Staff at The Black Bull in Morpeth raised a glass after finding out that it had won a prestigious title.
It was revealed last week that the pub was the Morpeth Herald’s Best Bar of 2014 as a result of it receiving the most votes. It pipped fellow finalists – the Beresford Arms in Whalton, Dyke Neuk in Meldon and the Sour Grapes and Tap and Spile in Morpeth – to the honour.
The Wear Inns’ establishment in Bridge Street underwent a refurbishment 12 months ago and as well as the redecoration, there was a change of emphasis.
Jon Raw, manager of The Black Bull, said: “We changed the pub from a sports bar that showed live football and rugby games and did some karaoke nights to a place which provides good pub food from local suppliers and a selection of high quality beers, including cask ales.
“We’re not trying to be a gastropub, our focus is on giving customers hearty British grub such as shepherd’s pie and mince and dumplings.
“The old pub was a bit tired and cold and it really needed a new lease of life. The lighting, decor and music we have now is encouraging customers to stay for a meal and/or a few beers.
“We’ve looked to create a community spirit feel to the place and as well as our music nights, quizzes and beer festival in October, we’ve stripped out most of the televisions and put up pictures of well-known Morpeth and Northumberland buildings and landscapes, which are quite a talking point when people come into the pub and have a look around.
“There’s a broad spectrum of customers now – they enjoy having a chat in a relaxed atmosphere.”
He added: “We’re delighted at winning this title, it was a nice shock when we found out.
“I think it’s a recognition that we are doing something right and our hard work is being appreciated by the people of Morpeth.”
The pub provides a diverse selection of world beers and cask beers on offer include Doom Bar, Deuchars, Anarchy, Tyne Bank, and Mordue.
Monday to Friday, between 4pm and 7pm, it has a two-for-one deal on cocktails.
As for food, there are beef, pork and lamb options for Sunday lunch and on weeknights, the following is available:
l Mondays – Two-for-one on selected main meals.
l Tuesdays – Pie night where you can get a pie meal and a pint for £8.50.
l Wednesdays – Farmyard Tapas in the evening.
l Thursdays – Burger night where you can get two burger meals for £11.99.
The Black Bull is open from 11am to 11pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 11am to midnight on Thursdays and Sundays and 11am to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Morpeth Herald Best Bar competition started with a readers’ nomination process, in which we asked people to put forward their favourite watering hole for the title and explain why it was worthy.
Once the finalists were announced last month, voting got under way, with coupons printed in the Herald and text voting also available.