Talented licensees were praised at the annual Star Awards, held at the Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire. Actor and comedian Joel Dommett hosted the event, which was attended by licensees and staff from 90 finalist pubs. Standards across the board were the best the judges had seen since the awards launched in 2012 and, with 2,500 pubs in the Star Pubs & Bars estate, the competition was intense.
Star MD Lawson Mountstevens said: “Pubgoers demand more than ever and the winners and finalists demonstrate how licensees are stepping up their game to deliver fantastic experiences.
“It’s a tremendous accolade to the winners and finalists to be nominated. They are raising the bar and creating outstanding pubs that are much-valued and well-loved by their communities.”
Best Bar Team – sponsored by CPL
Rose Hanison, the Black Horse, Norwich, Norfolk
The team members’ genuine customer engagement singled them out. Customers’ happiness is their number one priority and they make every guest feel valued.
Live Sports Venue – sponsored by Sky Sports
Belle Pubs & Restaurants, Griffin Belle, Vauxhall, London
Sports screenings are turned into special occasions with the team and pub dressed to match. Exceptional facilities, including zones showing different events and accompanying food offers, sealed this win.
Heart of the Community – sponsored by Star Pubs & Bars
Andrew Bear, the Engine, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Andrew is passionate about The Engine and the community it serves and gives them his all. The Engine makes a difference in a myriad of ways from raising £50,000 for the local hospice to litter picking around town.
Famous for Food – Sponsored by Brakes
Darren and Kelly Lea, the Faulkner, Hoole, Chester
A fantastic dining experience with restaurant-quality food at pub prices. Ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal, staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and the menu appeals to all.
Most Family Friendly – sponsored by Britvic
Kate Hayden and Paul Warriner, the Extraordinary Hare, West Hendred, Oxfordshire
A warm welcome for children, combined with great food and drink, a beautiful setting and attentive service, make the pub a favourite with every generation.
Best Outdoor Pub – Sponsored by Heineken
Howard and Victoria Lapish, the Hooden Smokehouse & Cellar, Ashford, Kent
Customers say spending time in this garden is like being on holiday. Catering for all occasions, it has sections for sport and film screenings, play areas, a bar and kitchen and even a quiet zone.
Pint Perfection – sponsored by The Morning Advertiser
Matthew Muszynski, the Salisbury Ale House, Manchester
The team scored 100% for delivering the perfect pint with the judges deeming the beer faultless in every area, from its smell and taste to its service.
Best Cask Pub – sponsored by Marston’s
Shaun Slater, the Black Rock, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
A cask ale institution: the ales are like velvet, the range is superbly balanced and the staff are all cask ale enthusiasts.
Best Newcomer – sponsored by Blade
Paul Collins, the Roebuck, Forsbrook, Staffordshire
Paul’s talent, energy and passion turned a previously little-used local into a busy village hub in just 18 months. A remarkable achievement for an industry newcomer.
Most innovative – sponsored by Big Brand Ideas
Mark and Eimear Walsh, the Winchmore, north London
The siblings’ innovative approach is changing lives. By ditching bottled water, and filtering and selling their own in aid of Charity:Water, they have so far raised £10,500 to provide clean water in developing countries.
Best Soft Drinks – sponsored by Coca-Cola
Whiting & Hammond, the Blue Ball, Walton on the Hill, Surrey
A separate menu and extensive choice put soft drinks centre stage. The pub leads the field, from its range and training to its merchandising and serve.
Best Spirits – sponsored by Diageo
David King, City Tavern, Newcastle, Tyne & Wear
City Tavern’s spirits are worth a trip to the north-east of the country, according to the judges. All the theatre, skill and choice of a top cocktail bar but in a wonderful pub setting.
Best Wine – sponsored by Accolade
Andrew and Sisi Ryder, the Phoenix Inn, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire
The Phoenix Inn has an extensive wine menu that goes way beyond the traditional. It also offers tastings, themed wine dinners and weekly offers that encourage customers to experiment.
Just Add Talent Pub of the Year – sponsored by Inapub
Stephen and Vicky Pritchard, the Dog & Partridge, Stockport, Greater Manchester
The Pritchards’ exceptional service and standards have put this local on the map, doubling trade and attracting customers from outside the area.
Marketing – sponsored by Superior – and Star Pub of the Year
Patricia and Adrian Watson, the Elephant & Castle, Hemingfield, South Yorkshire
Patricia and Adrian’s transformation of a run-down restaurant into a popular pub and restaurant, plus their exceptional skills at sharing its USPs and personality across social media, won it both the Marketing and Star Pub of the Year awards. The Watsons do it all and the pub appeals to all as a result. With its unique, fun and friendly atmosphere, the Elephant & Castle represents all that is best about the great British pub.
Further information: www.starpubs.co.uk