VIDEO: Piries Bar in Horsham town centre named Bar of the Year

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It is the charming little bar that sits innocuously between the Carfax and Piries Place - and now it is the first ever West Sussex County Times Pub/Bar of the Year.

For around 25 years, Piries Bar has been among Horsham town centre’s most popular watering holes, the small wine bar proving that size certainly doesn’t matter.

JPCT 200115 S15031372x Horsham. Piries, Pub of the year -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150120-112717001

JPCT 200115 S15031372x Horsham. Piries, Pub of the year -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150120-112717001

And County Times readers voted to give their seal of approval to the independent bar that is one of the friendliest in the area.

It is that easy-going atmosphere that manager Ross Andrews believes makes the venue so special. He said: “We were thrilled that our customers had taken the time to vote for us.

“It is all about the welcome and the friendliness. You can go to any pub and sit and have a drink, or you can come here and we can chew your ear off about whatever you want.

“We always say it is one of the friendliest places you can go because you have to be - we are so close together!”

Staff member Dave Holmes noted the ‘good rapport’ between staff and customers, and Ross added the friendships between staff - as well as the bar’s ‘petite size’ - contribute to the sociable vibe.

Ross said: “We are all friends first and colleagues second.

“It is a place to meet friends and make friends. It is very rare to walk in and not know anyone and even rarer to leave still not knowing anyone.”

Initially located in a different part of Piries Place, Piries was built in the 16th century and lists a coffee shop, hair salon, and charity shop under its former guises.

Prior to its transition into a bar around 25 years ago, the current owner of the building purchased the site for a bargain £1.

Piries may not be Horsham’s worst-kept secret any longer, but Ross insisted he still meets customers that have never been to the bar before, and added he hopes to see more new faces through the door. The new year has brought new tables, seats and flooring to the building, and a relaunch of the food menu to include treats such as a cheese board, and food to complement wine is imminent.

Emma Angell, regional promotions and marketing manager for JP South, the West Sussex County Times’ parent company, said: “Piries Bar is a worthy winner of the West Sussex County Times’ Pub of the Year contest. It is a prize worth having, especially as it is voted for by the public and those people who have visited the pub.

“We were very pleased with the response which this competition received and anticipate a just as positive response to the competitions which we will run throughout 2015.”

The competition was launched last October when the West Sussex County Times asked its readers for nominations and then put those shortlisted to the public vote.