Awards

Stretford Sip Club signThe Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub of The Season for Autumn 2014 is perhaps one of the most unusual "pubs" in the whole of the branch area but one that has made an impression in just six months of trading. Located in former office space above an estate agent's office, the only sign of the Stretford Sip Club's existence is a hand painted wooden sign in the window adjacent to the anonymous door of the premises on the corner of Barton Road and Kingsway.

Step inside the door and assorted casks stacked under the stairs are the first clue to what lies above. Climbing to the top of the stairs and you may think you've been mistaken and you have entered into somebody's lounge complete with sofas and dining table - it's only when you venture to the rear room that you will find the bar complete with it's two handpumps and well stocked fridge.

Opening in April 2014, The Sip Club was the realisation of the dream of landlady Heather Garlick, a born and bred Stretfordian who wanted to bring to her hometown the kind of place she would like to socialise at herself - a cosy and welcoming space offering only genuine quality beers & wines. How the Sip Club has embedded itself into the local area in such as short period of time is remarkable and testament to the vision and hard work of Heather and the band of family, friends and suppliers who have embraced what she set out to do.

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Old Market TavernTrafford & Hulme Camra Pub of the season for summer 2014 is The Old Market Tavern in Altrincham - better known as' O.M.T.' to most people.

John Glover with his wife Linda and family 'took over the reigns' in March, 2005 and quickly set about making the pub what we see today. However when they first entered the building it was in a mess having been closed for a period of time and certain 'undesirables' had broken in and the place had been vandalised with many items 'gone missing'. Over the years the pub has been transformed into a thoroughly enjoyable place to participate drinking some fantastic beers.

2008 was the year that saw the OMT re-enter Camra's Good Beer Guide and has been in every edition since. Also the same year saw it voted as Trafford & Hulme's Camra Pub of the Year.

Although the OMT is owned by Punch Taverns, John has an excellent agreement with them which allows him to choose which beers he wants. Six beers are permanent - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, George Wright's Drunken Duck & Northern Lights, Taylor's Landlord, Phoenix Arizona and Facers DHB, with a futher five handpumps reserved for guest beers from far and wide.

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cityarmssmallThe Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub Of The Year 2014 is The City Arms, Kennedy Street, Manchester.

While hype rages about the "Craft Beer Revolution" and the press raves about specialist beer bars, the City Arms is testament to the enduring popularity of a well run traditional pub. The pub is nestled away on Kennedy Street, a quiet narrow back street which runs parallel to Princess Street, one of Manchester's busiest streets. Despite being so close to Albert Square and the heart of the city, once inside you could forget you are in the city and imagine yourself in a lively suburban local, the kind of which there are sadly fewer and fewer of these days.
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The Trafford & Hulme Branch Cider Pub of The Year 2014 is The Font, Chorlton.

Former Regional Cider Co-ordinator Steven Swain tells us why:

When the guys at FONT told me they were opening a sister pub in Chorlton with an even greater choice of cider than the Manchester bar (and 2013 Branch Cider Pub Of The Year), I thought it was great, as I had been instrumental in the "birth" of cider there.

What we got when the pub opened was a choice of 8 draught ciders, although not all real by CAMRA standard, the choice was well thought out, there is also an amazing choice of bottled cider, much more than the alcopop style of cider, so popular with the youth of today, you know who you are, try a bottle of Sheppy or Thistly Cross next time.

They also offer a massive 25% off real cider to CAMRA members on production of a valid membership card

The presentation will be on Tuesday 20th May from 8pm. Come along - even if you don't like the choice of 10 ciders, there will be 8 ales as well!

Although I now live in Stafford, I'm returning to run the Cider bar at Chorlton Festival in July where there will be about 85 tubs of cider & perry, I'm sure you will be able to find me in FONT with a cider over the weekend

PS the 25% discount is also available on real ale

The Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub Of The Season for Spring 2014 is The Vine Inn, Manchester.

