CAMRA reveals four best UK clubs

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the best four clubs in the country as part of its Club of the Year 2019 competition, one of the most respected and well-known club awards in the UK.

Among the finalists are a former school, a large street-corner social, a building dating back to the 17th century, and a club that has been voted the local branch Club of the Year for 11 consecutive years.

The Appleton Thorn Village Hall near Warrington is a former school that has been transformed into a thriving village hall, with an ever-changing range of seven beers from regional and microbreweries. A previous national CAMRA Club of the Year winner, the club holds regular events including live music and a very popular annual beer festival.

The oldest surviving building in Bargoed is home to the Real Ale Farm. Offering a range of quality beer, which has been selected for flavour and interest, the club promotes local producers and brewers of real ale, cider and perry. The club also hosts numerous charity events as well as the occasional beer festival.

A popular and welcoming club, the Canine Club in Accrington is a large street-corner venue on a busy street. The central bar serves a comfortable lounge to the front and a traditional games room to the rear where snooker, pool and darts are played. The changing beer range usually includes a couple of east Lancashire brews and one from further afield.

Winner of the Surrey CAMRA Club of the Year award every year since 2008, the Egham United Services Club offers five ales on at all times, with three rotating guest ales including a dark, and a wide choice of ciders is available from the cellar. Their three annual beer festivals showcase an eclectic range of ales, mostly from the newest microbreweries around. Comfortably furnished with a sports TV and free wifi, the club hosts live music most Saturday evenings.

The CAMRA Club of the Year competition is run in conjunction with Club Mirror magazine, with the simple aim of finding the clubs with the greatest commitment to quality real ale. The winning club would offer a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming surroundings and most importantly, top quality real ale served in great condition. Clubs are nominated by CAMRA branches across the country and judged by a panel of CAMRA volunteers throughout the year.

Keith Spencer, Club of the Year Co-ordinator, said: “A club is the ultimate community asset; it is created by the community for the community it serves. This competition is a great way of recognising our clubs and raising awareness about the good work that they do.”

Sean Ferris, Publisher and Managing Director of Club Mirror, said: “We know that clubs are a crucial feature of our communities - whether a sports, social, political or working men’s club, each offers a space to socialise, meet new friends and relax.

'We’re delighted to be involved with the CAMRA Club of the Year award, and will continue to campaign and protect clubs and the work that they do, as well as celebrating the best in the business.'

The four finalists were presented with a commemorative plate at the Club Mirror Awards. They will now have to wait until spring 2019 to discover which will be named CAMRA's Club of the Year.