Top prize for rail ale pub!

Wigan Central- bar staff Joe Carletti and Jennifer Meadows
Wigan Central- bar staff Joe Carletti and Jennifer Meadows
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A railway-themed Wigan watering hole has been named the best pub in Greater Manchester.

Wigan Central, the brainchild of the town’s Prospect Brewery has been impressing visitors since opening in the railway arch on Queen Street adjacent to Wigan North Western station in December 2014.

And owners Patsy and John Slevin have already enjoyed seeing it double in size while increasing its offer to include seven real ales, four craft ciders and an astonishing selection of beers from the UK, Europe and beyond.

Recognised by the Wigan branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its pub of the year, Wigan Central was pitted against eight others nominated by other Greater Manchester branches. An expert team of volunteer judges drawn from the 9,000 members in the region visited unannounced. They scored the pubs on a variety of weighted features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders.

CAMRA’s regional director Graham Donning said: “Wigan Central is a wonderful take on a modern bar nestling in a 19th century railway arch. It signals that imagination and attention to detail can make a themed pub a winner. Our judges gave points for the friendly service, condition of real ales and ciders, and the unique use of railway arrival and departure screens to give clear information about the beers on tap and in the cellar. As our regional award winner, it will now line up against the rest of the country for the national title. I’m confident it will be a contender.”

Patsy said: “Back in 2014, our aim was to have a dedicated real ale bar in a historic part of the town. We invoked memories of the long since closed Wigan Central station with our decor and furnishings that reflect the age of steam. But we aren’t stuck in the past - regulars and occasional visitors love our real time monitors showing departures at both Wigan stations.

“It’s been a busy but rewarding last few months, as we’ve also relocated the Prospect brewery from Standish to a town centre site close to the bar. Winning the Pub of the Year is just the ticket!”

CAMRA will present the award to Patsy and manager Jo Whalley at Wigan Central on September 14.