The Vine InnSituated on Kennedy Street, just off Princess Street near to the Town Hall, The Vine is one of the city's oldest pubs sporting an impressive tiled frontage and stained glass windows. The pub is an excellent example of how a pub can offer a real sense of community built around it's regulars despite being right in the heart of the city, yet still offers a warm welcome to the many visitors to our city who cross its threshold. Much of this is built around long time landlady Rachelle Stringer whose enthusiasm for life and people is infectious to both staff and customers.

Locals and visitors alike have long been able to sample excellent ales from the two handpumps crammed onto the bar of the small ground floor servery, with Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Wychwood Hobgoblin having been the only permanent ales. However, December 2013 saw the biggest change at the pub since the original ground floor bar was expanded into the building next door in the 1970s. That expansion created the upstairs area and a cellar bar which in recent years has served as the pub's restaurant and function area but late last year, the cellar bar was transformed into Malt & Cask - a pub within a pub.

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The Trafford & Hulme Branch Club of the Year 2014 is Flixton Conservative Club, deservingly retaining the title they gained last year. 

Flixton Conservative ClubRather than resting on their laurels, being crowned last year’s Club of the Year seems to have inspired Flixton Conservative Club to endeavour to reach even higher levels. This drive to continually improve is one of the reasons why the club has again been selected as Club of the Year.

It has been an impressive 12 months for a club which was probably not even on most CAMRA Members radar this time last year. It’s apparent that those who have visited the club since have been suitably impressed , reflected by the fact that the club went on to finish a very close Runner-up in the Greater Manchester Regional Club of the Year 2013.

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The Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub of the Season for Winter 2013/14 is The Wharf situated in the Castlefield area of Manchester.

The City Centre is fortunate in being able to boast a number of top quality real ale outlets with some notable ones located around the perimeter of Castlefield.

However, for a long time, a foray down into the actual Castlefield basin was a rather unrewarding experience for the cask ale drinker. Thankfully, that situation changed in July 2012 with the arrival of The Wharf. 

Huge credit should be given to owners, the Brunning & Price Group, for taking on a derelict and somewhat uninspiring building and turning it into a real feature of the area (the building was purpose built in 1998 to house the Jackson’s Wharf pub which closed in 2005).

The  Wharf consists of two floors, the top level is set up to provide a more formal dining experience whilst the ground floor, with its various little alcoves and cosy corners, offers the customer that “proper pub” feeling.

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In a time of many pub closures, the Best Newcomer award celebrates that all is not doom and gloom in the pub world and that amongst the closures, we are also gaining new or re-opened outlets which are well worth waiting for. The runner up in this category was Pi (Altrincham) which opened on Shaw's Road near Altrincham Market last October. Sibling to Pi (Chorlton), the Altrincham branch continues the same successful formula of friendly service, great selection of real ales and an almost unsurpassed range of world beers, with great gourmet pies for when you are peckish. However, in what could possibly be considered cruel irony, Pi lost out to a new bar which is its Chorlton sibling's new nearest neighbour. Font (Chorlton) opened in March this year in the premises of the former Iguana Bar which had been closed for two years. With eight cask ales and a massive 25% discount to CAMRA members, Font has helped draw more people into what was already an excellent strip of pubs and bars along Manchester Road from the Sedge Lynn at the south, past Pi & Font to deNada at the north end.

Chorlton can also boast the winner of the Most Improved Pub or Bar award. Although some may consider that The Jackalope would have been a contender for the Best Newcomer award having only taken on the moniker in February, the Barlow Moor Road bar remains under partly the same ownership as its former name Escape. However, the transformation in this small bar since Lee Gorton joined Rob Loader and decided to revamp the bar has been remarkable. Although Escape offered one or two real ales and quality was usually reasonable, Jackalope now offers four ales from some of the hottest names on the local and wider brewing scene with Salford's First Chop being near permanent alongside RedWillow, Arbor, Magic Rock, Fyne Ales and more. A regular line up of live music and other events has helped draw in the customers to keep the ale turning over regularly and making sure the place is rarely quiet. There's even the regular "Jackgammon" nights - while poker tournaments have been a recent fad in pubs, how many have tried backgammon tournaments to bring the customers in?
In a complete contrast, the runner up in the Most Improved category is a traditional back street local. Since Yvonne Hartley took over The Railway on Chapel Road in Sale, the once lacklustre pub has seen a turnaround in its fortunes. It is busier with locals returning, has more atmosphere and is turning over more real ale meaning that the quality of the offering is much improved. The work of Yvonne and her team is testament to the importance of good management to traditional pubs and how there is hope for any seemingly dwindling pub in the right hands. If other landlords want to see how to improve their pub, they could do worse than look at what is happening in Sale.

