Pubs crowned joint Bar of the Year 2014

Landlord Chris Wilbraham and his wife and landlady Alex with the Best Bar Winners' certificate and plaque for their Holly Bush Inn pub in Milford.
Landlord Chris Wilbraham and his wife and landlady Alex with the Best Bar Winners' certificate and plaque for their Holly Bush Inn pub in Milford.
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Last orders has been called, the race to enter nominations for the best local bar are over - and the winners of Belper News’s Bar for the Year 2014 can be revealed.

In fact, the competition was so tight that two watering holes are to share the title.

Nick Gourley and Jo Foulke with their Best Bar Winners' certificate at their Fisherman's Rest pub in Belper which Nick co-owns with Andrew Leonard.

Nick Gourley and Jo Foulke with their Best Bar Winners' certificate at their Fisherman's Rest pub in Belper which Nick co-owns with Andrew Leonard.

Since the competition opened in October the paper has received countless nominations and glowing praise for all your favourite boozers.

But top of the pile and presented with Best Bar awards, are the Holly Bush Inn, in Makeney, and the Fisherman’s Rest on Broadholme Lane.

Editor of the Belper News, Graeme Huston said the competition hoped to acknowledge that a bar was not just somewhere to get a drink.

He said: “Our pubs also serve as community and social hubs in people’s neighbourhoods, and this is what we want to celebrate.”

Landlord of Holly Bush Inn, Chris Wilberham said he was flattered by the award.

He added: “To be voted for by the public and not by an organisation is a great honour because it means we are appreciated by the people who use us.”

Managers, staff and punters all sent in nominations stating why they thought their local was the best around, and praise for the historic country pub was overwhelming.

The pub was once described in the national media as the closest thing you can find to an ‘ideal’ pub in the whole country, and is loved for retaining it’s aged character.

Nick Gourley, new owner of the Fisherman’s Rest said: “We bought the pub from Marston’s in October so we are very proud to be nominated by our punters already.

“It is an honour to share the podium with a pub that has so much heritage and such a place in the community.”

With his partner Andrew Leonard and familiar face Jo Foulke still behind the bar, the trio aimed to save the pub was numerous establishments have been falling in the area over the past few years, so to keep it going as a proper English pub was important to them.

“Jo is loved by our customers and she is an integral part of the pub, the three of us want to maintain the essence of a traditional pub,” added Nick.