Dorking pub named overall winner at the 2021 Griffin Trophy Awards

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Griffin Trophy 2021 winner: Manu Bhatt receives trophy from Fuller, Smith & Turner Chairman, Michael Turner
Griffin Trophy 2021 winner: Manu Bhatt receives trophy from Fuller, Smith & Turner Chairman, Michael Turner

Related tags Surrey Fullers Griffin trophy Multi-site pub operators

The Queen’s Head in Dorking has been named the winner of the overall winner of this year’s Fullers Griffin Trophy as well as winning in the Best Town/Local category.

Part of Fuller's Tenanted Inns estate, the Queen’s Head in Dorking, Surrey, ran by Manu Bhatt as his own business, triumphed over 8 finalists with his ‘eclectic mix of fabulous British pub and influences from Manu’s varied career working in hospitality across the globe’.

The best is yet to come

Bhatt said: “I’m absolutely delighted, I’ve only been at the Queen’s Head since February 2020 and I think the best is yet to come.

“I’ve got so many ideas yet to put into place and winning this award has inspired me to continue to innovate and build this great pub even further, I know there are very few people who have won The Griffin Trophy more than once, but I intend to try and do exactly that.”

The annual Pub of the Year competition from Fuller, Smith and Turner, recognises the pub operators’ managers and tenants’ efforts and achievements across four categories: Best City/London Pub, Best Hotel/Inn, Best Town/Local Pub and Best Country/Village Pub.

Open to all Fuller’s 210 managed pubs and hotels and 174 Tenanted inns, The Griffin Trophy awards the winning licensee a £5,000 holiday voucher, a staff party to celebrate with their team, and the coveted Griffin Trophy itself.

The eight finalists of The Griffin Trophy were all visited by chairman Michael Turner, chief executive Simon Emeny, and marketing director Jane Jones to choose the category and overall winners.

The Griffin Trophy 2021 winners:

Overall Winner 2021 - ​The Queen’s Head, Horsham Road, Dorking

Best Country/Village Pub category - ​The Mayfly, Fullerton, Near Stockbridge, Hampshire

Best Town/Local Pub category - ​The Queen’s Head, Dorking

Best City/London Pub category - ​The Flask, Highgate, London

Turner said: “Manu Bhatt is a highly entrepreneurial and creative operator and his experience from his travels really comes through at The Queen’s Head.

Outstanding ingenuity 

“It’s been a tough time to be running a hospitality business during the past 20 months – but Manu has not only ridden out this turbulent period, but he’s also exited the pandemic in a fantastically strong position.

“Outdoor dining has grown in popularity and Manu has invested £70,000 in covering his garden, which is on quite an incline, with a giant tepee, almost trebling the number of covers he can serve from his tiny kitchen. It is this sort of ingenuity that makes Manu an outstanding winner of The Griffin Trophy.”

This year’s awards ceremony was held at The Counting House on Cornhill, City of London, on Thursday 1 December 2021.

Bhatt added: “You just can’t beat a fantastic pub and to be recognised for being exactly that is truly wonderful, thank you, Fuller’s.”

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