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Macclesfield publican, Chris Carsons has become one of a handful of bar operators from throughout the country to make it through to the finals of the Great British Pub Awards.

Chris, who runs rum specialist bar, Rumba on Pickford Street, has beaten off stiff competition to become a finalist in the Best Spirits Bar and Best Turnaround category of the prestigious annual awards.

His achievement comes after two rounds of vigorous judging and is now one of just five other bars nationwide to have made it this far.  The Rumba will now be personally inspected by judges and one of their mixologists will attend a cocktail masterclass, hosted by Diageo, before the winner is announced on Thursday 7 September at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Commenting on the accolade, Chris said: “We are thrilled to have got this far in two categories and are looking forward to showing the judges what makes the Rumba so special. We’ve always been passionate about rum and launched the bar to bring this passion to the people.  We now offer a range of over 200 rums from all over the world and think nothing of getting on a plane to Dominica to source a new bottle if our customers want it.

“But, it’s not just about the cocktails – people come to us for the Rumba experience. We want to make it exciting and give our drinks real theatre.”

Special drinks include the Zombie, which is a mixture of white and dark rums, fresh lime, pineapple and a few other secret ingredients, finished with overproof Jamaican Rum and set on fire for the ultimate show stopper, to the Pina Colada which is made with coconut water from a freshly cracked open coconut, shipping in from Thailand, and then served back in a Rumba branded coconut for the best cocktail this side of the Carribean!

In 2016, the ‘Tiki’ themed bar had a major refurbishment with a Caribbean theme, including the addition of a new custom designed cocktail bar, fish tank, surfboard tables and real ‘Blowfish’ lightshades. The team also plans to introduce a Tequila Concept and a Cocktail Masterclass room together with an app, which will allow customers to pay at the table and pre-book booths.

Partnership Development Manager for Punch, Rick Rose-Coulthard, said: “The Great British Pub Awards is well known for having one of the most rigorous judging processes in the pub sector. Only the very best bars and pubs in the country get through to the final and I congratulate Chris and the team on this great achievement. It’s their passion for rum and creating something different that has got them this far and we hope it takes them all the way.”

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