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LCN Awards 2019: The Greatest Show

The biggest night out of the year just got bigger…

More than 450 guests from across the hospitality trade joined us in the Europa Hotel, Belfast for the 10th annual LCN Gala Awards at the beginning of June – and what a fabulous night out it was!

Living up to their reputation as a great night out from start to finish, this year’s awards included a brand new category – Chef of the Year – and show-stopping live entertainment from NI singing sensation, Peter Corry, who brought elements of his latest show, The Showman is Coming, to the stage at the Europa – to universal acclaim.

Our hosts this year, broadcasters Sarah Travers and Joe Lindsay, steered proceedings throughout the evening, after which everyone danced into the wee small hours at the first ever LCN Aftershow Party, organised in conjunction with our partners at Schweppes.

A massive congratulations to all our winners and finalists! Re-live the highlights by checking out our pictures of all the winners from the night.

Bar person of the year

Winner

Stephen Dodds (left) of McHugh’s in Belfast is pictured with Patrick Morgan from category sponsor, Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

“This was very unexpected and I’m very happy. I love working in McHugh’s and getting to meet new people every day, it’s a great part of the job!” – Stephen Dodds, McHugh’s Bar, Belfast

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Patrick Falls, The Points, Belfast; Coln Murray, Rita’s, Belfast; Patrick Morgan, category sponsor, Bushmills Irish Whiskey; Shane Baker, The Bridge Bar, Newry and Christy McNaughton, The Lurig Bar, Cushendall.

Category sponsor Patrick Morgan commented: “It’s the fifth year Bushmills has sponsored this award. It’s a very important part of our trade as a local brand, getting good bar tenders to like our brand and promote it is a good thing and we wish all participants success in the future.”

Café/Bistro of the Year

Winner

John Cunningham, Emma Fowler and Andrea Ross from Sugarcane accept their trophy from Claudia Jones of category sponsor, Quorn.

“We’re ecstatic to win tonight and it just goes to show that hard work does pay off. We’re just over the moon to be with this award.” – Andrea Ross, Sugarcane Café Bistro, Comber

Finalists

Geraldine McNulty, Camocha; Russell Haydn, The Ivanhoe Hotel; Morgan Stubbings, Katch 27;  Claudia Jones from category sponsor, Quorn; Adam Stockton, The Ivory Champagne and Café Bar and Felipe Sanchez, the Ava Winebar and Bistro.

Sponsor Claudia Jones commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to sponsor this award. We have really just this year started to work within foodservice so it was a really brilliant opportunity for us to put our brand out there in hospitality.”

Chef of the Year

Winner

Paul Cunningham, Brunel’s Restaurant, Newcastle.

“It’s nice to be recognised but I haven’t won this, my team have. It’s all about team work.” – Paul Cunningham, Brunel’s Restaurant, Newcastle

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Cameron Carter, The Wheathill; Paul Dalrymple, Billy Andy’s; Mark McClements from category sponsor, Calor; Trevor Orr, The Harbour Inn and Jonathan Boyd Saphyre

The judges commented: “This new category was hotly contested and judges had some very difficult decisions to make.  The winner of this award is a champion of local products and producers and is also a keen forager. Not only does he produce outstanding food in his restaurant but finds time for fundraising and training of others coming into the industry.”

Community Bar of the Year

Winner

(L-R): Pictured are Peter Biju, Curran’s; Emily Kelly, Sinead Cavanagh and Ellen Sharvin from category sponsor, Q Radio; Pascal Kearny,  Curran’s; Bill Penton, award co-organiser; Jessica Sharvin, Q Radio and Stephen Jenish, Curran’s.

“We’re absolutely delighted and we just want to dedicate this award to Paula Curran. We can’t thank everyone enough for voting for us.” – Stephen Jenish, Curran’s Bar and Seafood Steakhouse, Ardglass.

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured from left are Johnny Cooper, The Morning Star; Judith McCreanor, The Taphouse Bar and Restaurant; Pamela Richardson, Richardson’s Bar; Erin McCullough, The Albany; Aoife McGrath, The Taphouse Bar and Restaurant; Sinead Cavanagh, category sponsor, Q Radio; Gabriel McKeown, The Riverside Bar; Joseph Carolan, Sean Og’s; Gerry McDowell, McLarnon’s Ramble Inn; Emma Cunningham, The Head O The Road and Lyle Richardson, Richardson’s Bar.

