The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire, bowled judges over with its inspired food, attention to detail, excellent service and its warm and welcoming environment.
Judges also mentioned the pub’s potential for growth for the future, and how they expect to see even bigger and better things from this award-winning pub.
The Boat chef-patron Liam Dillon said: “It feels awesome, amazing actually. A lot of hard work has gone into the pub and taking it everywhere I wanted to take it.
“It means a lot to be a part of these celebration, given the calibre of the room – there are Michelin stars everywhere. It is very nice.
“It is very important [to win] because of what we are trying to achieve. The recognition is brilliant. Obviously as small businesses, which is effectively what we are, it puts us on the map and helps us gain reservations, which ultimately, when you strip it all back, [is what] you need to keep the business going.”
Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs editor Nicholas Robinson said: “The Boat Inn is a stunning pub that has a wealth of talent front and back of house.
“The gastropub’s food and drink offering covers all bases, attracting a glut of customers, making it a pub for anyone.”
Judges said the category had a record number of entries this year, all of which were strong contenders.
Robinson added: “This shows how vibrant the gastropub segment of the trade is and how aspirational the market is. Consumers are seeking high-quality dining experiences and our nimble trade is clearly capable of delivering that.”