A PUB boss said his bar was the best performing of its company’s 190 venues nationwide on New Year’s Eve.

The manager of The Bridgewater in Church Street hailed his best Christmas since the bar opened.

And New Year’s Eve figures officially recorded the bar as the second best-performing in the country, although manager Adam Hulme said he believed his was the best as those figures didn’t include the last hour of trading.

The Smith and Jones Pub is owned by The Bramwell Pub Company, which used to be the Barracuda Pub Group.

Mr Hulme, who has run the pub since it opened on the former Somerfield site in 2006, said he was delighted after a record-breaking year.

He said: “For me, this was our strongest year ever.

“We matched last year’s food covers, but with Christmas parties we did more on the drinks side. I noticed at parties people were dropping the food in favour of a bar tab.

“I was surprised we beat last year, which was very strong, considering how people seem to be struggling these days.”

Mr Hulme said for a small town bar the pub was doing very well.

He said: “I have been told that we were the second busiest of all 200 venues our chain operates.

“But we were open until 4am, and sales between 3am and 4am weren’t recorded as part of the figures.

“So in actual fact we were probably the busiest Bramwell bar in the UK. That is how well our little pub in little Darwen is doing.

“And with people coming in here and popping into other pubs in the town centre as well, it looks good for pubs in the town as a whole.”

On ‘Mad Friday’, the Friday before Christmas, Mr Hulme said head counts for people going into the pub surpassed 4,200 over the course of the night and were comfortably above 2,000 every other night around Christmas.

Rob Pitcher, operations and HR director for Bramwell said: “We are delighted with the performance of the Bridgewater, which is one of our best-performing sites within our 190-strong estate.

“The success of the pub can be attributed to the passion and commitment to high service and standards shown by Adam and his team, along with being activity involved within the community.”