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Subcategories

Trafford & Hulme Branch awards four seasonal awards to pubs, bars & clubs in the branch area

The Pub Of The Season award is presented to a pub or bar within the branch area which has excelled in one or more areas:
a) introducing real ale to a new area or market where none has been available
b) on-going excellence in the quality of real ales (and ciders) on offer
c) on-going excellence of service to customers and/or the local community
d) significant increases in the sales of real ales and/or traditional ciders
e) excellence in support promotion of CAMRA and its aims
f) significant charitable work

Nominees for the award are put forward by local CAMRA members & voted on by branch members once a quarter.

A pub (while under the same management) cannot be Pub Of The Season more than once in a 3 year period. A pub must have been under the same management for over one year before it becomes eligible to be nominated as Pub Of The Season

The Pub Of The Year award is presented annually to a pub or bar which in the opinion of the membership “ticks all the boxes”. It should ideally offer a range of quality real ales, including speciality styles like dark beers; offer good real cider and perry; and offer at least one LocAle. A branch pub of the year should be a community pub that provides events and services for the local community. The pub should have a strong identity and personality that will often reflect the tastes of the licensee. The pub should exude a sense of welcome and the experience of your visit should leave you wanting to return.

The pub or bar should be the one the branch feels is the very best overall in our area as the Pub Of The Year shall be put forward by the branch for entry into the Greater Manchester Regional round of the CAMRA National Pub Of The Year award where it will be judged on quality of cask ale (and cider); atmosphere; décor; customer service; welcome; value for money; customer mix.

While the branch celebrates four Pub Of The Season winners throughout the year, these often go to long standing pubs and bars which are awarded for longevity of excellence. Starting from 2013, the branch decided it wanted to also recognise pubs that excel in specific areas.

The branch presents four annual awards in addition to existing Pub of The Season and Pub Of The Year awards:

Best Newcomer

Most Improved Pub Or Club

Best Community Pub

Best LocAle Pub or Club

For full details of the awards, click here

 

The Club Of The Year award is presented annually to the club, which shows the greatest commitment to Quality Real Ale. Factors to be considered are quality of cask ale (and cider); sympathy with CAMRA's aims (e.g. CAMRA literature displayed; hosting CAMRA events such as branch or committee meetings); welcome given to non-member cask ale drinkers; value for money on cask ales and ciders; promotion of real ale (e.g. real ale beer festivals, brewery nights, other real ale promotions).

Additionally CAMRA members must be welcomed to drink in the club on production of a current CAMRA membership card (guest admission fees and maximum visits before joining the club may apply).

The Cider & Perry Pub Of The Year award recognises a pub, bar or club that has best excelled in the promotion of real traditional draught ciders and perries appropriately served. Quality of the cider and perry offered is the most important criteria alongside overall promotion of real cider and perry and cider producers by the pub (e.g. posters and literature in the pub; tasting events; cider and perry pub festivals). A branch cider/perry pub of the year should offer a good range of quality real cider and perry, and ideally the choice over time should include a range of styles from different cider producers.

The Trafford & Hulme Cask Champion award was created in 2010 to recognise the achievements of a person, group, pub or company that have made an outstanding contribution to furthering CAMRA\'s aims in the branch area.

 There award is only presented infrequently when the branch considers that there is a candidate worthy of this honour.