A PUB in Greenock is raising the bar after being named the best in Inverclyde and landing a place in the UK finals.

Staff at The James Watt are toasting success in The National Pub & Bar Awards 2018.

The Cathcart Street licensed premises has been named tops in Inverclyde and is now in the running for one of 15 regional prizes and the overall honour.

Staff from the JD Wetherspoon pub initially thought their win was a practical joke and were delighted when they found out it was for real.

Julie Alexander, shift manager, said: "At first we thought it was a wind-up.

"It's good for a pub in Inverclyde to be recognised.

"Donna Walker, the overall pub manager, moved from Fort William to take over here so it's a boost for her and all the staff.

"It's good to see the hard work does pay off."

The UK awards recognises the best pubs and bars in cities, towns and villages across Britain and The James Watt is one of 94 county winners.

Representatives from 'The Jimmy' will pick up their Inverclyde accolade and find out their fate in the other categories at a red carpet celebration in London on May 23.

Julie, who is from Greenock and lives in Port Glasgow, believes the friendly and welcoming atmosphere is a big part of the success of the busy town centre bar and restaurant.

She said: "One of the key things is we are a family-oriented pub.

"We have mums that work here too and we welcome families.

"The James Watt also seems to be a central point for people to meet up, we get a lot of wedding parties, football fans and just those who come in for a conversation, a drink and to enjoy themselves.

"A lot of the staff, like myself, have been here a while so it's great recognition for us and also the new-starts, it's good for them to be coming into a pub with an award.

"If we don't win anything else, to get this award is really good and it's all thanks to the staff and our regular customers."