In the United Kingdom, pubs are more than just drinking establishments, they’re a lifestyle. Just look at the person dedicated enough to create a map of the shortest route to 24,727 pubs in the UK. In 2008, one of those pubs, the George & Dragon in Hudswell, closed due to bankruptcy and didn’t open again until regulars banded together and raised enough money to reopen it in 2010. Now it’s been voted the best bar in the UK.
The pub’s story of village staple, to victim of the Great Recession, to the UK’s top bar is like a drinking man’s fairy tale. After the pub closed, a community of regulars raised £220,000 to buy the pub back from the debt collectors. Then it was renovated, and once again, Hudswell had a place to gather and down a couple pints.
CAMRA’s best pub competition looked at 52,200 pubs in 2017. The George and Dragon is one of 70 community run pubs, and CAMRA’s judges voted it in part because of its “warm and welcoming atmosphere and strong community ethos.”
“The George & Dragon is a great example of how a pub has been resurrected as a true community asset,” Paul Ainsworth, CAMRA’s coordinator for pub of the year finalist, told The Guardian. “To go from closed doors to winning national pub of the year in just a few short years is a fantastic achievement for any pub – and all the more impressive for one that is cooperatively owned.”
This is one pub true pub lovers don’t want to miss — for the story or for the community and beer.