Meet the GBPA nominees: Best Entertainment Pub

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Great British Pub Awards 2017: The winners will be revealed at the Hilton on Park lane on 7 September
Great British Pub Awards 2017: The winners will be revealed at the Hilton on Park lane on 7 September

Related tags: Pub, Music

Next in our previews of each of the 100+ finalists in this year’s John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards is the Best Entertainment Pub category.

This category seeks to recognise pubs whose entertainment offer has been a core part of their business success in the past year.

Don’t forget you can check out the nominees for Best Community pub here​, Best Beer Bar/Pub here​ and Best Cider Bar/Pub here​.

The Anchor Inn, Wingham, Kent

When half your revenue comes from events it’s no surprise the list of them is as long as your arm. With live music throughout the weekend covering genres from soul and funk to dance, as well as ad hoc midweek nights with touring artists, The Anchor offers a broad range of options. The site also boasts its own Arts Centre, where it holds concerts about three times a month. The amusingly named Anchor Twanchors night is the pub’s monthly acoustic jam for those who prefer a little less electricity with their listening. And once a year the pub hosts its three-day Woodnestock Music Festival.

With regular quizzes, darts meetings, petanque, dance and ukulele clubs and charity poker nights, the pub capitalises on its full list of events by encouraging people to eat before the show, offering combined food and entertainment deals, and an early food service.

Chaplin’s & the Cellar Bar, Bournemouth

Arts and entertainment run through this pub like words through a stick of rock. Owner Harry Secombe and his Boscombe-based pub are huge supporters of the local arts scene, putting
more than £50,000 into the arts community every year.

Entertainment is provided seven days a week at the venue, including live music, poetry, theatre and comedy. With a rostrum of live-music events too long to list, Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar has carved out a niche for itself in the surrounding area as well as attracting visitors from far and wide. In a modern twist, it’s experimenting with live streaming of performances on internet radio once a month. Strong connections with the local university has also helped, with arts and music students taking the opportunity to put on events.

O’Sheas Irish Bar, Manchester

Irish bars often have a strong reputation when it comes to live music, and O’Sheas Irish Bar in Manchester is no exception  –  great music is front and centre when it comes to the pub’s operations.

With more than 21 years of experience, the pub is able to draw on a strong and solid network of musical acts to ensure its roster of live entertainment proves a
good draw for customers.

And it’s not just local acts that have graced the stage at O’Sheas – famous Irish bands ranging from The Pogues to The Chieftans have all played at the pub.

While O’Sheas has a great line-up to draw on, its team still invests considerable time, energy and money in scouting for fresh new talents at other venues and open-mike nights, both
within the city and further afield in Ireland.

Rendezvous, Weymouth

Nine years of committed hard work from the team behind Rendezvous into driving its events and festivals have helped create a unique operation that is going to prove hard to match. This is a pub that celebrated diversity in its entertainment, from DJs and karaoke to live bands, quizzes and family fun days – there’s little the business does not do or cater for.

Taking events out of the pub, the business has built a hugely successful operation around its music festivals, which it runs on five weekends a year. More than 4,000 people visited the event last year, which the pub claims makes it one of Dorset’s most talked-about festivals. The five festivals helped generate more than £300,000 worth of extra turnover and continue to go from strength to strength, providing welcome boosts to other businesses in the area as well.

Sup & Chow, Cheltenham

Entertainment is a major draw for this Cheltenham-based operation, with a wide rostrum of different events staged throughout the month.

With live jazz performances, bands, DJs, a resident artist,  popular weekly pub quiz and open-mike comedy nights, there’s something to suit all tastes at Sup & Chow.

With plans to extend licensing hours in hand, the pub is hoping to tap into later night-music offers to keep sports fans entertained following matches
at the weekend.

Local talent is encouraged and nurtured by the business, and one of the staff has even branched out and created his own talent agency, which the pub is now able to tap into when looking for new performers.

Smoke & Mirrors, Bristol

Unlike the pub’s name, there’s no smoke and mirrors involved when it comes to succeeding at live entertainment – this is a pub that has found a real niche with a strong focus on comedy and magic events. With five in-house resident magicians on hand, the pub is a strong draw for lovers of magic, and also plays host to visiting magicians.

On the comedy front, the business has attracted some top names over the years, including Alan Carr, Russell Howard and John Richardson, to name a few.

Weekly comedy and magic shows have helped put
this pub on the map, and judges will be looking closely to see what else they might have up their sleeves.

Tickets for the Great British Pub Awards can be bought by phoning 01293 846508. For more information about the event visit its dedicated website.

Related topics: Entertainment

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