Top 50 Gastropubs list topped by London pub for the first time

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 16:07

London’s only Michelin-starred gastropub the Harwood Arms has been crowned the UK’s best, making it the first pub in the capital to head the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list.

The Harwood Arms is one of just seven London pubs on the 2020 Top 50 Gastropubs list, with 18 coming from north of the city, 25 from the south, two in the Midlands and one in Wales.

Led by head chef Sally Abé, the Harwood Arms rose four places up this year’s list to top spot, relegating former number one Stephen Harris’s the Sportsman to second place.

As well as landing the venue a coveted position on the Top 50 Gastropubs list, Sally also maintained the 10-year-old pub’s Michelin star last year.

Prior to the win, she said: “The Harwood Arms is a British gastropub where everything we serve is as British as possible.

“All of our ingredients are sourced from as close to the pub as possible, including our fish, and we’ve got a real focus on game too, with the likes of muntjac deer being shot and brought from parklands around Berkshire, so it’s very much field-to-fork.

“In the past couple of years there’s been a shift away from super fine dining. People want to come in big groups and have a beer, to relax and not worry about the rules. For that reason, I think the gastropub has a bright future.”

Top 50 Gastropubs editor Nicholas Robinson said: “It has taken 11 years for a London gastropub to make it to the number one spot on the Top 50 Gastropubs list and I couldn’t think of a more worthy venue.

“To have the Harwood Arms, headed by Sally, represent the very best of gastropubs is amazing. She has an impeccable background and champions everything that is great about these unique businesses.”

The Top 50 Gastropubs list, now in its 11th year, ranks the UK’s best gastropubs according to the votes from more than 400 gastropub owners, food critics and other industry experts.

  • There are 12 pubs with Michelin stars on the Top 50 Gastropubs list

This year’s Highest New Entry was Midlands gastropub the Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire, joined the list at number 20, which follows the pub’s Newcomer of the Year win at the 2019 awards. 

Head chef and owner Liam Dillon said: “I wanted to open a gastropub. This site lends itself to being one because it’s a big pub.

“Growing up in Lichfield, there wasn’t a huge amount of high-quality restaurants in the area. That might sound a bit big headed, but that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”

Meanwhile, this year’s Highest Climber was the Angel at Hetton in Skipton, Yorkshire, which rose a whopping 39 places from 50 last year to 11 this year.

Chef and owner Michael Wignall and his wife Johanna took over the pub in 2018 and, as well as cementing a higher spot on the list, managed to secure a Michelin star last year.

James Healey, UK Country Manager for Estrella Damm, said: "As the authentic premium beer of Barcelona, Estrella Damm is proud to continue to support the UK's gastropubs.

“This is the fifth year that we have sponsored the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards, an awards ceremony that celebrates high calibre ingredients, culinary excellence and innovation, qualities that are also shared by Estrella Damm. 

“We want to extend our congratulations to all 50 gastropubs on the list and hope more pub-goers are lucky enough to experience their talent in 2020.”

The top 10 Gastropubs on the 2020 list are:

  1. The Harwood Arms, London
  2. The Sportsman, Kent
  3. The Freemasons, Lancashire
  4. The Star at Harome, North Yorkshire
  5. The Coach, Buckinghamshire
  6. The Compasses Inn, Kent
  7. The Parkers Arms, Lancashire
  8. The Pony & Trap, Bristol
  9. The White Swan at Fence, Lancashire
  10. The Guinea Grill, London

For the full list, visit