Hospitality's finest make it on to Top 100 list - and there are no losers

The Harbour Bar in Portrush is among those included on the Hospitality Ulster Top 100 list

FROM five-star hotels to hidden hostelries, beer joints to bistros, student havens to sumptuous eateries, the very best in Northern Ireland hospitality has been honoured in a unique new awards initiative.

Industry body Hospitality Ulster has unveiled its first-ever Top 100, recognising those who, through their premises, staff and product offering, encompass the essence of the industry, going the extra mile to deliver outstanding customer experience.

And for once at an awards ceremony there were no losers - because each of those on the list were presented in alphabetical order, with each winner receiving equal billing for their role in driving forward industry standards.

So from the Albany in Belfast to Wine & Brine in Moira, and with 98 in between, the A to (almost) Z of hospitality hot spots was unveiled at a prestigious ceremony at Titanic Belfast hosted by comedian Tim McGarry and attended by VIP guests including two-time former world boxing champion Carl Frampton.

Mark Stewart, chairman of Hospitality Ulster, said: "From Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels to buzzing city centre nightclubs, gastropubs and quaint country bars, we believe this Top 100 shines the spotlight on Northern Ireland hospitality at its absolute best.

“These are the only awards awarded by the industry to the industry, recognising every sector of our industry, the diversity of our offer and the people who make our industry great.”

For many years, under its previous guise of Pubs of Ulster, the industry body staged 'Pub of the Year' awards.

But such is the breadth of the term 'hospitality', the organisation opted to widen the initiative to take in restaurants and hotels as well as pubs, and the entries and nominations were vetted and short-listed with help from a panel of industry experts.

Of the Top 100 list, some 34 are drawn from Belfast, while there are eight from Derry, seven from the north coast and four from Fermanagh.

Each of the six counties is represented, and at a rough estimate, those on the list employ in the region of 4,000 people.

Interestingly, for next year (and future years), it is understood a small number from the Top 100 will be elevated to a 'Hall of Fame', while a handful might drop off the list if deemed than their standards have slipped, leaving the way open for up to 20 newcomers.

And while Hospitality Ulster insists the list can never be an absolutely definitive one, that could pave the way on to a future list for some notable absentees from the current Top 100 (including, perhaps, one of Belfast's best-known bars in the Crown, and the north's first five-star hotel in the Culloden?).

This year's awards were supported by partners Coca-Cola, Counterpoint, Diageo, Dillon Bass, Heineken, Henderson Foodservice, Molson Coors, Richmond Marketing, Tennent's NI, United Wines Ltd, Tourism Northern Ireland, and media partners Hospitality Review NI, Sunday Life and U105.

The full Hospitality Ulster Top 100 is:

• Albany, Belfast

• Anchor Bar Complex, Portstewart

• Auction Rooms, Dungannon

• Badger's Bar & Restaurant, Derry

• Bank Bar & Bistro, Newry

• Berts Jazz Bar, Belfast

• Billy Andy's, Raloo

• Bishop's Gate Hotel, Derry

• Blackbird, Derry

• Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen

• Brewer's House, Donaghmore

• Browns Restaurant, Derry

• Bull & Ram, Ballynahinch

• Bullitt, Belfast

• Bushmills Inn, Bushmills

• Café Parisien, Belfast

• Cellar Bar, Lurgan

• Central Wine Bar, Ballycastle

• Coachman, Magherafelt

• Coppi, Belfast

• Corner House, Lurgan

• Crosskeys Inn, Toome

• Crowne Plaza, Belfast

• Curran's Bar & Seafood Steakhouse, Ardglass

• Cyprus Avenue, Belfast

• Deanes Deli Bistro & Vin Café, Belfast

• Deanes EIPIC, Belfast

• Dirty Duck Alehouse, Holywood

• Dirty Onion, Belfast

• Dorman's Bar, Magherafelt

• Duke of York, Belfast

• Entrada, Derry

• Errigle Inn, Belfast

• Europa Hotel, Belfast

• Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast

• Fratelli Ristorante Pizzeria & Bar, Belfast

• Front Page, Ballymena

• Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy

• Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena

• Garrick, Belfast

• Ginger Bistro, Belfast

• Granny Annie's Kitchen, Belfast

• Hagan's Bar & Bar Bella, Dungannon

• Harbour Bar, Portrush

• Harp Bar, Belfast

• Harry's Shack, Portstewart

• Hillside Bar & Restaurant, Hillsborough

• Hop House, Bangor

• Howard Street, Belfast

• Ivanhoe Inn & Hotel, Belfast

• James Street South, Belfast

• Jenny Watts, Bangor

• John Hewitt, Belfast

• Keegan's Bar, Armagh

• Kelly's Cellars, Belfast

• La Taqueria, Belfast

• Lavery's, Belfast

• Limelight, Belfast

• Lobster Pot, Strangford

• Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen

• Manor House Country Hotel, Enniskillen

• Mary McBride's, Cushendun

• Mary's Bar, Magherafelt

• Mattie's Meeting House, Cairncastle

• McAleer's Bar, Dungannon

• McConville's, Portadown

• Merchant Hotel, Belfast

• Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch

• Morning Star, Belfast

• Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast

• Muddlers Club, Belfast

• Muriel's Café Bar, Belfast

• National Grande Café, Belfast

• Newforge House, Armagh

• Noble, Holywood

• Northern Whig, Belfast

• Old Thatch Inn, Castledawson

• Owen's Bar, Limavady

• Ownies Bar & Bistro, Carrickfergus

• Ox, Belfast

• Parson's Nose, Hillsborough

• Peadar O'Donnell's, Derry

• Pier 36, Donaghadee

• Plough Inn, Hillsborough

• Quays Bar, Derry

• Rafters / Friel's Bar & Restaurant, Swatragh

• Ramore Wine Bar, Portrush

• Ruby's Bar, Larne

• Sally's, Omagh

• Saltwater Brig, Kircubbin

• Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro, Bangor

• Sandinos Café Bar, Derry

• Shu, Belfast

• Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Newcastle

• Sunflower, Belfast

• Sweet Afton, Belfast

• Taphouse Gastro Pub, Enniskillen

• Tedfords Kitchen, Belfast

• Union Street Bar, Belfast

• Wine & Brine, Moira

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