Pub of the Year ? Potting Shed, Crudwell (Wiltshire)

Appealing variation on the traditional country tavern theme, a fine choice of drinks, interesting food, and friendly staff

Rather than just another pub/restaurant, this highly enjoyable place is a proper country pub where people and dogs are genuinely welcomed by the cheerful young staff and they have a fantastic range of drinks and often inventive food as well. Low-beamed rooms ramble around the bar with mixed plain tables and chairs on pale flagstones, log fires (one in a big worn stone fireplace, some well worn easy chairs in one corner, and a couple of blacktop daily papers. Four steps take you up into a high-raftered further area with coir carpeting, and there’s one separate smaller room ideal for a lunch or dinner party. The rustic decorations are not overdone and quite fun: a garden-fork door handle, garden-tool beer pumps, rather witty big black and white photographs. Bath Ales Gem Bitter, Butcombe Bitter, Timothy Taylors Landlord and St Austell Tribute on handpump, as well as an excellent range of 30 wines and champagne by the glass, home-made seasonal cocktails using local or home-grown fruit, local fruit liqueurs, good coffees and popular winter mulled wine; visiting dogs may meet Barney and Rubbles (the pub dogs) and be offered biscuits. Well chosen piped music and board games. They have summer barbecues on fine Saturdays; there are sturdy teak seats around cask tables as well as picnic-sets out on the side grass among weeping willows.

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