Roll out the barrel and raise your glasses, as we announce the winners of the Wakefield Express Pub of the Year.
Whether it’s the quality of the beer, or maybe the food, the ambience and atmosphere or even the price, plenty of punters took the time to vote for their favourite in this year’s competition.
But there could only be one winner and this year’s award goes to Harry’s Bar.
Tucked away off Westgate, in the city centre, its victory should perhaps come as no surprise after having taken several coveted awards, including the Campaign For Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Pub of the Year in 2014 and Pub of the Season titles.
The pub, which has been open for more than a decade, has become a mecca for beer fans with a huge selection of locally-brewed beers.
Run by Louise Waters, she was overjoyed by the latest title.
She said: “It was unexpected but we are really happy to have won. It’s the real ale that attracts people here and we get a lovely clientèle here. It’s just a really lovely place to be, we have some great regulars and we support local breweries.”
The Fox and Hounds in Newmillerdam were the runners up.
While the Barnsley Road pub has become popular with diners and drinkers alike, manager Mandy Wilkinson insists listening to the customers has been the secret to their success.
The pub even stages it’s own pantomimes, turning the usually-busy bar into a makeshift theatre to rasie money for charity.
And they are set to stage their third pantomime in the coming weeks due to popular demand.
Mandy said:“We’re one of the first pubs to ever do this and a lot of effort goes into it.”
“Our strengths are that we are very customer focussed, they come first, and if they are happy, we are happy.
“We’re often very busy, it’s top class working here, the staff enjoy working here and I love it.”
Finally, this year’s third place prize proved a close one with nothing separating The Hop on Wakefield’s Bank Street and The Star Inn on Netherton Lane, Netherton.
Always popular among beer drinkers, The Hop, of course, belongs to the Ossett Brewery and has been at the centre of the real-ale revolution down the years.
For Andy Makepeace, manager at the Star Inn, the news of his pub’s podium place has also been warmly welcomed.
Like all Sam Smith’s brewery-owned pubs, it goes back to basics with no music or TV, just good old-fashioned pub values.
Andy said: “This has come out of the blue, we were top 10 last year and it’s just nice to be recognised.
“It’s a community village pub but we get people coming in from all over.”