The Britannia in Guildford has been named Pub of the Year in the annual Shepherd Neame Pub Awards.
It was among 13 of the brewery’s 335 pubs and hotels across London and the South East honoured in a glittering ceremony at the Conningbrook Hotel in Ashford on Tuesday, June 28.
Awards were given to recognise excellence in a variety of areas, including beer knowledge and service, food presentation and consistency, and community involvement.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame, who presented the awards, said:
We took over the Britannia in 2009, and despite its fantastic riverside location in the heart of Guildford, it wasn’t performing well. But thanks in huge part to the talent and hard work of manager Lee Walker, who has been with us since then, it has gone from strength to strength, doubling its sales. The pub has built a reputation for consistently excellent food and drink, served by knowledgeable, friendly staff.
Licensees Phil and Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in Seasalter were presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year. The brothers took on the pub in 1999, and it has become one of the UK’s most renowned dining destinations, gaining a Michelin star and acclaim on a national and international scale, most recently being named National Restaurant of the Year.
Paul Brown at the Ship and Trades in Chatham was named Manager of the Year. Since taking on the pub in 2014, Paul has worked hard with his team to raise standards in all areas of the business, and also played a pivotal role in the recent £1.2 million refurbishment of the 15-bedroom site.
The Managed Business of the Year went to the Bell Hotel in Sandwich, which has become a hugely popular destination to eat, drink and stay, with sales and profit at record levels.
The New Licensee of the Year Award was presented to Michael O’Reilly of the Poyntz Arms in East Molesey. During the past year he has completely repositioned the pub, introducing food for the first time while growing drink sales.
The Tenanted Pub of the Year Award went to Rob and Donna Taylor of the Compasses, Crundale, who have gained national acclaim with their multi-award winning menu, while also retaining the rural pub’s traditional feel and friendly atmosphere.
Angelena and Greg Churcher were honoured with the Turnaround Pub of the Year award, for their hard work to transform the Red Lion in Chelwood Gate, with trade up by 100% since they took it on in March 2015.
Two pubs were named Beer Heroes: Mabel’s Tavern in London, and the Globe Inn in Hythe; for going the extra mile to serve fantastic beer.
The Restaurant of the Year Award went to the Kings Head, Wye, and the Pub Food of the Year Award went to the King Henry VIII in Edenbridge.
The Plough and Horses in Farnborough received the Heart of the Community Pub of the Year award, while The Adelaide in Teddington won Best Floral Display.
Jonathan Neame added:
We are very proud of our estate of pubs, inns and hotels, which offer a distinctive customer experience, a great portfolio of celebrated beers and unique wines, delicious food and warm, friendly service. These awards are aimed at recognising the hard work, dedication, and creativity of our licensees and staff, and celebrating excellence in our industry.
FULL LIST OF WINNING PUBS AND LICENSEES
Outstanding Achievement of the Year – Sportsman, Seasalter
Shepherd Neame Pub of the Year – Britannia, Guildford
Managed Business of the Year – Bell Hotel, Sandwich
Manager of the Year – Paul Brown at the Ship and Trades, Chatham
Tenanted Pub of the Year – Compasses, Crundale
New Licensee of the Year – Michael O’Reilly at the Poyntz Arms, East Molesey
Restaurant of the Year – Kings Head, Wye
Pub Food of the Year – King Henry VIII, Edenbridge
Turnaround Pub of the Year – Red Lion, Chelwood Gate
Beer Hero – Globe Inn, Hythe
Beer Hero – Mabel’s Tavern, London
Heart of the Community Pub of the Year – Plough and Horses, Farnborough
Best Floral Display – Adelaide, Teddington