Four northern pubs made the top 10 - but which ones?
Northern restaurants made up almost half the top ten in last night’s announcement of the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastro Pubs 2020.
Food critics, hospitality experts and chefs from all over the UK vote in their hundreds to put together this list of the ultimate pubs with the most impressive grub.
Steven Smith’s Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire was the highest rated gastropub in the north maintaining its very respectable No.3. position. Recently refurbed to provide beautiful animal-themed rooms, The Freemasons is a firm favourite of several of the Confidentials team - it’s also in the top ten of our Top 100 restaurants in the North. Lancastrian Steve's cooking is rooted in the traditional recipes of his home county while cleverly flirting with world flavours.
Current menu highlights include Herdwick lamb kebab cooked yakatori style with miso aubergine, mint & yoghurt or salt aged duck breast & leg meat spring roll, puree & spiced January King cabbage with rhubarb hoisin. Essential eating always is Steve's outrageous lamb fat brioche.
The Star Inn in the pretty village of Harome near Helmsley in North Yorkshire is No.4 in the list having maintained its top five position for over 20 years. Chef-patron Andrew Pern is well-loved by the locals - there’s even a special menu named for them - and he prides himself in rustling up beautiful dishes using ‘God’s own produce’ from the Yorkshire larder.
Back in Lancs, Stosie Madi’s Parkers Arms continues to rise having shot up the list from 48th to 13th in 2017 and now parked at No.7 in 2020. Another Confidentials’ favourite at 15 in our Top 100 restaurants in the North. We love this unpretentious pub with its perfect pies and endlessly creative menus that make use of the glorious bounty that the surrounding Newton in Bowland has to offer.
Endlessly modest, Northcote alumni Tom Parker at The White Swan at Fence has been showered with attention since bagging a Michelin star back in 2018 (maintained in 2019). It’s the fourth northern restaurant in the top ten, swanning in at No.9 having moved up the ranks ten spots since it first joined the list in 2018. It’s also one of the more affordable options on the list with two courses for just £30 and three for £40.
Northern English pubs make up just under a quarter of the list with 11 of the top 50 spots. Apart from the four pubs in the top ten there are three in the top 20: The Angel at Hetton (11), The Staith House in North Shields (13) and The Rat Inn (15) in Northumberland. The rest of the list includes The Pipe and Glass Inn, Dalton (24), The Black Bull Sedbergh (26), The Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne (30) and Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax (41).
The list in full
1 - The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London
2 - The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent
3 - The Freemasons, Wiswell, Lancashire
4 - The Star Inn, Harome, York
5 - The Coach, Marlowe, Buckinghamshire
6 - The Compasses Inn, Canterbury, Kent
7 - The Parkers Arms, Clitheroe, Lancashire
8 - The Pony and Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol
9 - The White Swan at Fence, Burnley, Lancashire
10 - The Guinea Grill, Mayfair, London
11 - The Angel at Hetton, Skipton, Yorkshire
12 - The Hand and Flowers, Marlowe, Buckinghamshire
13 - The Staith House, North Shields, Northumberland
14 - The Marksman, Hackney, London
15 - The Rat Inn, Hexham, Northumberland
16 - The Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon
17 - The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent
18 - The Crown at Burchetts Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire
19 - The Hardwick in Abergavenny, Wales
20 - The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire
21 - The Red Lion and Sun, Highgate, London
22 - The Drapers Arms, Islington, London
23 - The Mariners, Rock, North Cornwall
24 - The Pipe and Glass, South Dalton, East Yorkshire
25 - The Beehive, Maidenhead, Berkshire
26 - The Black Bull, Sedburgh, Cumbria
27 - The Olive Branch, Clipsham, Rutland
28 - The Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
29 - The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge, Suffolk
30 - The Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle
31 - The Swan, Bampton, Devon
32 - Tim Allen's Flitch of Bacon, Little Dunmow, Essex
33 - St Tudy Inn, Bodmin, Cornwall
34 - The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk
35 - The Canton Arms, Stockwell, London
36 - The Oxford Blue, Windsor, Berkshire
37 - Scran and Scallie, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
38 - Anchor and Hope, Waterloo, London
39 - The French House, Soho, London
40 - The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire
41 - The Shibden Mill, Fold, Halifax
42 - The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire
43 - The Charlton Arms, Ludlow, Shropshire
44 - The White Post, Yeovil, Somerset
45 - The Gunton Arms, Norwich, Norfolk
46 - The Royal Oak Paley Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire
47 - The Bell in Langford, near Burford
48 - The Cadeleigh Arms, Cadleigh, Tiverton
49 - The Dog at Wingham, Canterbury, Kent
50 - The Five Bells Inn, Cullompton, Devon