Pub of the Year

Amber Valley - Pub Of The Year 2017

Winners - White Hart, Bargate

A judging process which started back in November 2016 saw members of Amber Valley CAMRA nominate up to 5 of their favourite watering holes. The shortlist of 8 pubs with the most nominations were visited by volunteer judges during the months of December and January and judged on CAMRA core principles. The outstanding winner this year was the White Hart, Bargate who picked up the title for the first time. The presentation was made to Sean and team on Monday 13th March by Amber Valley CAMRA Chairman, Chris Rogers. The White Hart was commended for its choice of well kept beers, friendly and knowledgeable staff complemented with a clean and stylish decor.

Runners Up - Holly Bush, Makeney

Pub of the Year winner in 2015 and runner up in the 2014 and 2016 competitions, the Holly Bush at Makeney were again awarded a certificate for second place.  This is no mean feat in itself considering the branch area has over a hundred pubs serving real ale to choose from.  The standout characteristic that was scored by the judges was the welcoming atmosphere and surroundings, brought on by the charm of the building and the roaring fires no doubt. The beer choice is pretty good too.


Amber Valley - Pub Of The Year 2016

Winners - Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse

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After finishing either runner up or third place in recent years, the Old Oak has finally risen to the top.  Congratulations go to Tracey and her team for such great consistency having been at the forefront of the real ale scene in area for a long time.  We are very pleased that they made it through the South Derbyshire round of the competition and are now competing for the regional East Midlands crown.  We wish them the best of luck in the next round. 

Runners Up - Holly Bush, Makeney

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Sadly, the Holly Bush were unable to quite repeat their success of the previous year but credit must go to Chris, Alex and their team for another closely fought contest.   


Amber Valley - Pub of The Year 2015

Winners - Holly Bush, Makeney

Congratulations to the Holly Bush at Makeney who have won the Amber Valley CAMRA Pub of the Year Competition for 2015 and will now go through to the Derbyshire Pub of the Year Competition.  The runners up were the Black Bull’s Head at Openwoodgate who have won the competition for the last two years and third place went to the Old Oak at Horsley Woodhouse.

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The Holly Bush is a well-deserved winner, having been a longstanding favourite in the area.  It is a Free House and it is claimed that Dick Turpin drank there, but in these times it is still a fine pub to while away an hour or three. There are multiple drinking areas and the whole pub oozes character, with open fires in the winter and a beer garden in the summer. The beer is pretty good too, with a rotating range on six handpumps plus Pedigree from the jug and there are always at least two real ciders, served in excellent condition. The homemade pies are also well worth trying.


Amber Valley - Pub of The Year 2014

Another closely run contest with twenty judges visiting the eight shortlisted pubs. Building on their success of last year its a repeat performance for Nicky and Andy.

Winners - Black Bulls Head, Openwoodgate

We are pleased to announce this year's winner is The Black Bulls Head at Openwoodgate. Congratulations go to Nicky and Andy and their hard working team for back-to-back wins.

Runners Up - Holly Bush Inn, Makeney


Amber Valley - Pub of The Year 2013

This year a total of seventeen judges assessed the eight shortlisted pubs over an eight week period. It was another competitive year with more quality pubs than ever before competing for the title.

Winners - Black Bulls Head, Openwoodgate

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We are pleased to announce this year's winner is The Black Bulls Head at Openwoodgate. Congratulations go to Nicky and Andy and their hard working team.   Following a major redecoration, an overhaul of the cellar and restoration of the open fire, they have transformed the pub iIn just over 12 months .  They have taken a unloved, forgotten ex-Greene Pub to unfamiliar new heights and raised the bar for standards in our area.

Runners Up - Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse

Runners up for the third year running is the Old Oak at Horsley Woodhouse which continues to to be at the forefront of the real ale scene in our area.

Last year's winner the Hunter Arms came third.


Amber Valley - Pub of The Year 2012

A dozen competition judges assessed the nine Pub of the Year finalists, which had been nominated by Amber Valley CAMRA members, on a broad criteria over a five week period.  Following another extremely competitive year of judging, we are proud to announce our winner and runner up of our Pub of the Year for 2012.  Its two very familiar pubs, both thoroughly deserving and both having finished in the same positions as the previous year.

Winner - Hunter Arms, Kilburn

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From abandonment to consecutive Amber Valley CAMRA Pub of the Year awards; that's the stunning success story of the Hunter Arms, Kilburn.

As recently as 2009, the pub was closed with little sign of it ever reopening. Fortunately, for the residents of Kilburn and beyond, charismatic Canadian Mark Showers and his wife, London born Paula, who had originally met in 1990, stepped in to buy the striking Victorian inn, and to its flagging fortunes.

After landscaping of the garden and a thorough clean-up, the pub was soon thriving. After re-establishing the pub's customer base with a mouth-watering range of beers frequently featuring Blue Monkey, Thornbridge and Oakham breweries the successful turnaround was complete.  This resulted in not one, but two Amber Valley CAMRA Pub of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012

After this year's presentation, a beaming Mark said "given the stiff competition, I'm delighted to receive this recognition, especially as it's the second such award. It's been made possible by the hard work of Paula and our dedicated staff."

Runners Up - Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse

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The runner up, the Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse, has been at the forefront of the local real ale scene for longer than the Hunter's, with the weekly mini beer festival that is the RuRad bar continuing to attract custom from far and wide. Richard and Tracey Creighton have been justly rewarded for their hard work and enterprise at a homely pub that offers excellent value for money.

The pub has been runners up in both 2011 and 2012 narrowly missing out on both occasions.  It will no doubt be strong competition again in 2013.

Both pubs are serviced by the Amber Line bus route with stops conveniently situated right outside.