Cricketers couple are bowled over

Just five years after it was boarded up for closure, The Cricketers Arms in St Helens, has been named the best pub in Britain by the Campaign for Real Ale.

When brave owners Andy and Denise Evans took over the running of the Peter Street boozer in 2013, it was boarded up and hadn’t served cask ale since the 1980s. But with a range of initiatives they turned its fortunes around and The Cricketers Arms is now a well-established local community pub where everyone is here for the beer: 13 locally sourced cask ales and up to 20 ciders in the summer.

Receiving their prestigious award today, the couple revealed plans to open a microbrewery there in the next few months, so don’t be surprised to see hordes of bearded hipsters on the 10 bus as it sails through Page Moss and beyond. Customers, meanwhile, will be tasked with naming the pub’s beers. 

Andy and Denise pick up a regional CAMRA award for the pub in 2016

Andy said: “We are over the moon to be named the top pub in the country after just a few short years of renovations. We’ve done everything we can to make this a welcoming community pub and still have exciting developments ahead of us. 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. We are very proud to be part of the cask ale scene and look forward to celebrating with our locals.”

Visitors regularly take part in a social nights including beer festivals, dominoes, jam nights, pub quizzes, karaoke and pool teams, and can sample something harder at a new whiskey and gin bar.

The Cricketers Arms regularly wins local CAMRA awards, but this is the first time it has won a national title. 

Paul Ainsworth, CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year coordinator said: “After winning the regional award in both 2015 and 2016, it's a well deserved third time lucky for the Cricketers to be named CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year.

“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.”