A PUB in Cheshire West which had been described as a 'lost cause' has been named the best overall pub in Britain at the Great British Pub Awards.

A new entrant for 2023, The Cholmondeley Arms, affectionately known to locals as ‘The Chum’, has been named Great British Pub of the Year and named number one ‘Country/Rural Pub’.

Owners Tim Bird and Mary Maclaughlin attribute this double victory and the pub’s continued success to the team’s sheer enthusiasm and passion.

The couple own six pubs including The Chum and since taking it over in 2011, Tim and Mary have carried out significant restoration and refurbishment work to the former schoolhouse, creating the charm, character, and atmosphere the pub offers today.

Tim Bird, owner of Cholmondeley Arms which is just shy of 10 miles south of Tarporley, said: "After all these years together, it means the world. When we opened, I said we can be a beacon of hope for rural pubs but now we can be an ambassador as the pub of the year for Great Britain. For the team, this is just amazing. Helen [the pub’s general manager] has worked at the Cholmondeley for 12 years and she is the epitome of what our pubs should be. I am so proud."

Northwich Guardian: The bar at The Chum.The bar at The Chum. (Image: Great British Pub Awards)

On what makes a pub of the year, Bird said consistency over a long period was key. Bird, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said he was "elated" to have won both the overall pub of the year and the rural categories at this year’s awards, but that all the finalists were "amazing".

The country pub also offers a unique menu, made from locally sourced produce, including its very own renowned hand-crafted steak and kidney pie and ‘Cholmondeley Mess’. A bespoke drinks list including the pub's very own spirit the ‘Cholmondeley Arms Gin’, is the jewel in its impressive menu of 366 gins.

Northwich Guardian:

The Chum also offers country escapes in the ‘Old Headmasters House’, which has six newly refurbished rooms.

Ed Bedington, chair of judges for the Great British Pub Awards, said: "We’re delighted to be revealing the best pubs in the country. These businesses are pubs to cherish and support and I’d urge anyone to get out and visit these outstanding operations.

"We've recognised pubs of all types and characters, from community champions to high end food, entertainment focused through to pubs that embrace all the family, even the dog. These are the businesses that really set the standards for others to follow.

"Our overall winner, the Cholmondeley Arms, represents the pinnacle of all our winners – this is a pub that has a wow factor that impresses anyone that crosses the threshold. Impeccably run, this is a business that will offer a warm welcome to all visitors and give them an experience that will be impossible to beat."

Mr Bedington continues: "The pub industry has undergone some significant challenges in the last few years, with the pandemic, followed by an energy crisis, rising inflation and a cost of living crisis on top.

"Despite that, our winning pubs continue to adapt and flex to meet those challenges and continue to provide vital services to local communities, the opportunity for friends and families to gather and celebrate, as well as remaining key employers within the areas they operate.

"Pubs are part of the fabric of our society and these winning pubs are the ambassadors that continue to show the important role pubs play in our social and economic worlds."

The winners of the Great British Pub Awards 2023:

Best City/Urban Pub- The Turks Head, Twickenham London

Best Country/Rural Pub- Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire

Best Pub for Food- The Loch and The Tyne, Berkshire

Best Pub for Dogs- The Bellflower, Lancashire

Best Pub for Families- The Plough Normanton on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire

Best Pub for Entertainment- The Kings Arms, Bexleyheath London

Best Pub Garden- Gaggle of Geese, Dorchester

Best Pub to Watch Sport- The Royal Dyche, Lancashire

Best Sustainable Pub- Stroud Brewery Taproom, Gloucester

Community Hero- The Old Abbey Taphouse, Manchester

Admiral Pub of the Year- Boot & Shoe, West Yorkshire

Stonegate Pub of the Year- The Woodman, Greater London

Greene King Pub of the Year- The Stag, Hampshire

Marston’s Pub of the Year- Rose & Crown, Worcestershire

Punch Pub of the Year- The Plough, Prestbury

Great British Pub of the Year- The Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire