GBPA 2022

Meet the winner: Stonegate Pub of the Year – the Old Windmill, Coventry

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

On the map: while the Old Windmill may have been a hidden gem, it’s certainly a pub to take note of
On the map: while the Old Windmill may have been a hidden gem, it’s certainly a pub to take note of

Related tags Events Great british pub awards Coventry Stonegate Pubco + head office

A hundred yards from Coventry’s shopping streets, walking through the narrow door of the Old Windmill is like stepping into another world.

Most of the pub dates back to the 15th​ century, and it oozes history, a warren full of nooks and crannies and tempting corners to eat and drink in, and old fireplaces and fittings to take you back in time.

There’s even secret priest hole, presumably in case the bishop catches them having a sneaky pint, and a disused brewery in the back room, probably still there only because there’s no way of getting it out.

Modern and innovative

Yet within the constraints of this listed building, lessee Michelle Gilmour has developed a modern, innovative business that, despite the challenges of recent years, is performing “better than ever”.

There’s no proper kitchen, just a prep area and a fridge, so she’s introduced a menu of Ploughman’s lunches and cold meat platters showcasing high quality products from local suppliers.

There’s no outdoor area, so she somehow cajoled the firm of architects next door to lend the pub its car park at weekends, when the space is filled with tables and chairs to create a beer garden, doubling the Windmill’s trading space and staging events, such as summer’s inaugural Sausage & Cider Festival.

Local community action

There’s no underground cellar, yet it keeps a range of cask beers in excellent condition. And the pub is well known for its live music, too, though there’s no space for drums.

Michelle’s work doesn’t stop at the walls of the Windmill. She’s active in the local community raising money for charity and getting local traders together for a Sunday market right outside the pub – she persuaded the council to close the street once a week.

At one time you could have described Coventry’s oldest pub as a hidden gem, but now it’s certainly on the map.

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