Edinburgh and Borders pubs in final four of race to be crowned Rugby Pub of the Year

Two Scottish bars are in the final four vying to be crowned the nation’s best rugby pub after beating off stiff competition from scores of other venues around the UK.

Published 7th Mar 2019
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

The Queen's Arms in Edinburgh and the Queenshead Hotel, Kelso have made it to the finals of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens Rugby Pub of the Year competition.

They are set to go head to head with tough opposition from south of the border, with reigning title holders, the Merchants Inn, in Rugby, and Cheltenham’s Sup and Chow also in contention.

When asked to vote most rugby fans appeared to favour a special atmosphere in their local watering hole – as it’s the one thing that all the shortlisted venues have in common.

But which one will rise up to take the title Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby pub of the year 2019?

It’s over to rugby fans to choose the winner by voting in a poll on social media.

Douglas Hardie, president of Melrose Rugby Club said: “We launched this competition last year and it generated a fantastic response, but there have been even more entries this time round. It just goes to show how much rugby fans appreciate their local pubs and clubs pulling out all the stops to make match days special.

“Rugby fans all over the country have told us what they love about their locals and now that entries have been whittled down to a shortlist, it’s over to the public to choose the one that deserves to win the award.”

The four shortlisted venues are:

Merchants Inn, Rugby – “Yards from where the game began and the best atmosphere I’ve ever witnessed outside of a stadium. Great pub.”

Sup & Chow, Cheltenham – “Packed wall to wall during the Six Nations. The atmosphere is electric. Many people can’t get to the bar so staff table-serve too.”

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Queenshead Hotel, Kelso - “Great food,drink and banter. Best cod and chips I have had ever anywhere bar none!”

Queen's Arms, Edinburgh - “Great selection of food and drinks and always heaving when the rugby is on the TVs. Great atmosphere.”

Voting is free and easy – choose your winner by completing the simple voting form here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bestrugbypub2019

Or on the Melrose Sevens social media on Facebook and Twitter.

The winner will be announced later this month, and the pub that gains the most votes will receive the coveted title and an inscribed plaque to recognise the achievement.

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Manager James Reeve of inaugural title holders the Merchant’s Inn at Rugby said that last year's win had given the venue an "unexpected boost".

They were up against stiff competition from the Athletic Arms in Edinburgh, the Cabbage Patch at Twickenham, The Palmeira at Hove and the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in St Boswells in the Scottish Borders to be crowned winners in April last year.

James said: “First up it was a massive shock, but also an honour, to win this competition as we were up against some of the best in the business. We would love to retain the title, but we know the competition will be tough.”

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens takes place on Saturday, April 13 and is described as a "great day out for families, couples and rugby fans who enjoy fast and exhilarating sporting action".

Tickets for the event start from £10 for children, £15 for senior citizens and £20 for adults. Family tickets are also available for £50, admitting two adults and two children.

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Clubs from across Scotland will be competing against each other this year, alongside international teams from England, South Africa and USA, for their chance to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens Ladies Cup.

Fans who can't make it to Melrose, can watch the BBC coverage on BBC Scotland.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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