The votes have been counted, and today the most extraordinary pub in your area can be revealed.
We teamed up with John Smith’s to find pubs which, just like its beer, are Only Ordinary By Name.
Entries flooded in from boozers across the region that might seem ordinary at first glance but have an extraordinary story to tell.
And you have been voting for your favourite, which will today be crowned as the local winner of the Only Ordinary By Name competition, and receive a £300 prize.
They will also go forward to the national final, where there is a £5,000 prize to be won, including £500 for the winning landlord or landlady as a reward for running Britain’s most remarkable pub, and £4,500 to be spent on improvements for customers.
And your local winner, the pub representing your area in the national final, is The Royal Oak in Burton upon Trent, DE13 7HZ.
The pub has been the busy hub of the Staffordshire village for hundreds of years, with some parts of the building standing since medieval times.
But perhaps it has never been as popular as it is today, attracting punters from far and wide, thanks to a reputation for good food and pleasant surroundings.
One of the pub’s chefs recently reached the final of the Publican Pub Food Awards and took part in a cook-off with Gordon Ramsay.
The Tudor-style pub, which has been extended and rebuilt over the centuries, was radically revamped in 2008, creating a large open-plan area and winning lots of new fans and regulars.
For many, the most special thing about the pub is the huge secluded beer garden at the back – a surprising feature as the pub sits on the corner of a busy crossroads.
Owners Roger and Gillian Pitchford, who have only been running the pub for three months, told yesterday of their surprise at being crowned the Only Ordinary
By Name local winners – especially as they still don’t know who nominated them.
Gillian said: “Nobody has admitted it yet. We even offered a free pint to whoever came forward to admit they nominated us, but still nobody has.
“We’ve been amazed at how people in the village have welcomed us since we arrived here, and now they’ve also got us this award – it's fantastic.
“When we moved here in April, the pub was closed and rundown. My husband was born and bred in the village and wanted to revive the only pub here.”
The couple quickly made their mark, introducing a new menu with oriental influences, a curry night with a local Indian family who make authentic food, and social events, such as open mic nights and whisky tastings. They also hosted the village agricultural show, and are putting on an August bank holiday weekend of live bands.
Even the rumour that the pub is haunted hasn’t put people off.
Gillian said: “They say it’s the ghost of an ex-landlord who died upstairs. The same picture comes off the wall twice a week. It falls off regularly without the string breaking or smashing and is just left on the floor.”
They also keep finding half-eaten biscuits that don’t belong to them...
Gillian and Roger are now hoping their pub will impress the expert judging panel, who will decide which pub will be crowned the overall national champion – and receive a £5,000 prize.
The overall winning pub will also get a visit from TV comic Paddy McGuinness, who will drop in for a pint of John Smith’s to deliver the national prize.
Take Me Out star Paddy has been fascinated by Britain’s extraordinary pubs since his mum saw a ghost when she was working as a barmaid in Ye Olde Man and Scythe in Bolton.
So cheers, and good luck to The Royal Oak.
Please drink responsibly
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