ONE of Greenock's oldest pubs has been named the best in Inverclyde.

Publican Raymond Griffiths, who runs The Black Cat along with his daughter, says he was surprised and thrilled to find out about the award.

He received an email from the National Pub and Bar Awards.

Raymond, who will have leased the pub from Rosemount Taverns for two years in October, said: "We were told we have been named the best pub in Inverclyde.

"I was a bit taken aback because it came out of the blue, but I think it is great news."

The bar is one of 94 county winners listed across the UK.

Mr Griffiths said: "We are trying to do things with the pub - introduce quiz nights and Mr & Mrs quizzes on Valentine's Day.

"We're moving away from the working man's pub idea."

Raymond runs the pub with his daughter Stefanie and says trade is busy.

He said: "We have our regulars, so this award is good for customers and for the district and town centre and for us as well."

Pubs were chosen based on overall best practice across a number of operational categories.

Raymond is now gearing up for his red carpet moment at a glittering ceremony at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly in London on Wednesday May 22.

At the grand final, 15 regional winners will also be announced, as well as the overall National Pub & Bar of the Year.

Tristan O'Hana, editor of Pub & Bar magazine, which hosts the event, said: "From idyllic countryside pubs to inner city cocktail bars, this is the most eclectic and exciting industry in the world.

"It’s a privilege to help these businesses get the recognition they deserve.”