win2The Three Greyhounds Inn in Allostock has beaten off competition from 1300 other pubs to be named Best Food Pub in national awards run by Heineken owned Star Pubs & Bars this week.

Noting the pub’s busy car park, the judges were impressed by how quickly owners Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin had established the pub as a great place to eat within just a year of re-opening. Describing it as a ‘shining light’, they also singled out the distinctive menu with its focus on food from British farms.

Indeed it was the opportunity to offer food at the Three Greyhounds Inn that attracted Tim and Mary to take on the pub and to invest £250,000 restoring it into a beautiful traditional pub serving excellent locally sourced food. “The pub had been shut for four months and was in a sad state when we first saw it,” recalls Tim. “But it had real character and as the only pub in the Allostock area was crying out for some TLC and to be turned back into a pub that the local community could be proud of.”

The 300-year-old pub’s history as a farm inspired Tim and Mary with the menu theme. The menu is a celebration of food from British farms with as much produce as possible from meat and vegetables to ice cream and chutney coming from Cheshire farms. For an added twist, the pub also specialises in British farm cheeses and offers a choice of eight brandies produced on a Somerset farm.

“We’ve been surprised and delighted by the variety of wonderful food being produced on Cheshire farms, from chocolate to asparagus, the quality is excellent,” says Tim.

The Three Greyhounds landlord James Griffiths and head chef Craig Wainwright received the coveted award at a gala celebration night from snooker champion John Parrott. “We’re humbled but very proud to have been selected to win the award. We didn’t seek the nomination which made winning a great surprise and a real boost for our 25 staff and 5 chefs. Some people think that rundown pubs are a lost cause, this award helps us prove there will always be a place for a well-cared for traditional community local.”

Tim and Mary are not resting on their laurels after their win, with plans for a private dining room, guest bedrooms and a regular farmers market at the Three Greyhounds Inn on the cards.

Fifth Site for Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars

mtCHESHIRE Cat Pubs and Bars, a leisure business founded by two experienced operators, has opened its fifth site – the fourth in this region.

The company has relaunched the Church Inn in Mobberley, Cheshire, after buying the premises with the support of HSBC.

Cheshire Cat was launched in 2008 by Tim Bird and his wife, Mary Mclaughlin. Mr Bird is a former MDr of Brunning and Price and the Freehouse Pub Company within the Restaurant Group, and has also held senior roles with pub companies including Morrells of Oxford and Eldridge Pope.

Mary Mclaughlin is a former managing director of Spanish tapas chain La Tasca and grew it from three to more than 70 restaurants nationwide.

The company opened the Grade II Listed pub’s doors earlier this month following an eight week refurbishment.

churThe other pubs in the Cheshire Cat portfolio are The Red Lion in Dorset, The Bulls Head in Mobberley, The Cholmondeley Arms near Malpas and The Three Greyhounds Inn in Allostock near Knutsford.

All the Cheshire pubs within the group are based in country locations and all five pubs have a strong emphasis on quality food and drink in friendly, comfortable and relaxing surroundings.

Mr Bird said: “The Church Inn is only 15 miles from the centre of Manchester and enjoys some beautiful Cheshire countryside. It was in a near derelict state when we acquired it and we have restored the building, ensuring we have been sympathetic to its original features and construction.

“We’re sure it will be a hit with local residents and people from further afield.”

Funding was arranged by HSBC senior commercial manager David Woodward. The deal involved dividing ownership of the property between the limited company business and the two directors’ Self Invested Personal Pensions.

Jason Trigg, HSBC Manchester area commercial director, added: “This was a complex deal but we worked with our customers and local professionals to structure an arrangement that was suitable for all.
“Importantly, it means that a building with such history has been restored so it can be enjoyed by diners and drinkers.”

