Back in September, we launched the Dog-friendly Pub Awards – scouring the United Kingdom for the nation’s best dog-friendly public houses, drinking establishments and beer bars.
Since then, more than 7000 votes have been cast – which is amazing! A huge thank you to everyone who’s been busy nominating, campaigning and voting for more than 1000 pubs across the county. Voting closed on Monday 31st October and since then we’ve been counting up the votes and notifying the landlords – and it’s time to announce the regional winners.
The Dog-Friendly Pub Awards has one more winner to announce yet – hold on to your tennis balls because next week we’ll be announcing the overall, national winner
Meet the winners
Join us as we wag a tail and woof to welcome our 12 winners, (listed alphabetically!) covering the major regions of the UK: (click a region below to skip to it).
- East of England
- East Midlands
- North East
- Northern Ireland
- North West
- South East
- South West
- West Midlands
East of England: The King Stag
The King Stag in Bushey is a well-deserved winner. Not only do they provide all the basics needed to make visiting pooches feel right at home, they also regularly feature muddy mutts photos on their facebook page, hold monthly walks, and help raise money for dog rescue charities. Possibly our favourite thing about this pub is that they’ve recently adopted a dog of their own – a two-year-old Border Collie called Charlie.
Here’s what landlord Rosemary had to say about being crowned a winner:
“We were absolutely thrilled to hear the news and very flattered to have received so many votes! we wanted to ensure the dogs felt as welcome as the humans. We provide a special doggy menu with sausages and pigs ears and all sorts of other goodies.
East Midlands: The Brown Cow
When Nicola took over The Brown Cow in Mansfield back in 2013 it was run down, on its last legs. Now it’s been given a new lease of life and helping more tails wag than ever. The Brown Cow was described by one regular as “a dog city” and another went so far as to say, “I’m thinking of getting a dog just so I can visit”. The pub does, however, feature a dog-free zone, so it’s definitely a human-friendly drinking spot too.
It’s fair to say Nicola was chuffed to win the award, here’s how she reacted:
“When I read the email I was overwhelmed that we’d won the award. Having dogs in the pub is a huge ice-breaker, people generally start talking because of their dogs. It means a lot to us – we know that dogs take an important place in a person’s life and so we welcome them into the pub, too.”
London: Hand In Hand
Situated a tennis ball’s throw away from popular dog walking haven Wimbledon Common, the Hand in Hand is London’s top voted doggy pub paradise. Water bowls readily available for passing thirsty hounds, poo-bags behind the bar in case a pooch is caught short, and a quiet room for sleepy, sensitive pups.
Christine, the Hand in Hand’s top dog said this about winning London’s vote:
“This means a huge amount to us – the core of our business is the thriving local canine community and to win an award for something we are absolutely passionate about is amazing.”
North East: Brandling Villa
The Brandling Villa, the winning dog-friendly pub in the North East, is the home of Geordie Chihuahua birthday parties, names tables after different dogs, and is conveniently located close to Jesmond Dene – a popular spot for dog walkers. We spoke to Dave and it’s pretty clear that he’s totally nuts about dogs in his pub.
“We’re chuffed to bits that we’ve won this award. My Beagle, Franco, likes to sit in the window and has become something of a favourite with the customers. We first introduced dog beer in 2012 alongside a menu, because Franco used to steal the pepparami’s when he was hungry. Since then we ditched tables numbers for our customer’s dogs’ names, we have dog lamps, and we keep our straws in a ceramic dog’s head.”
Northern Ireland: The Fullerton Arms
The Fullerton Arms, run by doggy loving dream team Geraldine and Sean, is officially Northern Ireland’s best dog-friendly pub of 2016. A short walk away from beautiful Causeway coastal paths and local interest point – a rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede National Trust site, this pub is the perfect getaway location. And you can take your dog along, too! Pooches are provided with water, treats, cuddles, and you can even stay in one of two dog-friendly rooms, which are handily close to the outdoors for doggy bathroom breaks.
We asked Sean what winning Northern Ireland’s award meant to him:
“We are absolutely delighted and have all tails-a-wagging here at The Fullerton Arms to hear the news. To win this award is a testament to our love for dogs and the hard work we put in to make sure that all dogs and their families are well looked after when they visit. We have embraced the dog-friendly ethos very strongly and we’ve met people and breeds of dog from all over the world since we launched in March 2016.”
North West: The Caledonia
The Caledonia is so well known for being dog-friendly that non-dog-owning regulars apparently arrive with pockets stuffed full of treats and chews, just so they have more chance of making friends with a four-legged punter. Close to the bustling, beating heart of Liverpool, The Caledonia neighbours the universities, enjoys a thriving music scene and attracts visitors from all around the globe.
When we told Caledonia proprietor Laura the news, we could almost hear the champagne corks popping:
“Woohoo! It’s really exciting to have been voted the best dog-friendly pub in the North West. A real pub, to me, is a hub for the community, and being dog-friendly is recognising that our patron’s pooches are absolutely part of that community experience.”
