Monday saw the announcement of the UK’s Top 50 Gastropubs 2014. The awards are compiled by trade paper The Publican’s Morning Advertiser, and voted for by 450 industry figures including chefs, landlords, restaurateurs and journalists.
As would be expected, there’s a wide geographical spread across the country, and a lot of out-of-town or country pubs scored highly. But we think London’s ranking of 11 out of the 50 is quite impressive. It’s exactly the same number that made it in last year, and just slightly down on the 13 that appeared in 2012.
The highest-ranking pub in the capital this year was The Harwood Arms at number eight; a Fulham spot which also lays claim to being the first ever pub to get a Michelin star, it’s fallen a few spots from 5th place last year but still rides high. Also in the top 10 is Londonist favourite Bull & Last in Highgate, where a vast beer list complements a restaurant-standard but gutsy and pubby food menu.
London takes ownership of the rest of the top 20, with Anchor & Hope in Waterloo (12), The Ship in Wandsworth (14), The Jugged Hare in Moorgate (16), The Canton Arms in Stockwell and The Drapers Arms in Islington all taking a place. Popular riverside Young’s pub The Ship also scooped the title of highest climber, jumping from 35th spot last year.
The venue that’s credited with starting the food pub revolution, and responsible for the term ‘gastropub’ itself, is also in the list. The Eagle has traded on Farringdon Road in its current form since 1991 and remains enduringly popular, though it suffers a big drop from 25th spot last year to 43rd in this year’s ranking.
Also featured in The Top 50 are The Lady Ottoline in Bloomsbury at 35, the Somers Town Coffee House near Euston at 38, and The Garrison on Bermondsey Street at 28. The overall winner was The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, which is headed up by chef Tom Kerridge and has two Michelin stars; this is the third year running that it’s scooped the prize.
It’s interesting to note the geographical split of the winning pubs in London. South London does well with four places, there are a couple in North London, just one anywhere West (though it did win), none at all in the West End, and nothing further East than Moorgate. Make of that what you will.
What do you think of the winners? And where else do you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below.