Freemasons at Wiswell tops Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Pubs 2016

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Chef patron Steven Smith: win is "massive seal of approval"
Chef patron Steven Smith: win is "massive seal of approval"

Related tags Good food guide Public house Chef Inn

The Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire, has come top of the Good Food Guide's Top 50 Pubs for the second year in a row.

Foodie heavyweights Tom Kerridge and Stephen Harris’ pubs were beaten to the top spot, with Kerridge's double-Michelin starred Marlow pub the Hand & Flowers and Top 50 Gastropubs winner Stephen Harris’ the Sportsman, Kent, coming respectively second and third.

Elizabeth Carter, editor of the Good Food Guide, said: "There's no doubt that pubs and inns have been one of the most significant culinary movements of the last decade, and it's a trend that shows no sign of abating.

"Premier league pub restaurants are currently dominating the rural eating out scene. And with no shortage of fine dining chefs keen to join the club the bar is continually being raised for pubs in this country.

Seal of approval

Steven Smith, chef patron of the Freemasons at Wiswell​ said: "It's excellent - the fact that we were number one both years feels like a massive seal of approval.

"We're quite a young business, we're up in Lancashire and I always find it a bit harder to get my name out there so to achieve something like this is very special. To win it twice really confirms that it just wasn't a fluke."

Josh Eggleton's acclaimed Somerset pub the Pony & Trap climbed twenty places up the list from 25th to fifth. 

One to watch

Michelin-starred London chef and restaurateur Tom Sellers’ pub the Lickfold Inn, West Sussex, came sixth in the list and was named Best New Pub.

Carter said: "First off, [the Lickfold Inn] is a proper pub - rather amazingly as the owner is Tom Sellers.

"There's a rustic bar with real ales, real fire, snacks. But head upstairs to the restaurant and you'll find two smart co-joined dining rooms where inspiring culinary adventures awaits. Here, the cooking is very, very good. Presentation is glorious in the modern manner - precise, layered and not too tricky."

Sellers said the win was a credit to the hard work of head chef Graham Squire and the rest of the Lickfold Inn's staff.

The Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Pubs:

1. Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire 

2. The Hand & Flowers, Buckinghamshire 

3. The Sportsman, Kent 

4. Red Lion, East Chisenbury, Wiltshire 

5. The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset 

6. The Lickfold Inn, Sussex 

7. The Woodspeen, Berkshire 

8. The Ancrum Cross Keys, Borders, Scotland 

9. The Pipe and Glass Inn, Yorkshire

10. The Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire

11. The Coach, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

12. The Butcher’s Arms, Eldersfield, Glos

13. The Treby Arms, Devon

14. The Cross at Kenilworth, Warwickshire

15. The White Oak, Cookham, Berkshire

16. The Hardwick, Abergavenny

17. The Star Inn, Harome, Yorkshire 

18. The Stagg Inn, Titley, Herefordshire

19. The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London

20. The Plough, Bolnhurst, Bedfordshire

21. The Plough Inn, Longparish, Hampshire

22. The Hinds Head, Berkshire

23. The Nut Tree Inn, Oxfordshire

24. The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon

25. The Broad Chare, Tyne & Wear 

26. The Miller of Mansfield, Berkshire

27. The Wellington Arms, Baughurst, Hampshire

28. The Falcon Inn, Withernwick, Yorkshire

29. The Lamb Inn, Crawley, Oxfordshire

30. The Springer Spaniel, Cornwall

31. The Star Inn, Sparsholt, Oxfordshire

32. The Felin Fach Griffin, Powys

33. The Duke of Cumberland Arms, West Sussex

34. The Purefoy Arms, Hampshire

35. The Duke of York Inn, Grindleton, Lancashire

36. The Kinmel Arms, Conwy

37. The Richmond Arms, West Ashling, West Sussex

38. The Five Alls, Oxfordshire

39. The New Inn, Great Limber, Lincolnshire

40. The General Tarleton, Yorkshire 

41. The White Hart, Lydgate, Greater Manchester

42. The Sun Inn, Dedham, Essex 

43. The Bay Horse, Hurworth-on-Tees, Durham 

44. The Kingham Plough, Oxfordshire 

45. The Square and Compasses, Essex

46. The Star at Sancton, Yorkshire

47. Bunch of Grapes, Glamorgan

48. Beckford Arms, Wiltshire

49. Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, Gloucestershire

50. The Camberwell Arms, London

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