Awards success for Cheers as venue plans new development

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Cheers Cafe Bar and Tavern in Fraserburgh has been successful in once again reaching a national industry awards final.

Members of Cheers Bar’s staff are heading down to the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow on Thursday, March 5, for the Scottish Thistle awards having reached the final of the ‘Friendliest Bar in Scotland’ category.

The awards are supported by several organisations including the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), VisitScotland and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTN).

The awards are the highlight of a three-day, six-event ‘Signature Program’ relating to tourism held at the Crowne Plaza from March 3-5. The events and awards are attended by key figures in the tourism sector.

Cheers Cafe Bar has won numerous national awards which have brought the venue considerable attention and resulted in several of the organising bodies inviting the popular bar to enter.

Commenting, Cheers proprietor Dennis Forsyth said: “We were quite surprised to be nominated as it’s usually bar trade type awards we are invited to enter.

“These ones are massive, covering a wide range of businesses in the tourism sector. We were delighted to take up the offer to enter and even more so when we made it to the regional North East and Tayside final at the Perth Race Course towards the end of last year.

“We won the regional award and now look forward to an incredible night in Glasgow, which apparently is a great celebration of the Scottish Tourism Trade!”

The nomination follows Cheers Bar’s success last year when the venue won the Scotland and Northern England region title of the Great British Pub Awards in the Best Spirits Category and secured second place in the final with a highly commended merit.

Dennis commented: “We’ve a great range of spirits - over 600 different kinds - which really impressed the judges, but we felt there was much more room for improvement.”

Several new drinks menus are to be created including vodka/gin, whisky, speciality spirits and cocktails. These will come with descriptions of the spirits and how best to drink them.

To help promote the spirits, four of the bar’s staff, including Dennis, attended the premier training school in Scotland for the drinks trade, The Tennents Training Academy in Glasgow, recently.

They undertook the ‘City and Guilds Professional Bar Tending course’ and specialised in cocktails and spirits. The three-day intensive course included written and practical exams.

Between them the staff gained three distinctions and a merit in the exams.

In addition to its recent awards and training success, Cheers Cafe Bar is also continuing to improve its facilities.

Cheers purchased the old ‘Light Bite Cafe’ site on High Street last year with plans to incorporate it into their existing premises.

The old shop is set to be transformed into a coffee shop and wine bar with five additional en-suite bedrooms to add to the existing six rooms in Cheers Tavern.

A conservatory will be built at the rear and also a canopied patio garden.

The premises will be available as a private function suite for parties or a ‘go to’ bar at the weekends. Through the week the patio will be used as a children’s play area.

The new premises will allow access from the High Street into the main beer garden at Cheers and create a large ‘shop window’, as the bar currently only has a small entrance accessed by a narrow lane.

Speaking to the Fraserburgh Herald about his plans, Dennis said: “We are finalising plans on that project. It’s easily the biggest challenge we’ve taken on since we started.”

“Often people can walk past our entrance and not notice we are here, so the new large entrance on High Street will be a great benefit.”

“We’ve had tremendous support and feedback from the public about this project. Hopefully we won’t disappoint them and continue to be an asset and an attraction to the town centre for both locals and visitors alike.”

Work on this new development is anticipated to start sometime this year.