The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list is now in its 11th year and ranks the nation’s best gastropubs according to votes from more than 400 gastropub owners, food critics and other industry experts.
The capital’s only Michelin-starred gastropub, which retained the honour last year, is just one of seven London pubs on this year’s list, with half (25) coming from south of the city, 18 from the north, two in the Midlands and one in Wales.
Led by head chef Sally Abé, the Harwood Arms has risen by four places to the top spot, pushing former number one the Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, to second place.
Before winning, Abé said: “The Harwood Arms is a British gastropub where everything we serve is as British as possible.
“All our ingredients are sourced from as close to the pub as possible, including our fish, and we’ve got a real focus on game too, with the likes of muntjac deer being shot and brought from parklands around Berkshire, so it’s very much field-to-fork.
“In the past couple of years there’s been a shift away from super-fine dining. People want to come in big groups and have a beer, to relax and not worry about the rules. For that reason, I think the gastropub has a bright future.”
Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs editor Nicholas Robinson said it had taken 11 years for a London gastropub to make it to the top spot on the list.
He added: “I couldn’t think of a more worthy venue. To have the Harwood Arms, headed by Abé, represent the very best of gastropubs is amazing.
“She has an impeccable background and champions everything that is great about these unique businesses.”
The Highest New Entry for 2020 was Midlands gastropub the Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire, which entered the list at number 20, following the venue’s Newcomer of the Year award win at last year’s ceremony.
Chef-patron Liam Dillon said: “I wanted to open a gastropub. This site lends itself to being one because it’s a big pub.
“Growing up in Lichfield, there wasn’t a huge amount of high-quality restaurants in the area. That might sound a bit big headed, but that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
The 2020 Highest Climber was the Angel at Hetton in Skipton, North Yorkshire, which soared from 50 on last year’s list to number 11 this year.
Chef and owner Michael Wignall alongside his wife Johanna took the pub on two years ago and also secured a Michelin star in 2019.
Estrella Damm UK country manager James Healey said: "As the authentic premium beer of Barcelona, Estrella Damm is proud to continue to support the UK's gastropubs.
"This is the fourth year that we have sponsored the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards, an awards ceremony that celebrates high calibre ingredients, culinary excellence and innovation, qualities that are also shared by Estrella Damm. We want to extend our congratulations to all 50 gastropubs on the list and hope more pub-goers are lucky enough to experience their talent in 2020."
The top 10 gastropubs on the 2020 list are:
- The Harwood Arms, London
- The Sportsman, Kent
- The Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire
- The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire
- The Coach, Buckinghamshire
- The Compasses Inn, Kent
- The Parkers Arms, Lancashire
- The Pony & Trap, Bristol
- The White Swan at Fence, Lancashire
- The Guinea Grill, London
Visit www.top50gastropubs.com to see the full Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 list.