Congratulations to the Cock in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire for scooping the Good Pub Guide 2013 accolade of Pub of the Year. It sounds a very nice place and has certainly changed from the “smoky local boozer” it was eleven years ago.
The Cock tops a long list of winners included in this year’s guide. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the Beer Pub of the Year: the Fat Cat in Norwich that really interests me. This is the sort of pub that is very unlikely to win the guide’s overall prize, but seems a “real” pub. There are however a lot of category winners-they are listed here, and I do like the idea of an award for Best Outdoor Loo.
One thing you will notice is a severe shortage of highlighted pubs in the grim North West. The likes of Greater Manchester and Cheshire may boast some of the country’s finest, but they rarely chime with the Home Counties direction of the GPG. This has been an ongoing problem for the GPG and is one of its flaws that needs addressing.
It was way back in 2009 that I first aired my misgivings about the GPG. Sadly, these have not been rectified. This despite the shitstorm they walked into last year when they announced that they would be charging for some entries.
A quick look at the online entries for Bury reveals a list that includes a closed pub and the Lord Raglan listed twice. Sloppy, particularly for an outfit that boasts it is the best-selling guide in this field.
Thinking of buying their app for your phone? Don’t bother. They actually boast about having an additional 20,00 pubs on this, but come on now, that’s a third of all the pubs in the country. All it amounts to is a Yellow Pages unverified listing type service.
So, for another year, I will be using the GPG...But only as a doorstop.