Our beer expert Andrew Nowell pops in for a pint at an award-winning pub to find out what all the smiles are about...
It has been a season of success at much-loved Wigan waterside pub The Crooke Hall Inn as the venue has filled its silverware cabinet.
The popular watering hole located by the side of the canal in an idyllic location close to a large marina has been racking up the acclaim from beer and pub fans both near and far away.
Ale enthusiasts from the Wigan branch of Camra awarded the Crooke Hall Inn the accolade of Pub of the Season for autumn 2019.
The place also received national recognition by the campaign for real ale as the organisation included it on a list of the top-10 most dog friendly pubs in the country.
The Crooke Hall Inn has also been impressing online, with LUXlife magazine naming it Greater Manchester’s Canalside Pub of the Year for 2019 and hugely-influential review site Trip
Advisor giving it a certificate of excellence for the third year in a row.
Manager Dean McDonald says any award is welcome in business and all the recent prizes are satisfying in different ways.
Wigan Camra’s award marks the first time in three years the Crooke Hall Inn has been a pub of the season. Curiously its previous appearance in that list was also as the best spot for autumn, back in 2016.
Dean is also particularly pleased to be on the list picked out for canine owners as he also loves dogs.
He said: “The Crooke Hall Inn is very dog friendly. We sell dog treats and use them to raise about £1,000 a year for Dogs For Good, which provides assistance dogs for people with conditions or disabilities.
“Makants Greyhound Rescue also have regular meetings here. We even had a birthday party for some of their greyhound puppies. It was very silly but quite funny.”
A very different audience has also picked up on the Crooke Hall’s charms as its waterside location was rewarded by LUXlife, which describes itself on its website as “the bimonthly luxury lifestyle magazine that offers you a glimpse into the world of the glamorous”.
The award it has won is part of the publication’s ambitiously-titled Global Hospitality Awards.
Dean said: “The awards also have a cafe in Kenya and a hotel in New York in them.
“I filled out a survey and made the case for the Crooke Hall and then I found out a few months later we had won this.
“It looks good online and on our website and there’s a nice certificate which is now stuck up on our wall.”
Dean is also pleased to have got the thumbs-up for another year from Trip Advisor, which is now a go-to resource for people deciding where to spend their cash.
He said: “Reviews are very important these days. Nobody seems to go anywhere without having a look at a review site.”
For more information on the pub search for Crooke Hall Inn on Facebook.