Tens of thousands of dog owners have cast their votes as hundreds of pubs across the United Kingdom have been campaigning to clinch the coveted title of Dog-friendly Pub of the Year. Now our pack of expert judges have had their say and we’re ready for the big reveal…
The National and South East Winner – The Fox & Hounds Theale
The Fox & Hounds has proven once again that they are top dog when it comes to being dog-friendly. They were our national winners in 2017 and have managed to reclaim their title this year. Landlady Jayne and her team campaigned tirelessly to round up all the votes needed to get the South East title. They then caught the eye of our judges, and although it was a hard decision with so many worthy pubs, there was no denying that the Fox & Hounds deserved the winning spot.
Their attitude to dog-friendliness is on a new level. Jayne perfectly sums it up by saying “Being dog friendly is the best part of my day. We love meeting new woofers, and getting to fuss them. It’s a great way to start a conversation, and the endorphins that come from fussing a dog are what we all strive for.”
They are always aiming to increase their paw-fall by offering more pub dog walks, a doggy photo booth and a special dog menu which includes a full 3-course meal! If you have a dog, the Fox & Hounds is the place to be.
East of England Regional Winner -The Dog at Grundisburgh
The East of England winner has a more than fitting name. The Dog at Grundisburgh were last years national winners and have shown that they are still a firm favourite within their community. They beat over 230 pubs in their region to be crowned top dog in the East of England.
Dogs love this pub so much that many of their four-legged locals walk themselves to The Dog to enjoy a drink and free treat. There are so many reasons to be dog-friendly and Landlady, Eilir, summed up the most important one by saying:
“We know how happy it makes people to be able to bring their dogs to the pub with them and we like happy customers! In our pub, customers sit in the bar and enjoy a pint or a meal and they can also dine with their doggy companions in the restaurant too.”
East Midlands Regional Winner – The Lion at Basford
Our East Midlands regional winner is another pub that has managed to hold onto their title from 2018. This is the third year that The Lion has been nominated as the best pub for pooches in the East Midlands.
Rosamund, the General Manager, was over the moon to hear that they had won again and love that they have so much support from their locals. It’s really important for them too, as Rosamund says:
“As we’re not far from Nottingham city centre in a fairly urban area, it can be difficult to find dog-friendly pubs, particularly those that serve food. It’s important to us to be able to fill this need! Amongst our regulars are quite a few local dog walkers, who will come in with their tribe in tow.”
London Regional Winner – Wags N Tales
Wags N Tales is a new winners to the Dog-friendly Pub Awards. Having climbed the charts in the London area, they are known for making the dogs of the big smoke feel more than welcome.
This lovely drinking establishment was founded based on the love they have for their very own pub dog, and all dogs that come to visit. Wags N Tales offers a range of homemade treats including Pup-cakes and Pup-paccinos, to satisfy any hungry pooch. Owner, Rajal, explained to us how they try to make any dog welcome, saying:
“We have created a welcoming atmosphere for dogs of all sizes and breeds. Our tables are spread out to allow plenty of space for humans and dogs. Whether it is offering a bowl of fresh water or providing hooks to tether them so the owners can be hands free, or a dog towel to dry them off. These little touches show that we have thoughtfully planned our space.”
North East Regional Winner – The Keel Row
For the third year running, The Keel Row, has been top of the pack in the North East. People now come from far and wide to visit them just to see how dog-friendly they are!
When visiting The Keel Row expect a warm welcome from the staff who are excited to meet new dogs and their families. They go above and beyond for their furry regulars making sure each dogs’ specific needs are catered to, whether that be a treat at the bar or a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of the main pub. Vikki, who has helped run the pub for 12 years, commented:
“Being dog friendly has opened the doors to creating a big ‘Keel Row’ community which has helped us become the pub hub of the local area. Each year we aim for bigger and better ideas to make our pub dog-friendly. For example this year we held a free professional photoshoot for our customers dogs.”
North West Regional Winner – The Maltings
The Maltings has once again managed to beat off the fierce competition in the North West to be crowned the regional winner. They pride themselves on being dog-friendly as they can see how much it means to their customers.
