Clare Johnston of The Railway Arms is the toast of the town, having been crowned Northern Ireland’s Best Bar Person at Pubs of Ulster’s Pub of the Year Awards 2014.
Judges selected Clare as the worthy winner after noting how she demonstrated “exceptional industry expertise and professionalism”.
They were particularly impressed by her “attention to detail, innovation and continuous drive to reinvent what she offers to her customers”, describing her as having ‘a big presence and a big heart”.
Clare dedicated the win to her parents Hugh and May Johnston and thanked her staff: “I am lucky to be surrounded by a great team who are all so hardworking, dedicated and supportive; they helped to make this award win possible.”
Clare told The Times that she ‘grew up’ in the bar locals call ‘Johnston’s’. “This place is like a second home to me,” she joked.
“My family have owned the bar now for forty years, so it was lovely for my parents that I won the award. I took a year out of nursing after my brother Sean went to America to help run things, and I have been here ever since,” she joked.
“It really nice to do a job that you love, we have a great clientele here, there has been a great buzz around the place.”
Clare also paid tribute to Barry White, who started a facebook campaign encouraging locals to nominate her for the award.
The Coleraine woman wasn’t the only one celebrating on the night, Willie Gregg of The Harbour Bar in Portrush was a runner up in the ‘Best Bar Person’ category, and The Cellar Bar took runner up for the ‘Best Charity Event’, Kiwi’s Brew Bar was runner up in the ‘Best New’ category.