The couple are making the most of an awkward space and a tiny bar counter, no more than a hatch, which serves Cask Marque-accredited local ales straight from the barrel. And from its tiny kitchen chef Paul delivers a diverse mid-market menu of interesting dishes based on local ingredients with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.
Pizzas have recently been added, and the pub opens for breakfast when Cheltenham races are on.
The Gibbons have also created a beautiful beer garden with comfortable dining areas, floral displays, a children’s playground and a pétanque pitch. In summer it hosts events including a ‘monster’ cider festival with live bands that the locals are more than willing to help organise, feeling it belongs to them.
To make more indoor space, a smart garden room has been built that not only works as an overspill for the pub at busy times but is also good for private parties, group meetings and special events.
And under the tall pines at the bottom of the garden, they hope to introduce glamping pods to make the Plough even more of an alluring destination.
But their efforts don’t stop at the door of the pub, networking locally to organise Cheltenham and Gloucester Beer Week, which this year they celebrated with a collaboration beer. Emma has also become a voice for the pub trade, speaking out about the challenges the industry faces.
All told, the Plough is better than a picture on a chocolate box. It’s what goes on inside the business that’s setting it apart.
Full list of 2023 GBPA winners:
Best Pub Chef – Charlotte Vincent, Candlelight Inn, Chard, Somerset
Best Young Pub Chef – Karl Quirante, the Cricketers, Ormskirk, Lancashire
Punch Pub of the Year – the Plough, Prestbury, Gloucestershire