Money – The Sun
THE UK’s 50 best gastropubs for 2023 have been revealed – does your boozer make the list?
Pubs across the country have been vying for the prestige of being the best boozer in the nation, but only one came out on top.
The bumper list is released annually by Estrella Damm and publisher Chris Lowe to celebrate “excellence” in pub food across the country.
And the big decisions were made by food and hospitality experts – including gastropub operators, who are not allowed to vote for their own pubs.
Of this top 50, 11 this year are located in the Southwest and Wales, nine in the Northwest, and 13 in the Southeast and London.
Did your local pub make the cut? Here’s the top 10.
1) Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland – Lancashire
This year’s winning boozer was the Parkers Arms near Clitheroe in Lancashire.
The country spot wowed judges with its talented kitchen staff and impressive menu – which changes twice a day – to scoop the top prize.
It is especially well-known locally for its pies and has been rising up the ranks for some time, moving up from 48th place in 2017 when it made its debut entry on the Top 50 list.
The judges note that the eatery is “possibly the most idyllic pub” on the list and commands stunning views.
2) The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge – Suffolk
The Unruly Pig took a well-earned second place
Taking second place was The Unruly Pig in Suffolk who came out top in 2021.
The welcoming boozer serves dishes that are a pleasant cross between British and Italian cuisine, giving diners a “refreshing change from the usual pub fare”.
Menus change at least monthly and there are more than 60 wines available by the glass as well as hand-pulled beers.
The judges at this year’s awards said: “Head chefs Dave and Karl are known as the “dynamic duo” and are the real powerhouse behind the entire kitchen team.”
3) Freemasons at Wiswell – Lancashire
The elegant Lancashire pub Freemasons took third place
The elegant pub in Lancashire serves outstanding dishes to patron with owner Steven Smith fusing locally sourced ingredients and his love of classics with wild, sharp world flavours.
Menu highlights have included foie gras with beer vinegar, blackberry and smoked eel; roast loin and kofta of Nidderdale lamb with BBQ gem lettuce, miso aubergine, mint and yoghurt
Last year the pub had pushed its way back into the top five, and pushed even further to top 3 this year.
They also host summer barbecues, regular “chippy teas” and more delectable tasting evenings.
4) The Sportsman, Seasalter – Kent
The Sportsman in Kent is widely regarded as one of the UK’s best pubs
Chef-patron Stephen Harris makes sure that produce served at the pub is sourced almost exclusively from the surrounding land.
The completely self-taught chef picks seaweed from the Sportsman’s adjoining beach, makes his own salt from the sea, and uses meat from the bountiful farms of the Seasalter area.
Harris’s slip sole grilled in seaweed butter is famous and a must-try for any visitor.
Menu highlights from the past have included roast saddle of Monkshill farm lamb with mint sauce; thornback ray with brown butter, razor clams and sherry vinegar dressing; and braised brill fillet with mussel and bacon tartare.
5) The Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells – Kent
This “homely and inviting” Kent boozer described as a “labour of love” is run by brothers Chris and James Tanner.
The gastropub serves modern British cuisine using “fresh, seasonal and local ingredients”.
According to the judges the pub’s menus are tastefully curated with dishes including White Lake Farm goats’ curd with heritage beetroots, as well as Bramley apple crumble with clotted cream.
The pub is split almost fifty-fifty into dining and bar space, which the judges believe has been done purposefully so the pub can have a real community feel.
6) The Angel at Hetton – Yorkshire
The Angel boasts a Michelin star
The one Michelin-starred Angel at Hetton, Skipton, offers pub food reimagined in a cosy environment that looks out across stunning landscapes.
Run by chef Michael Wignall, the Yorkshire pub has a dedicated restaurant area but still remains a boozer in spirit and image.
Branding the menu “glorious”, the judges note that you might dine on a monkfish main followed by Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with salted granola and roasted beetroot puree.
7) The White Swan at Fence – Lancashire
This one-Michelin-starred restaurant is helmed by chef Tom Parker who is described as a “mischievous genius”.
