CAMRA announces top four pubs in the country
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today announced the best four pubs in the UK as part of its national Pub of the Year 2023 competition.
The four super-regional finalists will now have a chance to compete for the National Pub of the Year title, one of the highest accolades afforded to the UK’s pubs. The top four pubs are:
- Nelson Arms, Tonbridge – Kent
Situated in a quiet residential area within easy walking distance of the railway station and high street. A range of six to eight beers across a range of styles representing national and local independent breweries is usually served. Up to 15 real ciders are also available along with craft keg beers.
Landlord of the Nelson, Matthew Rudd said: “Naturally we’re delighted to reach the final of CAMRA’s 2023 Pub of the Year competition. It’s great for our customers, the team and the community as a whole. But most importantly it’s great for the Barden Residents Association, who in 2018 after a year of closure put an Asset of Community Value (ACV) on the pub and fought off the threat of redevelopment.”
Tony Shea, West Kent CAMRA Branch Chair, commented: “It is such a welcoming pub with fantastic staff and a superb range of ales and ciders. It is an important part of the local community with something to offer for everyone.”
- Tamworth Tap, Tamworth (CAMRA Pub of the Year 2022) – West Midlands
An elegant building, home to Tamworth Brewing Company and its tap. The cosy upstairs rooms have Tudor features, the historic courtyard beer terrace to the rear offers striking views of Tamworth Castle, and there is café-style seating to the front. Eight hand pulls usually feature one Tamworth ale, the rest from near and far. Various snacks are offered, plus a wide range of ciders, gins, wines and bottled beers.
George and Louise Greenaway, owners of the Tamworth Tap, said: “We’re overwhelmed to have progressed to the final stages of this year’s CAMRA Pub of the Year competition. Achieving this for the second year running makes it all the more special.”
John Rowling, Pubs Officer Lichfield Sutton & Tamworth CAMRA Branch, said: “It’s obviously wonderful news that the Tap is once again in the final four – it will be a nail-biting time while we wait to see who comes out on top! Last year’s top spot was a marvellous tribute to the passion and effort that owners George and Louise show in making their pub such a fantastic, community-centred place.”
- Trafalgar Hotel, Ramsey, Isle of Man – West Pennines
A long-standing real ale pub on the harbour, now owned by Odin Brewery and usually serving four of the brewery’s beers plus two guest ales. There are unobtrusive TVs showing sport and outside is a small area of wooden bench seating that overlooks the harbour. Friendly, welcoming and always busy, it is particularly popular during the TT motorbike race week. The pub is a previous winner of several CAMRA awards.
Owners Rob Storey and Andy Pegge said: “With Steph the landlady and Nikki her daughter, who together run the Traf, we put a lot of effort into the cellar and beer management. They run a great team, and we have very little staff turnover. It’s a real community pub and we do raise a lot for local charities!
- The Beer Engine, Skipton – Yorkshire
A well-established micropub in a tiny street between the town centre and the canal, with a friendly and welcoming ambience. Six handpumps dispense varying beers, always including one blonde or pale ale and one dark brew, plus a character beer. Extended in 2022, the bar now includes craft keg fonts. A still cider and a fruit cider are also on tap alongside a selection of bottled beers, cans and wines.
Adam Davies and Steven Gregory, Directors at The Beer Engine, said: “When we were voted Branch Pub of the Year for our area, we were so happy to get that accolade, and it had never even crossed our minds that we might get further in the competition. We just do what we do: serve a range of beer from breweries that we’d love to see if we walked into a pub! That combined with a lovely crowd, our fabulous staff, great conversation and a fantastic atmosphere makes The Beer Engine what it is.”
Colleen Holiday, Keighley & Craven CAMRA Branch Chair commented: “Since Steve and Adam took over the Beer Engine, they have really made it their own, through expanding the beer and cider range and making it the most welcome and inclusive place possible. An absolutely wonderful pub!”
All the pubs in the competition are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix and most importantly – quality of beer. The overall winner will be announced in January 2024.
National Pub of the Year Coordinator Andrea Briers said: “I am delighted to announce the finalists in our National Pub of the Year competition. Each pub holds a special place in their communities and all offer something unique to their customers. Pubs across the UK have faced many challenges, so it is wonderful to be able to recognise and celebrate the amazing pubs we have and to see them thrive.
“It was a very difficult job this year to whittle entries down to our fabulous four. Each finalist was scored against a range of criteria with all strongly demonstrating what a good pub should be; warm, welcoming, amazing service – and all serving a fantastic range of beers. I look forward to the next phase as they enter the final stage of their journey and compete to be crowned the best pub in the UK.”
The four finalists will be presented with their awards at local events over the coming weeks.