A ‘lively and imaginative’ 17th-century West Sussex inn run by a former art teacher has been hailed as the best pub in Britain.
Owner Sally Harris clearly has running a pub down to a fine art, with judges declaring that ‘even the most experienced pubgoer will find something different and exciting at The Gun Inn’.
The Gun Inn (above) in the village of Findon was named the Great British Pub of the Year 2022
They continued: ‘Harris and her team have given this pub a quirky modern twist without compromising its historic character. Harris has added her own unique touches to the decor, extending to the picturesque garden, while staff are encouraged to bring their ideas to a busy events calendar that includes themed food nights, the pub’s own music festival and fancy-dress contests for dogs. Plus, there’s a full range of Ringwood ales on the bar and an imaginative fresh-cooked European menu that packs a flavourful punch.
‘The food is excellent, the interior has tables of differing sizes to add to its offbeat appeal, a traditional roof is adorned with wooden beams and [there’s] a fireplace that exudes what a real British pub is all about.
‘Meanwhile, it has two private dining rooms to the rear that lead to a great garden with a covered area welcoming those seeking refreshment while enjoying a spot of fresh air.’
The Saddle Inn (above), Chester, scooped the Best Pub for Entertainment gong
Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which runs the awards, said: ‘Sally’s approach to creating a modern, lively and imaginative community pub has really set herself apart and it’s fantastic to see some fresh and quirky ideas coming into the trade. This competition is especially tough, with superb operators from across the UK fighting it out for the top spot. Sally has done a brilliant job in a relatively short time, and she and her team should be delighted with the success.’
From the 16 category winners, all the judges come together to agree on an overall winner. This site ‘should epitomise the British pub and be able to take the opportunity afforded to it to be a voice for the industry’, a statement said.
Category winners included Strait and Narrow in Lincoln – Best Urban Pub; The Three Hills, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire – Best Country Pub; The Saddle Inn, Chester, Cheshire – Best Pub for Entertainment; Famous Three Kings, Fulham, London – Best Pub to Watch Sport; The Lion in Treorchy, Wales – Community Hero; and Tamworth Tap, Tamworth, Staffordshire – Best Pub Garden.
THE WINNERS OF THE GREAT BRITISH PUB AWARDS 2022
The Dartford Sports Bar, Dartford Essex – Admiral Pub of the Year
Strait and Narrow, Lincoln, Lincolnshire – Best City / Urban Pub or Bar
The Three Hills, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire – Best Country / Rural Pub
The Bellflower, Garstang, Lancashire – Best Pub for Dogs
The Saddle Inn, Chester, Cheshire – Best Pub for Entertainment
Ye Olde Bridge Inn, Oxton, Nottinghamshire – Best Pub for Families
The Shibden Mill, Halifax, West Yorkshire – Best Pub for Food
Tamworth Tap, Tamworth, Staffordshire – Best Pub Garden
The Famous Three Kings, Fulham, London – Best Pub to Watch Sport
The Riverside at Aymestrey, Herefordshire – Best Sustainable Pub
The Lion in Treorchy, Wales – Community Hero
The Greene Oak, Windsor, Berkshire – Greene King Pub of the Year
The Gun Inn, Findon, West Sussex – Marston’s Pub of the Year
The Red Lion, Guildford, Surrey – Punch Pub of the Year
The Red Lion, Shepperton, Surrey – Star Pub of the Year
The Old Windmill, Coventry, West Midlands – Stonegate Pub of the Year
The Gun Inn, Findon, West Sussex – Great British Pub of the Year
Game on: Famous Three Kings in Fulham, London, is 2022’s Best Pub to Watch Sport
Strait and Narrow (above) in Lincoln has been named Best City/Urban Pub or Bar
Bedington added: ‘This isn’t about Michelin stars or spit and sawdust boozers. These awards recognise vibrant, superb businesses from every spectrum of the sector that form the heart of the communities they serve.
‘We aim to shine a spotlight on how much pubs do for the local areas and how many of us had our first job in a pub where we learnt key skills? These venues also provide a spot for otherwise lonely people to have company and how many grassroots sports teams are supported and hosted at their local?
‘Pubs have not had an easy time of it in the past couple of years and that certainly shows no sign of getting easier anytime soon either but, despite this, we still see superb businesses that do so much for so many and are a beacon of hospitality and inclusivity in these uncertain times.’
Previous winner Heath Ball, owner of the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, north London, said: ‘Winning these awards in 2018 was game-changing. We had a 50 per cent growth in people through the doors in the following three months and huge media interest. The judging process was really robust and took an investment of time due to the written entry and site visit from a judge, but it was all worth it.’
Ye Olde Bridge Inn, Oxton, Nottinghamshire, has been declared Best Pub for Families