HAVING had a beer in more than 50,000 pubs, Bruce Masters knows what makes the perfect boozer.
Now Bruce, who holds the Guinness World Record for visiting the most bars in Britain, has joined The Sun’s quest to find YOUR perfect pub.
Having had a beer in more than 50,000 pubs, Bruce Masters knows what makes the perfect boozer – and he’s listed them here[/caption]
We are asking you to nominate your favourite pub and tell us why. We’ll pick the best — and stick £1,000 behind the bar for a great night out.
This week we revealed how nearly 1,000 pubs closed down last year — so they need our support.
Bruce, 74, a retired railway accountant, tries to visit 20 pubs every week — and always goes by bus or train.
His latest outings took him to pubs in London and Essex. Married dad-of-three Bruce, from Flitwick, Beds, says: “We need to stop pubs suffering what happened to the railways in the Seventies. It’s really a case of use it or lose it.”
Since 1960 when he had his first pint for a shilling (that’s 5p kids), he has kept a spreadsheet of every boozer he has visited.
Today that total stands at 51,712. He says: “I do remember all the pubs I have been to, particularly the outside. I never forget the beer.”
Bruce rates every pub by its beer, the welcome customers receive — and the toilets.
He says: “You spend a lot of time in the toilets if you’ve been drinking.”
Here he shares 50 of his favourite boozers from his epic tour.
The top 50 boozers — is your local on the list?
1) OXFORD BAR, EDINBURGH: Not a particularly distinguished bar, but I visited it because it is the watering hole of detective John Rebus in Ian Rankin’s crime novels.
2) BON ACCORD, CHARING CROSS, GLASGOW: This early recruit to real ale in the centre of Glasgow has 800 different beers to try over the year. It also has 400 types of malt whisky. Well worth a visit.
3) SPLIT CHIMP, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE: Under the railway arches near Central Station, it is a good place to stop while waiting for your next train.
4) PRINCE OF WALES, FOXFIELD, CUMBRIA: Across the road from railway station – and because the trains are visible from quite a way, you can wait with your beer and still be on the platform in time.
5) MOTHER SHIPTON INN, KNARESBOROUGH, NORTH YORKS: One of the early pubs on my list. I visited this 15th century tavern near the famous Mother Shipton’s cave in 1972.
6) BIRCH HALL, BECK HOLE, NEAR GOATHLAND, NORTH YORKS: A pleasant Grade II listed pub, well worth finding after a steep walk from Goathland. The exercise is a great excuse for a refreshing beer.
A pleasant Grade II listed pub[/caption]
7) HOUSE OF TREMBLING MADNESS, YORK: Medieval ale house is now a craft beer specialist. I don’t stick to real ale all the time.
8) THE DRAKE, GOOLE, EAST YORKS: Former dock offices beautifully restored into a pub and small hotel which always serves six different beers. Nice pub, nice people, great ale.
9) JUBILEE REFRESHMENT ROOMS, SOWERBY BRIDGE, WEST YORKS: Another one near a railway station – just 15 seconds from the westbound platform. A bit longer if staggering back.
10) BEER BOX, BAMBER BRIDGE, LANCS: I paid a visit to this new micro pub near Preston two weeks ago. It was opened by three beer-loving friends just six months ago. Good on them.
11) THE LAKESIDE INN, SOUTHPORT, LANCS: This hidden gem once claimed to be Britain’s smallest pub. Excellent beer and popular with locals.
This hidden gem once claimed to be Britain’s smallest pub[/caption]
12) THE STEAMHOUSE, URMSTON, NR MANCHESTER: One of several pubs on stations in and around Manchester. Well worth a visit even if your train is on time.
13) THE SIGNAL BOX INN, CLEETHORPES, LINCS: It’s on the Cleethorpes coast light railway and is the smallest pub I have ever visited. There’s only room for six people and a barman – but it does have a beer garden.
14) THE CHIMNEYS, HOOTON, NR LIVERPOOL: Named because of its 17 chimneys, this rustic former gentlemen’s club serves great food and up to five real ales.
15) THREE TUNS, DRONFIELD, DERBYS: When I visited in 2012 there were gigantic pork pies on the counter for sale. Need I say more?
16) THE HOLLYBUSH, MAKENEY, DERBYS: A pleasant ale house not too far from the main road – that’s why it was popular with highwayman Dick Turpin. Three hundred years on, it is still as popular.
Popular with Dick Turpin[/caption]
17) SHROPPIE FLY, AUDLEM WHARF, CHESHIRE: I stopped at this pretty, timbered pub on the side of the Shropshire Union Canal during a canal holiday in 2010.
Pub on the side of the Shropshire Union Canal[/caption]
18) CHIP AND PIN, MELBOURNE, DERBYS: Owned by a group of locals who love real beer, this micro pub gets five-star ratings – including from me.
19)GREAT WESTERN, WOLVERHAMPTON: This pub near the station has long been an attraction for rail enthusiasts, football fans and real ale connoisseurs.
Another pub near a station[/caption]
20) THE PLOUGH INN, WISTANSTOW, STAFFS: Since I visited this pub in 2006 it has become a Wood’s Brewery Tap. The staff are really friendly and serve excellent beer and food at reasonable prices.
21) THE WHERRY, GELDESTON, NORFOLK: Had a very pleasant local ale at this waterside pub near Beccles while waiting for a bus.
22) TURF TAVERN, BLOXWICH, WEST MIDS: This hostelry near Walsall is another time warp pub, run by two pleasant ladies when I visited in 1998. Don’t let the ordinary-looking exterior stop you going into this great little boozer.
