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The John Hewitt
2010 and going into 2011 has without any doubt been one of the darkest and most difficult times for the Hospitality industry and in particular the licensed trade. With continuing rising costs from manufactures and suppliers and the downturn in the economy in general, it is no surprise that many pubs and bars throughout Northern Ireland have had to reduce their business hours or at the worst close down, meaning the loss of jobs. The John Hewitt has battled through this and has once again proven to be amongst the best bars in Northern Ireland.
The John Hewitt continues to attract an unprecedented amount of positive publicity, both here at home and as far afield as New Zealand and America being highly recommended by travel writers from around the world. One quote in a tourist guide ‘The Best of Britain’ said “The John Hewitt, arguably among the finest bars in the whole of Great Britain & Northern Ireland and probably nowhere better to argue about it than over a pint here. The bar is now listed at number 11 in places to visit when in Belfast and is number 1 for places to go for nightlife in Belfast on the renowned Tripadvisor website.
The success of the last two ‘John Hewitt Great Northern Irish Beer Festivals’ will this year be made even better with the introduction of two new locally brewed ciders, one named ‘Temped’ brewed in Lisburn and the other a true Armagh cider named ‘Maddens Mellow’ both have already proved to be very popular with our customers. As always the bar still supports all the local micro brewers and promotes the fantastic work they do. The festival as also grown to showcase great local musical talent and wonderful local produce on our menu. On he downside and due to the economic climate we were very sad to lose the Premium German Beer ‘Bitburger’ but as always this was quickly remedied with the acquisition of another fine German Pils Beer ‘Krombacher’ and has already found many firm fans in the bar.
The John Hewitt still continues to attract nominations for all the major hospitality industry awards and this year has been exceptional, firstly by holding on to our Fairtrade Pub of the Year award for the 4th year running, Winning the award for the most ‘Innovative Pub of the Year’ at the Pubs of Ulster awards, runner up for Best Tourist Pub at the same awards and shortlisted for Pub of the Year a the Belfast Business Awards. The High Light was being nominated for no less than 4 awards at this years FATE awards and winning two of them, namely ‘Best Gastro Pub’, for the 2nd year running and for the first time General Manager Gerry White walked away with the award for ‘Best Front of House’, being nominated and winning these awards would not be possible without the dedicated and highly motivated staff of The John Hewitt, who work together as a excellent team, and provide the best of service and hospitality.
Festivals as always is a big part of The John Hewitt’s success story and we will as always continue our association and support of them. Again due to cut backs in support for the arts The John Hewitt, helped support the Belfast Film Festival and we look forward to supporting the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, The Open House Festival, The Belfast City Blues Festival and such similar if somewhat smaller events. We are also delighted to be one of the regular venues for a poetry reading event at the ‘Belfast Festival at Queens’.
A new initiative for the bar last year was to take part in the Belfast Bred Tour, a dramatic walking tour of the city’s cuisine from the time of the Titanic. The tour is done in association with Belfast City Council and Kabosh Theatre Company. The tour has proved so popular that we will be taking part again in 2011, infect the tour was so popular that it has been nominated for an award in this years N. I. Tourist Board, Tourism Awards.
The John Hewitt has now become renowned as one of Belfast’s best live music venues. To celebrate this two plaques have been put up on the wall of the stage commemorating two of the finest acts to play here “SeaSick Steve and Mumford & Sons, both of whom have went on to do much greater things, but up and coming local musicians and musicians from around the world still play a major role in the bars entertainment line up. A new idea now running very successfully in the bar is our Month of Sundays, Showcasing some of the best local live musicians and giving them a full months billing in the bar. Our other entertainment programme is still as popular as ever and continues to provide the bar with a very loyal following. The Art exhibitions also continue to be a superb asset to the bar, giving artists the chance to exhibit their work, were they might otherwise never have had a chance. It also creates an ever changing environment for both our patrons and the staff.
With an uncertain economic climate ahead, and what seems to be a long way off before things start to get better, it is still possible to say that the management and staff of The John Hewitt are confident that the success of the bar will continue to grow and grow. Many bars have fallen victim to the downturn, but as The John Hewitt provides the best of service and hospitality, has its passion for delivering quality entertainment and ensuring the best in customer satisfaction, we will always stand out from the crowd. Ensuring an exciting secure and safe venue to work and visit.
Support both financial and in kind has been given to The Bruiser Theatre Company, Ulster Cancer Foundation, Concern Worldwide, Open House Festival, Belfast Blues Festival, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast Film Festival, Festival of Fools, Trek Force Worldwide, I.C.T.U Youth, Catalyst Arts, Belfast Humanist Group, Eglantine Community Garden, Corryemeela, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Creative Writers Network, N.S.P.C.C, Belfast Kronk Boys Boxing Gym, Belfast Pride, Habitat for Humanity, H.I.V Support Centre, Amnesty International and many more both home and abroad.