The Fat Cat and California Social Club win Ipswich and East Suffolk CAMRA’s best pub and club awards
Two Ipswich venues are raising a glass in celebration after winning prestigious Campaign for Real Ale awards for best pub or club.
The Fat Cat in Spring Road has scooped the Ipswich and East Suffolk CAMRA Town Pub of the Year while the California Club, in Foxhall Road, has won the branch’s best club award.
This is the second year running the Fat Cat has won the prize.
Liz Pledge, who has managed the pub for the last four years, said she was delighted to discover they had won.
“It is a fantastic achievement for us,” she said.
“For us its nice to be recognised by CAMRA as we are a real ale pub.
“It is down to our customers, our brilliant staff and to all the people who have brewed the beer – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
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Pub landlord John Keatley added: “I have owned the pub for the last 20 years and this achievement is fantastic.
“I feel we are doing a really good job.”
Liz said the pub seemed to be pushing back against the trend of closing pubs in the county.
“It is about having a nice place to have a drink,” she said.
“There is a lot of competition from coffee shops and things like that today and we have seen changing attitudes to drinking recently .
“But people are now seeing the social benefits of having a place to get together and have a beer.”
Pete Murton, steward at the California Social Club, said the award win had taken them by surprise.
“We didn’t even know we had been nominated”, he said, “We only knew when we got a message saying we had won the CAMRA club of the year award.
“We are a members club but any CAMRA members can come along too.
“I think people are often fed up with lagers, there are so many more tastes and flavours with real ale. “We seem to be doing really well at the moment.
“All our members come in regularly.”
Mike Lewis, CAMRA branch secretary, said: “The award is all down to good beer and consistency, selected by people who know what they are doing and who love a good beer.
“Real ale has become the ‘in thing’ after a lot of hard work from CAMRA. I think we have won the real ale battle.”