Pubs of the Year 2017



The Castle, Bradford on Avon

Bath & Borders Branch Overall Pub of the Year 2017


Congratulations to Torri and the team at the Castle on being awarded the accolade of 2017 Pub of the Year for the Bath & Borders branch of CAMRA.

Many years ago, sometime in the ’90s, our branch decided to visit the Castle, in Bradford-on-Avon, as part of a crawl of the pubs in that part of the town. It was not a smart pub, with a bit of a ‘reputation’, and the beer range was reported as limited, but we thought we’d give it a try.


When we walked in to the main bar we noticed that, although there were quite a few tables, there were no chairs. We mentioned this to the landlady, who then gestured towards the pile of broken wood in a side room and said ‘sorry, they got broken in last night’s fight..!’. We drank up and left.


How things change. About ten years ago the Castle closed and it was bought by Flatcappers, a new pub owning company, based in Bristol. This was their first venture into the pub trade and they obviously intended to make their mark.


The newly refurbished Castle was a revelation. It always was, and still is, a handsome old building, and now it is superb inside as well. As well as the large main bar, there are a series of smaller, comfortable, rooms for a quite drink or meal. Soon after it reopened it won the national CAMRA award for refurbished pubs, and well deserved too.


Speaking of meals, the food is highly recommended, not ‘posh’, but imaginative and delicious, and good value. Breakfast is available to all from 9:00 to noon, while ‘nibbles’ (slow roasted beef brisket for £4.50 anyone..?) during normal opening times , 9.00 to 23.00 (10.00 to 22.30 Sunday).


Outside, there is a lovely garden, with plenty of seating, and great views south over the town to the countryside beyond (albeit over quite a high wall…).


The regular beers, including Flatcapper Ale, the house beer, come from the Three Castles brewery, a few miles away, while the four guests are usually local as well, including Electric Bear in Bath, and Kettlesmith from across town in Bradford. Personally, I’ve never had a bad pint there, and had plenty of excellent ones. And so, this year, 2017, it was voted Bath and Borders Pub of the Year.