Sponsor Sinead Cavanagh, from Q Radio, said: “We are very much embedded in the community in Northern Ireland and so sponsoring Community Bar of the Year makes sense for us because it is at the heart of what we do.”

Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner

Peter (centre) and Ben Ringland accept the LCN Entrepreneur of the Year title from Michael Flannigan of category sponsor, FEB Chartered Accountants.

“It feels brilliant to win an award of this calibre and we are absolutely delighted to be contributing to Northern Ireland and the tourism and hospitality industry.” – Ben and Peter Ringland, The Ringland Group

Fish and Chip Shop of the Year

Winner

Stuart (left) and Nicola Frew are pictured with Ivan Bond from category sponsor, McWhinney’s Sausages.

“We’ve been up here five or six times as a finalist but it’s an unbelievable feeling to win. Thirty-two years we’ve been in this business and we put our whole lives into it, so it’s great to win.” – Stuart Frew, Frew’s Fish and Chips, Ahoghill.

Finalists

Pictured are Ciaran Hughes, Fiships; Emma McNally, PG Chips; Aaron McCorkell, Chequers Riverside; Ivan Bond from category sponsor, McWhinney Sausages; David McKelvey, The Friary, and Katrina Fox and Gareth Montgomery, Chipmongers.

According to sponsor Ivan Bond, the standard this year was exceptional.  He added: “The winners are very worthy winners. We are delighted to sponsor this award because it is always such a good competition.” -Ivan Bond, McWhinney’s Sausages

Hotel of the Year (more than 75 rooms)

Winner

Andrew Spratt (left) from sponsor, A&L Goodbody presents the award to Aaron Logan from algorm Spa & Golf Resort.

“It’s great for us to be here tonight winning Hotel of the Year. It shows our huge commitment to the hospitality industry here in Northern Ireland. It’s great to see that we are being recognised for our passion, our commitment and for what we deliver for locals and tourists visiting Northern Ireland. – Aaron Logan, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena.

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Taroon Missry, Titanic Hotel, Belfast; Lauren Hudson, Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast; Amy Maguire, City Hotel, Derry-Londonderry; Andrew Spratt, category sponsor, A&L Goodbody and Scott Weatherup and Phil McCartan, Stormont Hotel, Belfast.

Sponser Andrew Spratt said: “The hospitality industry in Northern Ireland provides around £1.1bn to the local economy with 45,000 people employed and we are delighted to sponsor an award like this, especially within the hotel sector where we have such a focus in terms of our own firm’s work.”

Hotel of the Year (up to 75 rooms)

Winner

David Morrison (right), general manager of the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel and Lodges, Enniskillen accepts the trophy from John Carr of category sponsor, Costa, Proud to Serve.

“We are over the moon to have won. We came in with a completely open mind tonight and we’re delighted.” – David Morrison, Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel and Lodges, Enniskillen.

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Andrew Leonard, Marine Hotel, Ballycastle; Paula Keane, Ivanhoe Hotel, Carryduff; John Carr from sponsor, Costa, Proud to Serve and Ciaran O’Neill from the Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry.

What the judges said: “It was a real treat to stay in this hotel. Staff were friendly, helpful and proactive throughout our visit creating a memorable guest experience in all respects.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner

Veteran hotelier, Patsy O’Kane, former owner of the Beech Hill hotel in Derry-Londonderry is pictured with her award. Included are Bill Penton, awards organiser, Meagan Green and Gareth Devlin from category sponsor, Coca-Cola.

Mixologist of the Year

Winner

Seamus Og Birt, Me & Mrs Jones, Portstewart, is pictured with Mark Troughto of category sponsor, Troughton’s Premium Mixers.

“Honestly, I’m absolutely blown away. A huge thank you to LCN for helping us expand the hospitality industry out of Belfast and into new areas.” – Seamus Og Birt, Me & Mrs Jones, Portstewart

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Hanna Ferris, The Sagart Kitchen and Bar; Jonathan Waterworth, The Goat’s Toe; Mark Troughton from category sponsor, Troughton’s Premium Mixers and Roisin McErlean, The Tipsy Bird, Belfast.

Sponsor Mark Troughton commented: “It’s great to sponsor the award because it introduces our new range of mixers to a wider community that we wouldn’t normally get to. Having all the industry in one place allows us to promote our products to a wider audience.”

