Cheers! Hucknall pub named the best in Ashfield

Manager Emily Hawkley (centre) and staff members Rosie Briggs and Tony Cole toast The Pilgrim Oak's success. (PHOTO BY: Jason Chadwick)
Manager Emily Hawkley (centre) and staff members Rosie Briggs and Tony Cole toast The Pilgrim Oak's success. (PHOTO BY: Jason Chadwick)

A popular pub in Hucknall has received the perfect 20th birthday present after it was named the best in Ashfield.

The Pilgrim Oak on High Street, which first opened its doors back in July 1998, is the area winner of the Nottinghamshire Best Bar None awards.

“It is a fantastic little pub, and this is fantastic news!” beamed manager Emily Hawkley, 33, who only took over the running of the Pilgrim last September.

Best Bar None is a national scheme, supported by the government, which encourages licensees to continually improve their standards of operation and attempts to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder.

The Nottinghamshire awards scheme, which is funded by the police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping, celebrates the best-run pubs and bars across the county. An assessment asks each to show how they offer a safe environment and provide their customers with the best possible experience. A panel of licensing experts then reviews the assessments.

When asked about the Pilgrim’s success, Emily said: “It’s a case of getting the balance right and making sure the staff are happy. We are in the service industry, and if the staff aren’t happy, it reflects on what the customer gets.

“When I first started, we had a few issues, and we now have virtually a whole new team, 90 per cent of whom come from the Hucknall area.

“It’s important that the staff are local because they can offer the personal touch. One member of our team, Tony Cole, has been here since the pub opened 20 years ago.”

The overall countywide winner of the scheme was After Dark nightclub and bar in Mansfield.

THE Pilgrim Oak, run by Wetherspoon’s, is named after the famous tree that once stood outside Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron, who is buried at Hucknall Parish Church.

Throughout the pub, Hucknall’s rich history is reflected through paintings, photos and information boards.

At a time when many pubs in the Hucknall area have closed, the Pilgrim, which opens from 8 am to midnight every day, has remained popular with all generations. It appeals both to those out for a drink as well to those who want a bite to eat or a chat with friends.