Ashbourne's 2018 pub of the year is the Smith's Tavern on St Johns Street, according to the town's beer lovers.

The annual search for the area's best boozer is carried out by the Ashbourne & District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, and members awarded the gong to the Smith's Tavern.
Last year's Pub of the Year, Artisan, also on St Johns Street, came in a close second with the Okeover Arms taking third place.

Members drew up a sort list of their favourite pubs and visited each one, individually and in groups, and scored each pub on the quality of the beer, its welcome, its atmosphere and other factors.

Also on the shortlist was the Barley Mow, Kirk Ireton, the Shoulder of Mutton at Osmaston and the Sycamore at Parwich. 

A VILLAGE pub and hotel has been renovated and reopened by a team who are establishing a reputation for transforming the fortunes of unloved watering holes.

The Cow, in Dalbury Lees, is the first project undertaken by the newly-formed Cow Hotels group, which is operated by the same team who brought the Cock Inn at Mugginton back to life and turned the Horseshoes in Long Lane into a roaring success.

As part of the transformation of the pub, formerly known as the Black Cow, bosses will be unveiling 12 newly-decorated and furnished guest rooms alongside a restored bar and restaurant.

Doors opened at the reborn venue on Thursday, following months of planning and an extensive build and renovation programme which has seen the building’s original features retained, revealed and restored.

Cow Hotels Ltd’s managing director, Howard Thacker, said: “We are continually asked to recommend high quality accommodation in the area and therefore decided it was time to make the offer ourselves. “As luck would have it one of my oldest and best pals happened to own this delightful property, it was the perfect site for our concept.

“After nearly a year of planning and building works The Cow is now born.” The en-suite rooms now feature the latest technology, including free Wi-Fi, revolutionary “open key” door systems and smart TVs.

Alongside the rooms, the property boasts a warm, convivial dining restaurant and a cosy bar area, which has been stripped back to reveal the heritage and character of the old building. Wood-burners and a wide selection of real ales add to the British inn feel.

The Cow is offering a menu of locally-sourced food and a wine list from the UK’s oldest wine merchant, Corney and Barrow. Howard said: “We have been incredibly fortunate to secure the services of Thomas Cross as general manager. “He has assisted me daily and has driven the development of the Cow over the last six months.”

Thomas is a qualified chef and prior to joining The Cow he was co-founder and manager of the award-winning Bearslake Hotel, a 13th century inn on the edge of Dartmoor. Thomas said: “It has been a real pleasure to have joined Howard and the team all of whom share a passion for excellence.

“Over the last few months I have been lucky enough to recruit a superb new team to assist me at The Cow.

“Ben Peverall, our new head chef, comes to us after a spell alongside Gareth Ward at The Horseshoes and previously at the world-class Loch Lomond Club North of Glasgow.

“Without a doubt Ben is a most talented chef and I am sure together with his first class kitchen team will produce fantastic food for our guests.

“Paul Shaw, my assistant manager, has been a tremendous support over the couple of months and will provide key support to the running of the Inn.

“We are so fortunate to have put together such a strong team of dedicated professionals.”

To find out more visit www.cowdalbury.co.uk

 

Article courtesy of Gareth Butterfield / Ashbourne News Telegraph