CAMRA names the best four member clubs in the country
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the best four member clubs in the country as part of its Club of the Year 2022 competition, one of the most respected and well-known club awards in the UK.
The finalists include the Cheltenham Motor Club in Cheltenham, Marden Village Club in Kent, Dobcross Band Social Club in Greater Manchester and Barnton Cricket Club in Merseyside-Cheshire. They will now have a chance to compete for the National Club of the Year title, one of the highest accolades afforded to Britain’s clubs.
Cheltenham Motor Club is a three-time winner of the nation award in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Located just outside the town centre, this friendly and welcoming club is open to all. The bar is decorated with various motoring paraphernalia and the enthusiastic steward normally keeps six ales on tap, including at least one dark beer, one cider and a range of Belgian beers in bottles.
Marden Village Club in Kent was completely renovated in 2017 to produce a light, airy, and friendly atmosphere. This Grade II listed community hub boasts six real ales generally from local microbreweries and a snooker and darts teams for its members.
Dobcross Band Social Club in Greater Manchester features enjoyable views of the hills of the Saddleworth moors. The present wooden building was erected in 1967 and is set out to provide facilities for the members of its various sections, including bands, bowlers, snooker and darts players.
Finally, the Barnton Cricket Club is described as “a beacon for real ale in a relative desert”. Sports feature heavily here with on-site squash courts as well as the main cricket pitch and crown green bowling, and a popular beer festival is held in the summer.
All of the clubs 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 four finalists will now have a chance to win the National Club of the Year title for 2022, which will be announced in January 2023. The competition has been on hold over the last two years due to COVID-19 restrictions and was last won by the Cheltenham Motor Club in 2019.
National Club of the Year Co-ordinator Phil Greggs said: “All of these clubs should be very proud of themselves for reaching this stage in the competition. It is a huge honour to be considered one of the top four clubs across the country. While each of these clubs offers something unique to their visitors, they all share the foundation of what makes a great club – a warm and welcoming atmosphere, excellent service and a fantastic range of beers.”
The four finalists will be presented with their super regional award at local events over the coming weeks.
Located just outside the town centre in the former Crown Inn. This friendly and welcoming club, formed in 1906, is open to all. The enthusiastic steward normally keeps six ales on tap, one generally from Moor Beer, one is always a dark beer, a cask typically from Deya, and at least one cider plus a range of Belgian beers in bottles. The club is divided into a bar/TV room, now with additional snug and a games room separated by a folding partition. There is now a new side canopy leading into the courtyard for external sheltered drinking. The bar is decorated with various motoring paraphernalia. Three times winner of National CAMRA Club of the Year, 2013, 2017 and 2020, and 2014/5/16 finalist.
Six real ales are now offered at this Grade II listed club and community hub; five change regularly and are generally from local microbreweries. There is always one dark beer available. The club was totally renovated in 2017 and refurbished to produce a light, airy, and friendly atmosphere. Many members are involved in the club’s snooker and darts teams; others simply enjoy the friendly ambiance and watch live football and rugby on the sports TV. Regularly voted Maidstone CAMRA branch Club of the Year. Card carrying CAMRA members are welcome but regular visitors will be required to join.
The Club boasts enjoyable views of the hills of the Saddleworth moors. The present wooden building was erected in 1967 and is set out in a way to provide facilities for the members of its various sections. These are bands, bowlers, snooker and darts players. The club is famous for its weekly Sunday night band concerts, mainly of local bands but occasionally hosts bands from further afield.
This local and regional CAMRA multi-award-winning club is a beacon for real ale in a relative desert. Sports feature heavily here with on-site squash courts as well as the main cricket pitch and crown green bowling. The club has been awarded Club Marque accreditation from the England & Wales Cricket Board. A popular beer festival is held in the summer.