Newcomer of the Year

Winner

Events co-organiser, Wynn Penton, is pictured with Stephen Meldrum (centre), general manager at The Grand Central Hotel and Stephen Murphy from category sponsor, Old Carrick Mill Distillery.

“We’re really delighted for the team and all the hard work they have put in over the last year. There’s been a real team effort from everyone involved and I’m delighted to be here this evening.” – Stephen Meldrum, Grand Central Hotel, Belfast

Finalists 

(L-R): Pictured are Taroon Missry, Titanic Hotel, Belfast; Erica Lutzman, Lighthouse Bistro, Whitehead; Ben Sherwood, Wolf and Devour Burger Bar, Belfast; Wynn Penton, Awards co-organiser; Stephen Murpjhy, category sponsor, Old Carrick Mill Distillery; Ryan Tinsley, The Jailhouse, Belfast; David Cummings, Pug Ugly’s, Belfast; Andrea Smyth, Panama, Belfast and Niamh Ledgewood, Helena’s Coffee Shop and Bistro, Maghera.

The judges said: “The location and surroundings, both externally and internally, were stunning. The ambiance was also perfect, providing a relaxing and suitably luxurious experience.”

Nightclub of the Year

Winner

Peter McGill and Mark McIlrath from Origin, Ballymena, accept the winner’s trophy from Barry Phillips of category sponsor, Enva.

“It feels amazing to have won. I didn’t expect it at all so I’m really chuffed, but without our staff, we would not have been nominated for this.” – Mark McIlrath, Origin, Ballymena.

Finalists

Pictured are Patrick Fegan, 14, Belfast; Glen McShane, Cobbles, Newry; Barry Phillips from category sponsor, Enva and Paige Morgan, Voodoo, Belfast.

Sponsor Barry Phillips from Enva said: “It’s good to support the hospitality industry, one of the biggest industries for creating jobs here in Northern Ireland. We’re delighted to be here tonight and offer our congratulations to Origin nightclub.”

Outside Space of the Year

Winner

Mark Craig and Connor Martin of The Perch Rooftop Bar are pictured with Gareth Rowell of category sponsor, BPJ Group.

“We’re ecstatic! In some ways, The Perch invented the outdoor space so it’s good to know we’re still being recognised for it.” – Mark Craig, The Perch Rooftop Bar, Belfast

Finalists

Pictured are Adam Stockman, The Ivory Restaurant, Belfast; Lyndsay McFall, Sleepy Hollow Restaurant, Newtownabbey; Gareth Rowell, from category sponsor, BPJ Group; Caroline Reynolds, Number 7 Duke Street, Warrenpoint and Peter McGill, Origin, Ballymena.

Sponsor Gareth Rowell commented: “We’re very proud to sponsor Outside Space of the Year because we work so closely with the hospitality industry as a joinery firm fitting out hotels, restaurants, and bars.”

Outstanding Customer Service

Winner

Terry McCartney (left) from category sponsor, Tourism NI, presents Karlo Taylor of The Chelsea with the trophy.

“We are just really proud of the team and how hard they’ve worked over the past five years at The Chelsea. We’ve won this award because we have a fantastic team who are really passionate about what they do.” – Karlo Taylor, The Chelsea, Belfast

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are David Gillmore, James Street, Belfast; Gary Laird, Vanilla Wine and Tapas, Newcastle; Terry McCartney, Tourism NI; Ciaran Breslin, Primrose, Derry-Londonderry and Sam Millan, The Mellon Country Inn, Omagh.

The judges said: “The service was impossible to fault.  Staff anticipated our every need without being obtrusive in any way. They were confident, well informed and attentive throughout the visit.  They created good rapport with customers and really made us feel welcome.”

Pub Food of the Year

Winner

Paul Dalrymple (Centre) from Billy Andy’s Bar and Restaurant in Larne is pictured receiving his award from Madeline Creaney of sponsor, Linencare. Included are Richard Hunter and John McConnell.

“We have been a finalist so many times, so it’s brilliant to win this year. Lots of hard work has gone in over the last 30 years and all of our staff are amazing; it’s very well deserved.” – Paul Dalrymple, Billy Andy’s, Larne

Finalists

Pictured are Sam McFadden, Head O The Road, Portadown; Stephen Law, McLarnon’s Ramble Inn, Antrim; Catriona Friel, Friel’s Bar and Restaurant, Swatragh; Madeline Creaney, sponsor; Keith Patterson, The Morning Star, Belfast and Helen Geneit, The Courthouse Bar, Lurgan.

