The Telegraph: What makes a Perfect Pub?September 6, 2012
From The Telegraph:
It’s a heady mixture of good ale, lager, wine, and food – not forgetting sympathetic conversation, hospitality and lighting.
The church clock in the small Exmoor town of Dulverton has just struck 6pm and it’s opening time at Woods. Inside the rustic-styled bar, the first pints of St Austell’s tangy Proper Job are being drawn for thirsty locals.
The first diners appear, drawn by the reputation of Woods’ excellent menu. They don’t have far to go, as the open-plan dining room is right next to the bar. There’s an elemental feel to the décor, with lots of wood and exposed stone. It seems as though it has been part of the Exmoor scene for centuries.
Not so. The site was a bakery until 2004, when landlord Paddy Groves opened up. Not long after that, the awards began to tumble in. The latest is from the Good Pub Guide 2013. Woods is its Wine Pub of the Year and the establishment joins a select company in the latest edition of the Guide. These include the Fat Cat in Norwich (Beer Pub of the Year) and the Cock at Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, winner of the overall Pub of the Year award.
No such list can be definitive; for every warm snug the Guide nominates, a dozen other villages will claim their pubs are as good. And the Guide has had its share of controversy after it announced last year that pubs with large entries would be charged a fee to cover production costs, a decision denounced by some licensees and Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide (an unrelated publication produced by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale).
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