Kathleen raises bar to scoop national award

Licensee Kathleen Howard outside the Dickens Bar and Inn on Huntriss Row.
Licensee Kathleen Howard outside the Dickens Bar and Inn on Huntriss Row.

The Dickens Bar and Inn on Huntriss Row has beaten off competition from around the UK to be crowned Sports Pub of the Year in national awards run by Heineken-owned Star Pubs and Bars, which has 2,700 pubs.

Licensee Kathleen Howard received the coveted prize at a gala awards ceremony at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield from comedian and actor Ed Byrne.

The judges were bowled over by the warm welcome they received at the family run pub, not just by the staff but by locals too, who they noted ranged from mixed groups and couples to families and pensioners.

The quick attentive service, fun staff and excellent sound and vision all scored highly. Viewing is throughout the pub on six 42-inch high definition screens, a large projector screen and two booths with their own TVs seating six showing BT Sports and Sky.

For those watching sport at weekends, they enjoy the added benefit of live entertainment and dancing afterwards with the fun atmosphere continuing through to 1.30am.

The judges were impressed by how former travel agent Kathleen, with help from her family, took the pub from rock bottom to a thriving business and made it as one local told a judge ‘the place to watch live sports in Scarborough’.

A £250,000 refurbishment in 2016 kick-started the process. It saw the pub completely overhauled from top to toe, reconfigured and its name changed from The Pickwick Inn to The Dickens Bar and Inn.

Kathleen said: “Winning the award has put a smile on all of our faces. We’re thrilled. It is a real morale boost for staff to realise that what they do day in and day out is recognised.

“It makes everyone proud to work for The Dickens Bar and Inn and demonstrates that hard work does pay off.

“I believe you have to be passionate about what you do. So, thank you to staff and to our customers, who play their part in creating the fun and friendly atmosphere that helped us win the award.”

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs and Bars managing director said: “When it comes to watching live sports in a pub, it’s all about creating a fantastic atmosphere.

“Kathleen more than achieves this by recruiting and training the right staff to provide high levels of service and by creating a warm and welcoming environment that means people want to stay on when the sports over.

“She and her family have given the pub a new lease of life and made it a destination for sports and live entertainment in the centre of Scarborough.

“What’s more she’s tripled business at the pub since 2016 ensuring its long-term future. Many congratulations and best wishes for the future.”