A Rutland pub on the Lincolnshire border has been named the best pub in the UK for the second time in seven years.
The Olive Branch in Clipsham won the Good Pub Guide’s UK Pub of the Year for 2021, the second time the accolade has been awarded to it this decade.
It previously won the award in 2014, having only been open for 21 years as a pub.
The Good Pub Guide said: “To compete in the category a pub has to have unanimous enthusiasm from all readers on all aspects of its business – it has to be top of its game and the Olive Branch is most definitely that.
“It’s a really special place for a drink, a meal or an overnight stay.”
The Olive Branch has won plenty of plaudits and awards over the years, including winning the Good Pub Guide’s Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year 15 times in the last 18 years.
It also won Michelin’s Pub of the Year in 2008 and has been a part of the Michelin Red Guide since 2002, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide.
A spokesperson for the Olive Branch pub said: “We are so proud and so so grateful to the whole team. This is an accolade won by every single one of them – everyone has played their part.
“And at the end of an unbelievably tough year, we’re a bit emotional and lost for words.”
The pub has faced the same problems as so many other businesses in 2020 by being forced into closure by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, and the owners took a moment to speak about the difficulties the hospitality sector has faced.
“We can’t announce this award without mentioning the plight of UK pubs. A pub is about the whole experience – the beer, wine, food and atmosphere. Pubs are amazing places.
“But right now, due to the restrictions, we aren’t really a pub. We aren’t able to welcome all; we aren’t able to enjoy a drink and some local gossip at the bar.
“Compared to many, we’re lucky – yet this year has still been a battle for survival. Many other pubs less fortunate than us will not make it.”