The Dukes celebrate double runner up spots at Best Bar None awards

L-R: James Thurlow Head Chef, Jo Carter Owner, John d'Este-Hoare of Leighton Buzzard Brewery, Sarah Smith Owner/Manager, Christian Sans Assistant Manager.
L-R: James Thurlow Head Chef, Jo Carter Owner, John d'Este-Hoare of Leighton Buzzard Brewery, Sarah Smith Owner/Manager, Christian Sans Assistant Manager.
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The landlady’s of The Dukes in Heath and Reach have been celebrating after their pub was named as runner up in two categories in the Best Bar None.

Sisters Jo Carter and Sarah Smith became landlady’s of the pub earlier this year and after a revamp they reopened the doors in April.

Eight months later they have been awarded runner up in The People’s Vote and the Best Bar None award categories.

The Best Bar None Awards 2016 is organised by Central Bedfordshire Council and covers venues across Leighton-Linslade, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, this year there were 22 accredited venues in the running.

When the sisters took on the pub they spent weeks giving it a makeover and received support from the local community, they wanted to give the village a pub.

They restored the open fire, refurbished the six bed and breakfast rooms and restored the pub garden.

Sarah Smith, the owner and manager at The Dukes, said: “We are delighted that we are Runners up in both The People’s Vote and the Best Bar None award categories.

“The Duke has only been open for eight months so we are really still in our infancy.

“We were delighted to have just achieved accreditation as this involves a visit from an independent assessor who inspects all of your policies and procedures related to things like best practise relating to public safety and relationships with licensing and local authorities and police etc.

“Our business is going from strength to strength and although we are receiving regular five star reviews from our customers, it’s also just lovely for us and for our staff to have received this official recognition.”

Councillor Brian Spurr praised the success of this year’s scheme, the third time Best Bar None has run in Central Bedfordshire.

He said: “It is amazing how quickly the profile of Best Bar None has been praised across Central Bedfordshire - and that is testament to everyone who has worked so hard to make it a success.

“The raised profile of the scheme is obvious too by the fact that more that 2,500 people voted for their favourite venues in the People’s Vote.

“Regardless of your favourite, though, visitors can have confidence visiting any of the accredited premises as they have undergone a rigorous assessment process to show that they are meeting consistently high standards.

“That’s everything from ensuring that visitors and staff feel safe and venues are proving great customer service to the basics like ensuring that toilets are clean and tables are clear of empty plates and glasses.

“So, Best Bar None is win-win for everyone: customers get a better night out, towns and cities become more vibrant places as people want to go there and that has economic benefits for pubs, clubs and leisure venues there.”