Best pub and club in UK are in the North West

A pub in St Helens and a Conservative club in Greater Manchester have each been unveiled as the national winner of the Campaign for Real Ale’s pub and club of the year respectively.

The Cricketers Arms has taken home the Pub of the Year crown while Flixton Conservative Club in Greater Manchester, has been named the country’s best club by CAMRA.

Both pub and club have seen a massive transformation in recent years, with the Cricketers in St Helens having been restored from closure in 2013 and the Flixton Conservative Club undergoing a recent transformation which has seen an even wider range of real ales and ciders brought in.

When owners Andy and Denise Evans took over the running of the Cricketers in 2013, it was boarded up and had not served cask ale since the 1980s.

It is now a well-established local community pub with an excellent selection of 13 locally sourced cask ales and up to 20 ciders in the summer. It hosts a number of social events and boasts a new whiskey and gin bar, and plans for a new microbrewery are underway.

Paul Ainsworth, CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year coordinator said: “In less than five years, the owners have converted a boarded up pub on the brink of closure into a true destination pub for beer lovers across the country.

“What impressed me the most is that the Cricketers is a genuine community pub where people from all walks of life come together to socialise. It is a shining example of how a pub, which seems destined for closure, can have its fortunes turned around when in the right hands.”

On top of a friendly atmosphere and good beer selection, the Flixton Conservative Club runs a number of social events for the local community including brewery nights, quiz events and sports teams including snooker.

There is even a walking group and a popular chess club that meets once a week in the club’s function room. Regular entertainment takes place over the weekend with music, bingo and Open the Box with the chance to win up to £1,000.

Keith Spencer, chairman of CAMRA’s Clubs Working Group said: “The Flixton Conservative Club has transformed itself over the last five years under new stewardship by expanding the real ale offering from just two to six at a time. The club is reaping the benefits and has become a thriving hub to the local community and a worthy winner of this year’s award.”

Both CAMRA competitions aim to find the very best pub and club in the country respectively which offer a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming surroundings and most importantly, top quality real ale served in great condition. All nominated clubs in the competition are independently assessed by a panel of CAMRA volunteers throughout the year.

CAMRA will be celebrating both pub and club winners on the today (February 28) with a presentation event taking place at the Cricketers Arms at 1pm and the Flixton Conservative Club at 6pm.