and a new bar in Torquay and both of those will be entering the Best Bar None competition next year. We want to win all three.”

Paul also had a message for anyone thinking of challenging for his Best Bar crown next year.

He said: “I would encourage anyone and everyone to get involved in Best Bar None.

“Everyone has upped their standards and trouble has fallen – this really is a brilliant scheme.” A total of 40 pubs and clubs entered this year’s competition.

The Sovereigns were also  in celebratory mood after their double success with Chameleon nightclub on Chertsey Street earning the title of Best Club.

The Sovereigns manager Chris Kelly, 40, is a 20 year veteran of pub management but admitted winning the Best Pub award in his first year in Woking was something a bit special.

He said: “We are throwing a bit of a party for the staff and the regulars, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ and they are just as part of this success as anyone.

“It was a great feeling because it went to a public vote. We like to think we give the public what they want and it is nice to know they see it that way.”