Scotland: The Earl of Marchmont
Kristie and Duncan are the dream team behind the bar at our Scottish winning dog-friendly pub. Self-proclaimed as a “wee pub in a village in the city” their dog-friendly menu including complimentary treats and Snuffle Dog Beer, nearby walking routes in the beautiful Meadows, and a charitable ethos have helped make this pub a favourite doggy destination.
Here’s how Kristie reacted to the being crowned Scotland’s best dog-friendly pub of 2016:
“We are very surprised and over the moon! Our philosophy is to treat dogs as part of the family… so we don’t assume that every dog is the same, deferring to the wishes of the owner in regards to water, treats, petting, even down to whether the dogs are fed from hand, on the floor, etc. We wouldn’t give a child a sweet without asking, so why treat dogs any differently?”
South East: The Fox & Hounds
The pub team at The Fox and Hounds really wanted to win – they mobilised locals, family members and regulars to hand out homemade voting slips! Since taking ownership of the pub back in the summer of 2015, Jayne and team have improved the pub’s longstanding dog-friendly credentials no end. Finding new ways to bring the local community together is clearly bread and butter to The Fox and Hounds – running dog shows to raise money for charities.
Here’s what self-declared crazy dog lady Jayne had to say when we broke the news:
“I am truly delighted on winning this award. Really excited and cannot wait to share the news with our guests and team. Not only do I adore dogs I actually love people too, so this is my dream job, looking after guests and dogs.”
South West: The Victoria Inn
Tim and Liz are proud proprietors of the relatively newly refurbished Victoria Inn, situated in picturesque Salcombe in Devon. The pub’s dog-friendly credentials are as long as a Greyhound’s tail; they have a menu especially for dogs (it’s rather wonderfully dubbed A La Bark), raise money for dog charities and serve Snuffle Dog Beer.
Here’s how Liz reacted when we told her the big news:
“Winning this awards means a lot for both Tim and me – winning any award is a thrill but to receive one for being dog-friendly is amazing. We have always taken a family friendly approach since taking over the pub eight years ago… we offer nice soft dog blankets, towels if they’re wet, and complimentary biscuits, clean water.”
Wales: The Poundffald Inn
Our Welsh Dog-Friendly Pub Awards regional winner is taking pub dog loving to new heights. Not only do landlady Alyson and her team offer a free Sunday lunch for dogs with tasty turkey or beef, she provides an in-pub dog grooming service, too. Puppy pampering while their parents enjoy a pint – sounds like doggy pub heaven to us!
Alyson was thrilled to hear the news:
“This award means so much. Dogs are family members and so deserve to be treated that way. So, dogs are allowed in the bar area and can enjoy some complimentary food on Sundays. I’m also an established dog groomer, so owners can bring their dogs to be pampered while they enjoy a couple of drinks and food in the pub. This means so much – I’m a big dog lover and owner of four myself, I want dog owners to have somewhere nice to relax with their four-legged family member.”
West Midlands: The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak in Evesham is located on the appropriately named Vine Street and is a short distance from the famously beautiful Cotswolds. Landlord Alistair, or Ally to regulars, provides free treats and takes good care of his ales – an important attribute to any pub, but particularly in this part of the world. Ally’s hard work has not gone unnoticed, either. Locals call this a ‘proper pub’ and it’s certainly got the credentials; a roaring fire, good food, tasty ales. What’s more, there are pig-ears snacks and doggy beer, and dogs and people alike can expect a warm welcome from resident pub dog Rudolph.
Winning this award seems to have made Ally’s day:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award especially as it’s voted for by our guests! Rudolph the pub dog (a one-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer) is over the moon at the prospect of more four-legged friends coming to play with him. I think being dog-friendly is more than just tolerating dogs, or allowing them inside the pub, it’s about making just as much effort to ensure they feel welcome as our two legged guests.”
Yorkshire: The Old Glen House
The Old Glen House in Shipley (just outside Bradford) goes above and beyond to make dogs and humans truly comfortable. Both two legged and four legged walkers can warm themselves by the fire in the winter, or enjoy the beer garden when the sun is shining, treats are provided behind the bar, and the team even provide dog beds! Landlord Ed and his team also understand that not everyone feels comfortable around dogs, so they have a separate dining room for visitors who like their eating space to be dog-free.
Here’s what Ed had to say for himself when we told him his pub had been voted best dog-friendly pub in Yorkshire:
“We are over the moon to hear we have won the regional award. This shows what great customer we have who have taken the time to vote. Being animal lovers ourselves and owning dogs we understand they are part of the family, the idea was to create a pub that we would love to visit with our dogs.”
Remember, the Dog-Friendly Pub Awards aren’t quite over yet – there’s plenty of excitement left to come. The judges have a few days to make a decision before we announce the overall winner. That’s right – one of the pubs we’ve listed above will also be picked – by our judges Ed Bedington, Lisa Richards, and Richard Setterwall to win the coveted title of DogBuddy Dog-Friendly Pub of the Year 2016. Who’s excited? We are!