SPIRITS are high at the Commercial Inn as they move another step closer to being crowned Scotland's Pub of the Year.

The Dunfermline establishment has been announced as the regional winner for Edinburgh, South-East Scotland, and Northern Ireland in the Scotland and Northern Ireland Pub of the Year awards.

Andrew Black, who owns the Douglas Street favourite, called the achievement a "stepping stone" as he looks forward to the next round.

"We are guaranteed at least third place," he explained, "judging will take place over the next six weeks.

"The judges will come in but we will have no idea who they are. We just need to focus on what we do, which is good service and selling high-quality beers.

"We are very hopeful – it is a big ask and I am chuffed about where the team has got us."

In March, the Press reported that the bar had been named as Fife's 'Pub of the Year' by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

That prize saw them nominated for the regional award, which sees them through to the final stage.

Despite the looming visits from judges disguised as punters, Andrew says his staff are taking the pressure in their stride.

"The staff are quite easy with it," he said, "they don't need to be stressed, we are all just excited and happy.

"We are always bringing in new suppliers and work with local breweries.

"We have started doing cask cider for summer – we will have a different one every week – all proper Devon ciders."

The winner of the coveted award will be announced later this summer.