Gunwharf Quays pub nominated for prestigious industry award

The Old Customs House, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
The Old Customs House, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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An historic pub is celebrating after being nominated for yet another prestigious industry accolade.

The Old Customs House at Gunwharf Quays has a well-packed trophy cabinet after taking home three awards in the last 12 months.

Yesterday morning, the team at the seafront based pub were informed they have been shortlisted in the British Institute of Inkeepings awards for the BII Licencee of the Year 2018.

The Fullers owned establishment competed against 250 pubs before being shortlisted in the professional body’s final list of 12 nominees.

Manager Marc Duvauchelle and restaurant manager Emil Szoma both took up their posts at the pub three years ago.

Marc said: ‘In November last year we celebrated beating 400 companies to win Fuller’s Griffin Trophy, which named us the best in the country. What an honour.

‘We’re so excited to find that we’ve been shortlised for another award.’

At the Fullers award ceremony, the team also took home first prize in the Best Town /Local Pub category.

Marc said: ‘Starting at The Old Customs House was such an exciting project for me.

‘It has great outdoor space, 12 rooms and it’s a beautiful, grand building.

‘We had such potential to build on the food aspect, as previously the focus was mainly drinks led.

‘Now we provide fresh food and table service outside on our sun terrace.

‘In the last three years we have been building the pub while simultaneously building our team, who I am beyond proud of.

‘I also want to thank Fullers for always supporting our ideas. It’s really rewarding to be recognised.

Emil said: ‘We’ve received great news from BIAP. This is quite an achievement for us.

‘When Marc and I first started we established the standards we expected. Slowly we’ve expanded our food offerings, garden and sun terrace, down by the canal.

‘This has helped to drive customers to us. When you concentrate on the hospitality side, everything else follows.

‘We want to offer an award winning experience, whether a customer has popped in for a coffee, quiet pint, or birthday.

‘In business terms, 2017 was our best year. We’re very grateful because we know things are tough out there in the pub trade.

‘We had a vision and we went for it. It’s sad to see other businesses not doing so well but you have to move with the times and find the areas you can capitalise on. Whether we’re having a busy day or a quiet day, we’ll always be consistent with our service.

‘Whenever we got a positive comment, it’s always about how friendly and engaging the team has been throughout the customer journey.

‘That, amongst other things, is what keeps the customers coming back.’