IT WAS a successful evening for Ayrshire publicans and bar owners at The Scottish Bar and Pub Awards last week.

A number of venues in our area picked up gongs in a variety of categories, with one being named Restaurant of the Year.

The Scottish Bar and Pub Awards (formerly the DRAM Awards) are known in Scotland as the Oscars of the licensed trade.

The awards, now in their 26th year, are Scotland’s longest running licensed trade awards. Venues from all over the country compete against one another to be declared the best in their category.

This year’s winners were announced on Tuesday, September 7 in a ceremony at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel.

The Fox and Willow in Ayr were named the Restaurant of the Year. Husband and wife team Allan and Lauren Low run the business.

Lauren said: “We feel so proud and privileged to be crowned the best restaurant in Scotland. It was such a shock and we really didn’t think we would win.

“Our full team, kitchen and front of house, have been putting in serious hours and have worked so incredibly hard over the last year.”

She added: “This recognition means we keep going. We keep doing what we are doing while continuously trying to think outside of the box and professionally develop.

“It is very important to Allan and me that we continuously try to better ourselves and go out of our comfort zone. We wouldn’t like to give too much away, as life happens and can change plans, but know that we do have plans - big and small. Each one will make us bigger and better.

“We will always strive for success and will implement our core values with whatever we do.”

The Buf in Prestwick scooped the Best or Most Improved Outside Area. And Buzzworks venue the Lido in Troon won Cocktail Bar of the Year.

Further afield, in North Ayrshire, the Coast Bar and Restaurant at the Gailes Hotel in Irvine won New Bar of the Year.