Welwyn and Datchworth publicans shortlisted for best pub prizes

PUBLISHED: 15:32 23 May 2019

The White Hart in Welwyn was named best pub in East of England. Picture: White Hart.

The White Hart in Welwyn was named best pub in East of England. Picture: White Hart.

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A pair of publicans have been recognised as owners of two of the best drinking establishments in the UK, in two separate competitions.

Posing for photos at the National Pub & Bar Awards. Picture: White Hart.Posing for photos at the National Pub & Bar Awards. Picture: White Hart.

James and Tom Bainbridge were honoured for The Tilbury in Datchworth and The White Hart in Welwyn at the British Institute of Innkeeping and the National Pub & Bar Awards, respectively.

The White Hart - which has been going since 1681, when it was Welwyn's main coaching inn - was taken over by the brother publicans in 2016.

James and Tom have since brought the pub to new heights, taking home the East of England regional award and getting the pub shortlisted for an overall national Pub & Bar award last week.

"We were very suprised to win and were already proud that we won best in county at the Pub & Bar Awards," James said.

James and Tom Bainbridge of The Tilbury reached the final six in a national competition to find the best pub in the country. Picture: Brakspear.James and Tom Bainbridge of The Tilbury reached the final six in a national competition to find the best pub in the country. Picture: Brakspear.

"We think its essentially down to the hard work and committment of our staff."

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The Tilbury - which is in Datchworth, near Knebworth, and is also run by James and Tom - could take home a top prize the British Institute of Innkeeping awards in two weeks time.

"We couldn't have progressed past the first stage of the awards without the help of our fantastic team at the pub, including my wife Nicola, Tom's wife Emma and our father Ian, who all help in the business," James said.

James and Tom have been at The Tilbury, owned by pub operator and brewer Brakspear, since 2014.

The award judges highlighted the menu, which was created by Tom and includes a white chocolate and peppercorn hummus with anchovy toast.

Mike Clist - chief executive of the BII - said: "We consistently see an extremely high standard of entrants and 2019 has been no exception."

James knows the standard is high but said, "we'll give it our very best shot in the final stage of judging, and hope that our names will be called out as Licensees of the Year 2019!" James said.

On June 3, the brothers will face three judging panels - made up of industry experts - who will grill them on business development, people & training, and financial awareness

The winner will be announced in London on June 4 at a BII event, which is set to be attended by over 800 people from the pub industry.

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