This category opens Monday 18th March at 10:00am and closes Sunday 28th April at 23:59pm

This award celebrates the key role of bars and pubs as part of the Scottish visitor’s memorable experience. Our licensed trade provides visitors with a wide variety of options, from traditional music and fayre by the fire to bespoke cocktails.

We are celebrating those offering an authentic, cultural experience with a warm welcome. Businesses should have sustainability at their heart and strive to support the local community.

Who Should Enter:
Any business which considers its main activity to be a bar or pub.

Entry Questions

Executive Summary
The purpose of the Executive Summary is to give judges a general overview and better understanding of your business. Although not an exhaustive list, some examples of the type of information judges will be looking for are listed below. This question is not scored and is for background information only. 

  • Types of services on offer
  • Size and purpose of your business
  • How long you have been operating 
  • Any other information you feel is relevant


1. Please demonstrate your approach to delivering exceptional visitor experiences. Please provide examples of what sets you apart from the competition.

You should provide clear evidence of activity and outcomes within the time period 1st May 2023 – 31st March 2024.

  • The attention to detail paid to all aspects of the bar/pub experience – from pre-arrival (digital presence and booking procedure) through to post-visit – to ensure all needs are proactively met and the experience is personalised for everyone
  • The unique aspects of your menu and drinks selection on which you receive most positive comments
  • The ways in which you intentionally bring a sense of place to the pub/bar – showcasing the Scottish larder or traditional Scottish music at its best 
  • Any training or development your team has undergone to provide consistent standards across their service and knowledge of the menu/drinks
  • Any examples of collaboration and partnership you may have with other high-quality suppliers and/or tourism providers to create an enhanced experience for your visitors


2. What actions are you currently undertaking to develop your business? What do you hope to achieve and how are you measuring success?  

You should provide clear evidence of current developments and how benefits will be monitored / measured, eg. through visitor feedback, increased revenue, target market statistics. Please cover any areas you think are relevant although you may wish to include aspects such as:

  • Plans for new and innovative products/services
  • New collaboration and/or partnership working
  • Intentionally targeting new markets or increasing footfall
  • Obtaining awards or accolades


3. Please demonstrate your business’ commitment to Responsible Tourism.

In line with the Outlook 2030 strategy’s ambition for sustainable and responsible growth, it is important that the tourism and events industry in Scotland continues to develop in a responsible way.  Please cover any of the four priority areas of Responsible Tourism where relevant, but you may wish to highlight:

  1. Supporting Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy
    E.g. Promote sustainable practices undertaken in your accommodation, e.g. reducing waste from packaging, reducing waste, recycling and upcycling

  2. Ensuring tourism and events in Scotland are inclusive
    E.g. providing for visitors with access requirements; ensure choice and range behind the bar caters for various dietary requirements, preferences and budgets

  3. Ensuring tourism and events contribute to thriving communities
    E.g. using local produce; showcasing local musicians; working with local businesses, craftspeople and suppliers; hiring local staff

  4. Supporting the protection and considerate enjoyment of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage
    E.g. Showcasing seasonality in drinks; promoting nearby visitor attractions and outdoor experiences; promoting or hosting traditional music; sharing the history of your pub/bar and local area



Scottish Thistle Awards
c/o VisitScotland
Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG
0131 472 2228


© Copyright Scottish Thistle Awards 2024