The Cricketers Arms has been named Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) five years after it had been boarded up for closure.
When owners Andy and Denise Evans took over the running of the pub in St Helens, Merseyside, in 2013, it was boarded up and hadn’t served cask ale since the 1980s. The Cricketers Arms is now a community pub with a selection of 13 locally-sourced cask ales, and won Camra’s regional award in 2015 and 2016.
Paul Ainsworth, Camra’s National Pub of the Year coordinator, said: “In less than five years, Andy and Denise have converted a boarded-up pub on the brink of closure into a true destination pub for beer lovers across the country. What impressed me the most is that the Cricketers is a genuine community pub where people from all walks of life come together to socialise.
“It is a shining example of how a pub, which seems destined for closure, can have its fortunes turned around when in the right hands.”
Owner Andy Evans said: “We are over the moon to be named the top pub in the country after just a few short years of renovations. As well as expanding the beers available, we created a beer garden and put greens in the ground, and have big plans to install a microbrewery this year.”
Runners-up in the competition include the Wigan Central in Wigan, the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft and the Weavers Real Ale House in Kidderminster.
Pubs are selected by Camra volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, community focus and, most importantly, the quality of beer.