Pub flushed with success after toilets take loo title

THEY tend to range from the unpleasant to the downright repugnant.

But one city bar is setting a new standard for pub toilets after being voted the best in Scotland.

The Alexander Graham Bell on George Street, which opened in June, triumphed in the Loo of the Year awards both for the design and cleanliness of its bathrooms.

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Revolting lavatories have been the backdrop for memorable scenes in television programmes and films, not least in city film Trainspotting's "worst toilet in Scotland" clip.

But manager Philip Weddle said a change in culture over the years has placed more importance of lavatory cleanliness.

"There's more of a family feel now and certainly with more bars geared towards food, hygiene in the toilets is incredibly more important than it would have been 30 or 40 years ago," he said.

"In fact, a lot of people who come in for lunch or dinner would judge a pub's general cleanliness by the toilets, and I think that's usually a fairly good measure."

JD Wetherspoon, which owns the pub, nominated the bar among hundreds across Scotland to compete for the prize in the pub category.

"Mystery shoppers" then visited each establishment for spot checks to make sure the facilities were up to scratch round-the-clock.

Mr Weddle, who has worked in the industry for 12 years, said: "We have them checked every half an hour and when we opened the pub we saw it as a good opportunity to redesign them and make them brand new.

"It can be tough to maintain, especially when it gets busy at the weekend, but fortunately we've got dedicated staff. It can also act as a good security measure to constantly have the bathrooms checked."

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The pub, named after the famous inventor of the telephone, will be presented with a trophy in due course.

Mr Weddle added: "It's nice to win anything and we're pleased to have been recognised in this way because it's an important area."

It seems exemplary toilet hygiene follows Mr Weddle around, as his previous pub, The Blacksmith's Forge in Dalkeith, won the same prize two years ago.

It is the 23rd time the awards, which are aimed at driving up the standards of all public toilets, have been run.