Billed as a pub like no other, the eatery has been known to serve dishes such as lobster soup with tarragon and Whitewell partridge with smoked bacon
In terms of prices, two courses have, in the past, cost £30 and three £40
Punters should also keep a look out for special menus served throughout the year, with previous ones including a sell-out Japanese-themed night.
8) The Hand & Flowers, Marlow – Buckinghamshire
The Hand & Flowers was the first UK boozer to earn two Michelin stars
This popular boozer was the first in the UK to earn two Michelin stars and is spearheaded by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.
A friendly and comfortable pub, it is visited by thousands of eager foodies from across the country and world each year.
Judges listed Brittany guinea fowl breast with poultry tart as well as chocolate and ale cake as examples of the dishes that might appear on the gastropub’s menu.
For special occasions, the Hand & Flowers also features a private dining room, The Shed, which can accommodate up to nine pre-booked guests and has a four-course menu priced at £155 per person.
9) The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury – Kent
The Fordwich Arms also made the top 10
Nestled in Fordwich, Kent, this prize-winning pub is described as “one of the loveliest gastropubs in the county”.
Dishes are plated and served in a relaxed and welcoming style, ideal for a lunch or dinner at any time of the year, whatever the occasion.
Guests can choose from a plethora of food menus including à la carte, tasting menus and two vegetarian tasting menus.
The full tasting menu, which costs £11 a head for six courses and petit fours, includes duck liver parfait; raw Orkney scallop; and turbot with crisp potato, grape and lobster sauce.
10) The Red Lion and Sun, Highgate – London
In the leafy rural haven of Highgate Village, London, sits one of the capital’s greatest boozers – the Red Lion & Sun.
The pub earns a roaring trade from both regular locals and guests looking to indulge in oysters and wine from the site’s extensive list.
The accolade-rich venue offers a menu rich with “rustic, modern British pub food”, with meats supplied by Highgate Butchers.
All other produce is carefully sourced from respected producers and the gastropub can celebrate having reached the top 10 for the second time.
UK’s top 50 gastropubs
Here’s the top 50 in full
1. Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland
2. The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge
3. Freemasons at Wiswell, Wiswell
4. The Sportsman, Seasalter
5. The Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells
6. The Angel at Hetton, Hetton
7. The White Swan at Fence, Fence
8. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
9. The Fordwich Arms, Kent
10. The Red Lion and Sun, London
11. The Mariners, Rock
12. The Cornish Arms, Tavistock
13. The Harwood Arms, London
14. Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax
15. The Coach, Marlow
16. The Beehive, Great Waltham
17. The Cadeleigh Arms, Tiverton
18. The Pack Horse, Hayfield
19. Pyne Arms, Barnstaple
20. The Black Swan, Ravenstondale
21. The Moorcock Inn, Sowerby Bridge
22. The Guinea Grill, London
23. The Baring, London
24. The Masons Arms, Knowstone
25. Canton Arms, London
26. The Rat Inn, Anick, Hexham
27. The Pipe and Glass, Beverley
28. The Longs Arms, South Wraxall
29. The Dog at Wingham, Canterbury
30. The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon
31. The Hardwick, Abergavenny
32. The Loch and The Tyne, Old Windsor
33. The Bull & Last, London
34. The White Horse, Brancaster
35. The Black Bull, Sedbergh
36. The Swan, Bampton
37. The Bell Inn, Langford
38. Scran and scallie, Edinburgh
39. The Dog & Gun Inn, Skelton
40. The Duck Inn, Stanhoe
41. The Duncombe Arms, Ashbourne
42. The Black Bear Inn, Usk – Wales
43. Heft, High Newton
44. The Broad Chare, Newcastle
45. Woods, Dulverton
46. The Gunton Arms, Norwich
47. The French House, London
48. The Eagle, Farringdon, London
49. The Butchers Arms, Hepworth
50. Royal Oak, Whatcote