Stranraer Pub Owner Delighted with Coveted Award

Stranraer pub owners are delighted to scoop the award for Wigtownshire Real Ale Pub of the Year for the 5th time.

Owners Billy Hodge and Sally Whorlow now find The Grapes Stranraer in the final stages of the competition for Ayrshire and Wigtownshire Real Ale Pub of the Year, up against The Weston Tavern Kilmaurs, The Twa Dugs West Kilbride and Glen Park Hotel Ayr.

At the presentation, Sally expressed her delight at winning the area pub of the year in what has been an extremely difficult 2 years in the licence trade.

The pub was built in 1862 and has only had five owners till now.

The original Grapes was where the old Clydesdale bank is. They made an offer they couldn’t refuse and the pub moved over to where it is now situated.

The first owner was ‘Flaps”Hannah, then Wally May, then David Hill who was owner for nearly 40yrs.Brian and Lesley Glen owned the pub for nearly 8yrs before Billy Hodge and Sally Whorlow took over the pub till now for 16yrs.Sally worked for 5yrs with Brian and Lesley.  The upstairs room adjacent to the ladies toilet was the first Cocktail Lounge in Stranraer.

The Pub was a coaching Inn where horses were brought in to get shoes repaired and fed n watered. The rooms upstairs were operated by a bell system for refreshments .The bell box is still in the bar.

The top of the bar is covered with an old aeroplane wing and one of the oldest things on the gantry is a hand made bottle catcher.

The public bar has never changed except for the open fireplace that was closed off to install gas central heating, The building is listed so the bar will always remain the same ,never been been painted. The  bar in the large upstairs lounge came from The Towans Hotel in Ayr which was near Prestwick airport many years ago.

They had to remove one of the upstairs windows to hoist it up in sections to the lounge. The pub and out buildings are one of the largest areas on the ordnance survey map in the town.

The Grapes has won Wigtownshire Real ale Pub of the Year 5 times and has been in the Good Beer Guide for a number of years since Billy and Sally have owned it.