Great British Pub Awards 2014 winner buys two new pubs

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

The Bucknalls: Becoming multiple operators
The Bucknalls: Becoming multiple operators

Related tags: Restaurant, Public house

The team behind the Best Food Pub in the Yorkshire, North East & Scotland category at the PMA’s Great British Pub Awards 2014 have bought two new sites in Fife.

Graham and Rachel Bucknall, who run the Bridge Inn in Ratho, near Edinburgh, have acquired the Ship Inn and the Golf Tavern, both in Elie, for an undisclosed figure.

Last month, the Bridge Inn was also awarded the Best Pub in Scotland at the AA Hospitality Awards.

The couple will refurbish both of the new properties, and plan to add bedrooms to the Ship Inn. They are also keen to develop links with local food and drink producers.

Foodie haven

Having visited the town for more than 40 years, Graham Bucknall – a regular member of the Ship’s cricket team – said Elie is already recognised as something of a “foodie haven”. He explained that they want to add to that, boosting growth by appealing to locals and visitors alike.

He said: “It is a wonderful place to live, work and visit so we’re thrilled to be taking over two such outstanding businesses.

“With Fife’s strength in local food and drink, we’re looking forward to working with local farmers and producers to develop the menus.”

Bucknall believed that they had “great ideas” for both places and looked forward to “working and talking with” all of the regular customers about their plans before putting them into place.

He added: “It will take time, but we hope by next Easter people will start to see some exciting changes.”

Previous owners

The Ship Inn and the Golf Tavern were previously owned by Richard and Jill Phillip. The Bucknalls took over the Bridge Inn in 2010. The pub famously has a restaurant barge, which offers lunch, afternoon tea or dinner on board as well as weekend cruises along the Union Canal.

On winning Best Pub in Scotland at the AA Hospitality Awards, judges praised the Bucknalls for their “unswerving commitment to customer service”.

The Bridge Inn has also been awarded an AA Rosette, as well as being shortlisted for the CIS Pub Excellence Award 2014 and the Waitrose Food and Drink Restaurant of The Year Award 2015.

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