Sponsor Madeline Creaney added: “The LCN Awards encourage entrepreneurship and recognise the hard work that those in the industry are doing so it’s an honour to be involved in an event like this and we hope to continue sponsoring it for a number of years to come.”

Pub of the Year

Winner

Stuart Hughes (centre) from The Stillhouse, Moira, is pictured receiving his award from Connor Magill of category sponsor, Tennenets NI. Included is Julie Ozturk from LCN magazine.

“I am absolutely delighted because we’re only a year-and-a-half old. It’s been a great night and we’re over the moon to win.” – Stuart Hughes, The Stillhouse, Moira

Finalists 

(L-R): Pictured are Gareth McGuinness, The Courthouse Bar; Julie Ozturk, LCN magazine; Nathan Evans, Dorman’s Bar; Connor Magill, Tennents NI, category sponsor; Kerri McCanny, Pat’s Bar; Tomas Loughran, The Bridge Bar; Sophie McCloy, Head O The Road and Eugene and Carol McKenna, The Grouse.

Sponsor Connor Magill said: “Pub of the Year is a very prestigious award every year in the licensed trade and as far as we’re concerned, it probably is the big one. The competition, like all other categories, is very high and The Stillhouse is a very worthy winner.”

Restaurant of the Year

Winner

Pictured are Alan Slater from category sponsor, Lynas Foodservice with David Gillmore, James Street and Bill Penton, Awards co-organiser.

“Last year, we won an LCN Award as James Street South and then we had the refurbishment and have won as James Street. They’re two different restaurants but this is the second time we’ve won as the same company, which is fantastic.” – David Gillmore, James Street, Belfast.

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured are Nicola McLarnon, Saphyre; Rachel Brown, Grand Central Hotel; Gary Laird, Vanilla Wine & Tapas; Fiona Davey, Brunel’s Restaurant; Alan Slater from category sponsor, Lynas Foodservice; Stephen Jennis, Curran’s Seafood Steakhouse; Beth McAvoy, Whistledown Hotel and Shane Gibson, The River Room at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort.

The judges said: “The food was superb  –   the innovative menu used  quality ingredients to create exceptional flavours and textures. The presentation of the food was exquisite and staff provided flawless service.”

Style Bar of the Year

Winner

Zoe Watson (centre) accepts the trophy from Andrew Schnell of category sponsor, Bibendum. Included is Carolyn Sharp, also Bibendum.

“It’s great to be recognised for what we’ve done. We only opened last July, so the staff will be really proud. Everyone is really eager to find out how they’ve performed so I’m sure when we send a text round to the whole group now, they’ll be really pleased.” – Zoe Watson, The Jailhouse, Belfast

Finalists

(L-R): Pictured here is Andrew Schnell from category sponsor, Bibendum; Nathan Evans, Mary’s Bar, Magherafelt; Bronagh Hoynes, The Tipsy Bird, Belfast; Eugene Maguire, The Bank Bar, Newry and Carolyn Sharp, Bibendum

The judges said: “Mystery shoppers loved the décor and character of this bar – a quirky combination of new and old.  An outstanding variety of gins and whiskies, excellent staff and a clever cocktail menu made this winner a favourite.”

Tourist Pub of the Year

Winner

Catriona Friel (left) of Friel’s Bar and Restaurant, Swatragh is pictured with Brenda Courtney from category sponsor, NI Visitors’ Journal.

“We are delighted to have won this evening. We’re really surprised but the whole team has put in so much effort and we’re really pleased.” – Catriona Friel, Friel’s Bar and Restaurant, Swatragh.

Finalists

Pictured are the finalists, Jody Waterworth, Pier 36, Donaghadee; Aileen Ryan, McHugh’s, Belfast; Brenda Courtney from sponsor, NI Visitors’ Journal; Trevor Orr, Harbour Inn, Annalong and Joseph Carolan, Sean Og’s, Omagh.

The judges said: “The winner of this award has created the authenticity and charm of a traditional Irish pub which appeals to both locals and tourists, with a particular emphasis on traditional music, local drinks, great food and a warm welcome to all.”