By being a home away from home and making dogs feel at ease in the pub, they are definitely bringing the local community together. The General Manager, Andrew, told us what they plan to do to take their dog-friendly ways further saying:
“To continue with our success and improve, we strive to find new ideas and events to involve the local community. We have plans to provide dog beds so the dogs feel even more relaxed as well as doggy ice cream in the summertime.”
Northern Ireland Regional Winner- The Sunflower Public House
A new finalist for 2019, The Sunflower Public House were delighted to find out that they were voted top in their region. We are sure that their doggy customers are also over the moon too. This is what General Manager, Robert, said when asked why being dog-friendly is important to their pub.
“It adds to the relaxed, informal atmosphere in the pub and it generally makes staff and customers happy to see a pup enter the pub (which is quite a few times a day). It’s safe to say that we have a very dog loving culture within the pub.”
All their staff love dogs and try to make sure their time in the pub is comfortable. The Sunflower also gets involved in charity events and have held fundraisers to help rescue dogs from slaughter houses in china.
Scotland Regional Winner – The Stables
This is a first time win for The Stables who are overjoyed that their guests love their attitude to welcoming dogs, big or small. The staff are always prepped with dog bowls and treat for their furry visitors making them always followed by a trail of wagging tails.
For The Stables being dog-friendly means welcoming the dogs inside, not just letting them in. Offering treats, putting on event dates and making sure the guests know they have water bowls, treats, a menu and even a doggy beer available to them
General Manager, Stuart Brand, says ” We became dog-friendly due to the vast amount of dog walkers that came to our doors for a respite after a long stroll along the canal next to the pub.”
South West Regional Winner – The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn has been a firm favourite in the South West beating over 335 pubs in the region to hold the top spot. Based right on the coast this pub is perfect for a quick pint with your pup after a brisk beach walk. This is the first time The Ship has been a finalist and they couldn’t be happier to be recognised for their achievements.
Being dog-friendly to The Ship Inn means that their four-legged customers get just as good (if not sometimes better) treatment than their two-legged ones. Manager, Ellie Cameron, told us how much their furry regulars enjoy a visit to her pub, saying:
“We’ve impressed our canine customers to the point that our regulars often drag their humans into the pub whilst on their daily walk. Most of their humans don’t mind that though.”
Wales Regional Winner – The Sun Trevor
The Sun Trevor is another new finalist in the 2019 Dog-friendly Pub Awards. Their resident pub dog, Poppy, is often seen by the fire and welcomes everyone to walk through their doors. Poppy is such a good pub dog she was featured in the ‘Great British Pub Dogs’ book by our very own judge, Paul Fleckney.
Katy and Paul, the owners of The Sun Trevor, were ecstatic to be the Welsh winners, saying “It’s part of our lives being able to share our pub with our four legged visitors and their owners. It really means the world to us.”
West Midland Regional Winner – The Oak
The Oak rose to the top of the leaderboard quickly and beat out some hefty competition to become the West Midlands champion. They have built a fantastic reputation for being dog-friendly and people travel from up and down the country to stay at The Oak during local dog shows.
With the Kennel Club headquarters just down the road, they often find themselves inundated with dogs who rest their paws over night in their pet-friendly accommodation after dog shows. The dogs are truly spoilt with home cooked chicken treats and comfy beds to rest on. The Landlady, Gayle, commented:
“There are some dogs who will pass the front door of the pub demanding their chicken treats. We also have a number of dog treat options available on and behind the bar.”
Yorkshire Regional Winner – The Calder Vale Hotel
Another newcomer in our line up of finalists, The Calder Vale Hotel, showed that they were more than dog-friendly as their loyal locals showered them with votes. They say that the win is as much a tribute to their customers as to them.
Co-owner, Ian, says “Simply, it’s about dogs and people enjoying each other’s company in an environment of comfort and safety. Human canine conviviality is what we aspire to. It seems to be working.”
Rover would like to wish each regional winner a massive congratulations! We would also like to thank every pub that participated and hope to see you all competing next year!