The Cricketers Arms, which was boarded up for closure five years ago, has been named the best in the country after it was taken over by a postman with a passion for real ale.
They won the Pub Of The Year title from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), which praised its selection of 13 locally-sourced cask ales and up to 20 ciders in the summer.
The pub, in Peter Street, hosts regular beer festivals, quizzes, karaoke and other events and has opened a whiskey and gin bar. Under its ambitious owner, Andy Evans, plans are well advanced to build a microbrewery at the site. They also stock 100 gins!
Publican couple Andy Evans, 45, and Denise Evans, 41, defied the odds to turn around the ailing pub, which had been boarded up twice before.
Andy Evans, who was a postman for 23 years before buying the pub with the help of a business loan, admitted he had previously never pulled a pint in his life.
“We are over the moon to be named the top pub in the country after just a few short years of renovation,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can to make this a welcoming community pub and still have exciting developments ahead of us. We are very proud to be part of the cask ale scene and look forward to celebrating.”
Paul Ainsworth, from Camra said: “In less than five years, Andy and Denise have converted a boarded up pub on the brink of closure into a true destination pub for beer lovers across the country.
“What impressed me the most is that the Cricketers is a genuine community pub where people from all walks of life come together to socialise. It is a shining example of how a pub, which seems destined for closure, can have its fortunes turned around when in the right hands.”