REGULARS at a city centre bar have extra cause to raise a toast, after it won a prestigious award for the second consecutive year.

Varsity was named Durham City’s best bar and overall winner at the annual Best Bar None awards.

The Saddler Street venue also won both honours at last year’s awards.

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The scheme recognises venues that promote responsible drinking and work to cut alcohol related crime and disorder.

Following last year’s success, Varsity finished in the top six in the national competition.

This year’s award winners were handed out at a ceremony held at Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham.

Varsity’s assistant manager Ian Hanmore-Farrugia said: “It’s an excellent achievement and we’re very proud of ourselves.”

The night’s other Durham City winners were: Head of Steam (Best Pub); Loveshack (Best Nightclub); Inshanghai (Best Bar/Restaurant); Grey College (Best University Bar).

For Consett, the winners were: The Company Row (Best Pub and overall winner); Time Bar (Best Bar); Decades Nightclub (Best Nightclub).

For Chester-le-Street and Bishop Auckland, only overall prizes were awarded – to The Wicket Gate and Number 1 Market Place, respectively.

Carol Feenan, County Durham Best Bar None manager, said: “This year’s awards evening was a huge success and a fitting end to a very successful year for the schemes.

“A huge thank you goes out to all of the licensees for taking part again and helping to make our towns and city centre safer places to visit and enjoy at night.”

Chris Robinson, manager of No 1 Market Place in Bishop Auckland, said: “I am delighted with the award, we work very hard to ensure people drink responsibly here so it is very rewarding to have that recognised.”