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Emerson’s Taproom and Restaurant won the prize at the Hospitality New Zealand awards on Thursday night as well as the award for excellence in training and staff development. General manager Chris O’Leary said he was slightly surprised at the best bar win, but after 18 months’ hard work from the team it was "well deserved".
"Yeah, we celebrated afterwards. I’m feeling a bit dusty today," he said yesterday.
The team was hoping to win the training and staff development award, he said.
"We’ve really focused on service and our staff having great product knowledge they can pass on to customers. So we were really chuffed to get that."
They were told it was that service and staff knowledge which gave the bar the edge in winning the best bar prize, he said.
The bar in Anzac Ave opened on July 4, a few months after the first concoction was made at Emerson’s’s new brewery at the same premises.
The bar had not changed too much in its time, he said.
"Although there are always little tweaks to the menu, and new beers — so we won’t be resting on our laurels. It’s pretty hard to beat being the best, but there will always be little improvements."
The idea was for the taproom and restaurant to be the "spiritual home" for Emerson’s beers.
About 2000 people came through its doors every week and the number was steadily building, he said.
Venue manager Charlotte Janssen said the award was the result of hard work from staff who "put their heart and soul into it" every day.
Wanaka also cleaned up in the awards with Kika winning best restaurant and Edgewater being named best hotel.