Pub of the year winners announced
JUBILANT landlords and landladies were today toasting their success following the glittering Evening Star Pub of the Year competition 2004/2005.The cream of the Suffolk pub trade came together at Ipswich Town's Galleria last night to find out who had triumphed in this year's contest.
JUBILANT landlords and landladies were today toasting their success following the glittering Evening Star Pub of the Year competition 2004/2005.
The cream of the Suffolk pub trade came together at Ipswich Town's Galleria last night to find out who had triumphed in this year's contest.
After complimentary drinks, the nervous nominees took to their seats to find out who had won each category.
Award-winning BBC Radio Suffolk DJ Mark Murphy was on hand to present the beautifully engraved glass awards to the winners.
And it was a pair of familiar faces who walked away with the top gong. Last year's winners, Adrian Smith and Karen Beaumont, picked up the overall Suffolk Pub of the Year award, but this time it was not for The Milestone.
Instead, the pair received recognition for their new venture - The Dove Street Inn, in St Helen's Street, which pipped The Fat Cat and The White Hart in Hadleigh.
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Adrian described their second consecutive win as "gob smacking".
He said: "The Milestone is well established and we have good great customers in what is a difficult trading period for everyone.
"But The Dove is a new venture for us and so this is wonderful. We have many lovely people who have supported us at The Dove and I would stress we have a very good team working for us.
"Unfortunately Tim Westerman, the manager of The Milestone, couldn't come tonight. Without him and the team around us this would not have been possible. Tim being there has released us to take on another under-performing pub and turn it around.
"We've not had a break since we took The Dove on 18 months ago so the trip to London will be brilliant."
Karen added: "It makes all the hard work seem worth it."
And there was even more to celebrate for Adrian and Karen as they scooped the Best Landlord and Landlady award, beating off stiff competition from Patrick Wroe at The Half Moon in Felixstowe and Compasses supremo Rick Gooding.
The pair also picked up the Best Real Ale Pub with The Dove narrowly finishing above The Fat Cat and The Half Moon. Their fourth award came in the form of Best Music and Live Entertainment pub for the Milestone, which prevailed over fellow Ipswich pubs The Giles Tavern and The Plough.
Karen and Adrian can now look forward to a London theatre break courtesy of competition supporters Ridley's as well as a four-night stay in the beautiful German city of Hamburg, provided by DFDS Seaways.
Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: "Congratulations to all our finalists, winners and, of course, Adi and Karen who have shown yet again what good pubs they run.
"But every pub which made our shortlist should be hugely proud of themselves, no matter whether or not they walked away with an award tonight.
"This year's competition has been excellently supported by our readers and sponsors Ridley's and it just goes to show the importance of Suffolk's excellent array of pubs."
Joe Laventure, Ridley's sales and marketing director, said: "The ceremony was excellent.
"I'm delighted to have been given the opportunity of being involved with this competition and I hope it will be the start of many more to come.
"Suffolk is spoilt with good pubs which is a great thing for the county."
In the Best Town Pub category, The Half Moon regained its title, leaving The Plough and The Dove in its wake.
And it was another title defender that prevailed in the Best Village or Country Pub award, with The Moon and Mushroom in Swilland brushing aside The Holbrook Compasses and The Limeburners in Offton.
The Fat Cat really got the cream as they walked away with the Best Community Pub award, ahead of The Dove and The Half Moon.
And it was the icing on the cake for The Compasses, which battered The Milestone and The Plough in the Best Food Pub category.
The White Hart in Hadleigh won the Best Family Pub award, finishing ahead of The Compasses and The Milestone.
And the final award of the night went to The Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill.
With its magnificent views across the River Orwell, The Butt narrowly toppled last year's winner The Maybush as well as The Steamboat Tavern.
The finalists were short-listed by Evening Star readers who cast more than 2,000 votes for 141 different pubs.
Then our judging panel, led by Stuart Bowell from Suffolk CAMRA, visited each pub to sift out the winners. The overall winner was chosen by a Suffolk CAMRA panel.