HSBC supports Cheshire Pubs and Bars

HSBC supports Cheshire Pubs and Bars ‘complex’ fifth acquisition: North west-based Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars Ltd. has opened its latest venture, the Church Inn in Mobberley, after acquiring the premises with the support of HSBC’s Manchester Commercial Centre. The company opened the Grade II Listed pub’s doors following an eight week restoration project. The Church Inn has a ‘country tavern’ feel with intimate dining rooms, wonderful outside space as well as private dining rooms on the first floor. The acquisition brings the number of pubs in the company’s portfolio to five, with other pubs including The Red Lion in Weymouth, The Bulls Head in Mobberley, The Cholmondeley Arms near Malpas and The Three Greyhounds Inn in Allostock. Funding for the deal was arranged via HSBC Senior Commercial Manager David Woodward. The innovative deal involved dividing ownership of the property between the limited company business and the two directors’ Self Invested Personal Pensions, reflecting HSBC’s ability to cater for complex financial arrangements. Jason Trigg, HSBC Manchester Area commercial Director, added: “This was a complex deal but we worked with our customers and local professionals to structure an arrangement that was suitable for all.”

Chum reaches Final!!!

spirit2The Cholmondeley Arms has reached the final of the ‘Best Spirit Serving Pub’ at the London Hilton having got through the regional finals in the Great British Pub awards 2013. Steve, our landlord and Gin Champion and Struan, our Deputy and Gin Ambassador, stood proud outside the Cholmondeley Arms as the judge arrived to put them to the test!!! Lucky the judge had a taxi booked!!

This is recognition for the great efforts of Steve, Struan and Monika who have all combined to ensure our gin act is second to none. To add spice to the week the Chum managed to go past the 161 gins stocked by a bar in the Guinness book of records!!!

Gin classes are getting booked out on Saturday afternoons as guests to ‘the Chum’ want to enjoy the Gin experience and learn about the history of a very English spirit.

So fingers crossed on 12th September 2013 when the team go to London!!

Good luck to the team.


Sawdays Award for Bulls Head

PUB_10_Edition_CoverTo all our loyal customers and our hardworking teams this is dedicated to you!! Thank you for supporting the Bulls Head in Mobberley!!!

The Bull’s Head in Mobberley, Cheshire wins award in Alastair Sawday’s guide; Pubs & Inns of England & Wales 10th edition

The Bull’s Head in Mobberley has been honoured for its authenticity with an Alastair Sawday’s pub award. The latest edition of Sawday’s much loved ‘Special Places Pubs and Inns of England & Wales’ comprises over 950 of Britain’s very best pubs with just twelve selected to receive an award in one of four categories; authenticity, commitment to the community, local, seasonal & organic produce or pubs with rooms.

The winner of the ‘Authentic pub award’ has demonstrated a passion for being an authentic, simple and unadulterated pub. The Sawday inspectors have visited more pubs than ever for this celebratory 10th edition, making each award even more of an achievement.

David Hancock, editor of Sawday’s Pubs & Inns of England & Wales says “At the Bull’s Head, you feel good from the moment you walk in. There’s a big “Hello” from behind the bar, a simple rustic chic feel and atmosphere, and the whole place feels snug, intimate and calm, plus the food and drink offer is very strong. With over 950 pubs in the guide, winning is a terrific achievement for the hardworking landlords, landladies, chefs and staff!”

Alastair, Founder of Alastair Sawday’s says “Please join our 10th anniversary celebrations by raising a glass to The Bull’s Head at Mobberley for this very real achievement. In this, our biggest ever edition, award winning pubs have had to stand out more than ever before. So each has demonstrated remarkable creativity – plus excellence and willingness to evolve – in a changing and challenging industry.”

This is what it says for The Bull’s Head at Mobberley’s entry in the guide:

You feel warmth as soon as you walk through the door. Candles glow on the tables of this pretty village pub, fires crackle, and the staff couldn’t be nicer. Under a low-beamed ceiling, six hand pumps dispense the finest local ales from Storm, Wincle and Redwillow as well as the inimitable Mobberley Wobbly – ale is king! Add in a Highland extravaganza of 70 malts and other tempting brews and you have the makings of a celebration. Chef Lloyd cooks ‘pub classics from the heart’ with full English flavours; the steak and ale pie is a fully encased masterpiece in itself, and the Irish whisky sticky toffee pudding too indulgent for words. With outside tables for sunny days, this is as good as it gets for a village pub.