Don’t let the ordinary-looking exterior stop you going into this great little boozer[/caption]
23) THE KINGS HEAD, LAXFIELD, SUFFOLK: Also known as The Low House. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time. You can imagine farm workers of the past letting off steam here after a day toiling in the fields.
Stepping inside is like stepping back in time[/caption]
24) CROOKED HOUSE, GORNAL WOOD, WEST MIDS: Makes the leaning Tower of Pisa look vertical. If the walls appear to be straight, you have had too much to drink.
25) LIVE & LET LIVE, BRINGSTY COMMON, WORCS: Located in the middle of a common, so you will feel like a few beers by the time you walk there.
HUNT FOR BEST PUB
DOES your local have brilliant booze, fab food and friendly staff? Let us know in our hunt for Britain’s Best Pub. Our judges will pick a winner – and The Sun will put £1,000 behind the bar to celebrate. To enter, tell us the pub name and, in less than 200 words, what makes it special.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Britain’s Best Pub, Sun Features, News UK, 1 London Bridge Street, SE1 9GF. Competition closes at 23.59 on Friday, May 17. Entrants must live in the UK and be 18+. The co-operation of the landlord/manager of the successful pub is essential. Editor’s decision is final. Full T&Cs apply. See thesun.co.uk/toppub
26) OLD TICKET OFFICE, CAMBRIDGE: Opened last year at Cambridge Railway Station. Plenty of train memorabilia and good beer.
27) THE COCK INN, BRENT ELEIGH, SUFFOLK: A quality local in a lovely village. Spent time here with friends who love real ale.
28) THE SWAN, FLITWICK, BEDS: My local, I have been going there since 1984. I like to because everybody knows everybody else.
Everybody knows everybody else[/caption]
29) TURMUT-HOER, ABBEYMEAD, GLOUCS: I chose this restaurant and pub because of its unique name, which comes from a poem that they have displayed on the wall.
30) TURF TAVERN, OXFORD: This compact historic hostelry is well hidden, tucked up a back street, and is popular with students.
Popular with students[/caption]
31) NORTH STAR, STEVENTON, OXON: At this small country inn, beer is dispensed from a serving hatch, rather than a bar.
32)MAD SQUIRREL TAP, BERKHAMSTED, HERTS: This is the tap room of the Mad Squirrel brewery, which has pubs in several Hertfordshire towns.
33) TASTE, PORT TALBOT, SOUTH WALES: I autographed the entrance door when I visited in July last year. You get a real Welsh welcome.
34) HOPBUNKER, QUEEN STREET, CARDIFF: This bar near Cardiff Castle sells up to 15 types of great beer and has proper cider, too.
35) RADNOR ARMS, COLESHILL, NR SWINDON: Couldn’t get a bus when I went in 1999 but it was worth the long walk.
36) THE SWAN, LITTLE TOTHAM, ESSEX: Not well served by public transport but the walk to this quaint boozer from Great Totham gives you a thirst.
Worth the walk to this great pub[/caption]
37) BUTT & OYSTER, PIN MILL, SUFFOLK: This pub beside the River Orwell that runs up to Ipswich is a bit off the beaten track but worth seeking out.
Pub beside the River Orwell that runs up to Ipswich[/caption]
38) THE GUN, SPITALFIELDS, EAST LONDON: It is good to be able to report on a pub reopening. The Gun, which had been around in some form since the 1500s, closed in 2015 but opened again in a new building with three real ales and lots of craft beers.
39) THE PAPER MILL, SITTINGBOURNE, KENT: A little gem I only discovered this month. Serves good real ale and is worth supporting.
40) BUTCHERS ARMS, HERNE, KENT: In Herne – not Herne Bay – this was the first micropub to open. Could they have known what a great movement they would be starting?
41) RAILWAY HOTEL, FAVERSHAM, KENT: Another boozer across from a train station. Interesting railway pictures as well as good beer at this 150-year-old bar and hotel.
42) THOMAS TALLIS ALEHOUSE, CANTERBURY, KENT: Opened three years ago but manages to look long-established. Has more than 30 beers at any one time.
43) HOPE & ANCHOR, MIDFORD, SOMERSET: Tucked off the bus route from Bath or Frome. Serves good real ale.
44) TUCKER’S GRAVE INN, FAULKLAND, SOMERSET: This unique pub near Radstock, unchanged since World War One, is named after a 17th-century farm worker who hanged himself.
45) HALFWAY HOUSE, PITNEY, SOMERSET: My visit, while changing buses, was short but I still had time to enjoy one of the good range of real ales.
46) LETHBRIDGE ARMS, BISHOPS LYDEARD, SOMERSET: I popped in here for a quick pint in 1997 before the last bus home but it made a lasting impression.
47) ROYAL OAK, HOOKSWAY, SUSSEX: In 1972 I found this pub in a pleasant valley, down a steep lane off the road from Petersfield to Chichester. Still great today.
Down a steep lane off the road from Petersfield to Chichester[/caption]
48) OLD STAR ALE & CIDER HOUSE, SHOREHAM-BY-SEA, WEST SUSSEX: Serves real ale and cider in over-size glasses – so don’t worry about getting a short measure.
49) LUPPITT INN, LUPPITT, NR HONITON, DEVON: This quaint pub is in the front room of a working farmhouse. It only sells Otter beer drawn from the cask. No spirits.
50) OLD INN, WIDECOMBE, DEVON: Have twice visited this Dartmoor pub and have twice enjoyed the food.
Twice visited – twice enjoyed[/caption]