Over 20 northern pubs made the top 100, but who's in the top 50?

The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2021 has been announced. There are twelve pubs representing the North of England in the Top 50 with a total of 22 in the Top 100. 

The guide is highly regarded in the industry and pubs are chosen by a panel that includes hospitality industry experts, food writers and chefs (although they can’t vote for themselves, obviously). 

Exciting dishes like North Sea octopus, slow-braised and ‘roasted over coals’ with goose fat white bean whip, fried black cabbage, Ilkley chorizo, Rooke’s spud and vintage malt vinegar showcase its brilliance

Like the Michelin awards 2021, this year’s announcement has been delayed by several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The awards were held in an online ceremony presented by TV presenter and Masterchef winner Angellica Bell.

Inclusion in the list will be a welcome boost to gastropubs across the UK, many of whom will be opening their doors for outside drinking and dining on 12 April. And boy, have we missed them. 

Who are the movers and shakers this year?

Andrew Pern Chef At The Star Inn Harome Number Two In Top 50 Gastropubs 2021
Andrew Pern of The Star Inn Harome

Which northern pubs made the top ten in the 50 Best Gastropubs 2021?

In 2020 there were four northern pubs in the top ten, this year that’s down to three.

The Star Inn, Harome, which has held steady in the list for over 20 years now, is the highest-ranking pub in the North this year, grabbing the #2 spot. Chef patron Andrew Pern's gastropub tweeted how great it was to be "runner up". Exciting dishes like North Sea octopus, slow-braised and ‘roasted over coals’ with goose fat white bean whip, fried black cabbage, Ilkley chorizo, Rooke’s spud and vintage malt vinegar showcase its brilliance.

The pie-tastic Parkers Arms - presided over by the inimitable Stosie Madi - also moved up the list to the #4 position, up three places from last year’s seventh place. Parkers has been doing a roaring trade in cook-at-home dinner boxes featuring its fantastic pies, homely puddings and, above all, glorious local produce but we can't wait to go back and enjoy it in real life very soon.

Steven Smith’s Freemasons at Wiswell came in at #6 a slight drop from its peak at No.3 last year but still very respectable. Set among the rolling countryside of the Ribble Valley, Mr Smith has been doing takeaways of fish n chips, Sunday dinner and American classic during lockdown but we'll be heading for those hills again ASAP to enjoy his lobster stuffed courgette flowers and that signature 'hot dog'.

The Bull and Bear’s Tom Kerridge has two pubs in the top ten, The Hand & Flowers and The Coach. A reminder to go back and check out the new menu when the former Stock Exchange’s restaurant reopens.

Which other northern pubs feature in the top 50 for 2021?

Still going strong in the top twenty, the wonderful Angel at Hetton moves down a spot from last year to #12. The Rat Inn, Northumberland moved up to #14 from #15. The Pipe and Glass Inn, Dalston, South Yorkshire moved up several places from #24 to #21. The White Swan at Fence fell down the list from 9 to 23 (but it’s still one of our favourites). Over in the North East, The Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne dropped from #30 to #36. 

A very well deserved new entry to the list is The Moorcock Inn, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire at #39. We can heartily concur that this inventive, eco-conscious pub is very much worth the drive. Two more new entries this year we’ve yet to visit are #42 The Dog and Gun, Penrith and #45 The Black Swan, Kirkby Steven, both in Cumbria. The Shibden Mill in Halifax fell to #48 from last year’s #41.

Unfortunately, some Northern venues on last year’s list have fallen out of the top 50 for 2021, these are The Staith House, North Shields, Northumberland which was sitting pretty at #13 last year and is now at #54 and The Black Bull, Sedburgh, Cumbria which was at #26 and is now #60.

Other northern gastropubs in the top 100 include The Hare Inn, Helmsley, Thirsk #61, The Hovingham Inn, Hovingham, York #64, The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside, Cumbria #65, The Cartford Inn, Preston, Lancashire #67, The Roebuck Inn, Knutsford, Cheshire #70, The Pack Horse, Hayfield, High Peak #76, The Fox and Barrel, Tarporley, Cheshire #80, The Sandpiper Inn, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, #81 The Higher Buck, near Clitheroe, Lancashire #92 and The Bridge Tavern, Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne #96 - you can see the rest of the top 100 gastropubs here.

2020 10 26 Pack Horse Scotch Egg
If you don't do a good scotch egg, are you even a gastropub? Gordo enjoyed his from The Pack Horse, Hayfield

Congratulations to all those included. It’s a fantastic list and for us, it does the job of an I-Spy book to check off the ones we’ve visited and make plans to go the rest. But which northern gastropubs do you think are missing from the list this year?

Either way, we’re looking forward to heading back to pubs with our coats on for a drink and a bite to eat outside from 12 April.

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Full list: The Top 50 Gastropubs 2021

1 The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent

2 The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire

3 The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London

4 Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire

5 The Mariners, Rock, Cornwall

6 Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe, Lancashire

7 The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

8 The Compasses Inn, Canterbury, Kent

9 The Coach, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

10 The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge, Suffolk

11 The Beehive, White Waltham, Berkshire

12 The Angel at Hetton, Skipton, Yorkshire

13 The Kentish Hare, Bidborough, Kent

14 The Rat Inn, Hexham, Northumberland

15 The Guinea Grill, Mayfair, London

16 The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent

17 The Crown, Maidenhead, Berkshire

18 The Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon

19 The Drapers Arms, Islington, London

20 The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire

21 The Pipe and Glass Inn, Dalston, South Yorkshire

22 The Three Hills, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire

23 The White Swan at Fence, Burnley, Lancashire

24 The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

25 The Olive Branch, Rutland, East Midlands

26 The Scran & Scallie, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

27 The Hardwick, Abergavenny, Wales

28 The Anchor & Hope, Waterloo, London

29 The Marksman, Hackney, London

30 The Charlton Arms, Ludlow, Shropshire

31 The Duncombe Arms, Ellastone, Ashbourne

32 Pyne Arms, Barnstaple, Devon

33 The French House, Soho, London

34 The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire

35 The Red Lion & Sun, Highgate, London

36 The Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

37 The Cadeleigh Arms, Cadeleigh Devon

38 The Pheasant Inn, Hungerford, Berkshire

39 The Moorcock Inn, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire

40 The Royal, St Leonard’s On Sea, East Sussex

41 The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon, Wales

42 The Dog and Gun, Penrith, Cumbria

43 The Duck Inn, King’s Lynn, Norfolk

44 The Masons Arms, South Molton, Devon

45 The Black Swan, Kirkby Steven, Cumbria

46 The Wheatsheaf, Greetham, Rutland

47 The Bull & Last, Highgate, London

48 Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax, West Yorkshire

49 The Gunton Arms, Norwich, Norfolk

50 The Swan, Bampton, Devon