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Kentish Town pub wins Great British Pub of the Year 2014

PUBLISHED: 15:43 17 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:43 17 September 2014

Susie Clarke and Joel Czopor, landlords of The Grafton in Kentish Town, celebrated winning Great British Pub of the Year 2014 last week. Pictured with Sky Sports presenter Natalie Pinkham (r) and managing director of Sky Business David Rey. Picture: Rob Laws

Susie Clarke and Joel Czopor, landlords of The Grafton in Kentish Town, celebrated winning Great British Pub of the Year 2014 last week. Pictured with Sky Sports presenter Natalie Pinkham (r) and managing director of Sky Business David Rey. Picture: Rob Laws

Images: Copyright Rob Lawson Photography Limited 2010

A pub in Kentish Town has celebrated winning one of the most sought after awards in the drinks industry after being crowned the Great British Pub of the Year 2014.

The Grafton in Prince of Wales Road beat countless boozers across Britain in scooping the top honour at the publicans’ equivalent of the Oscars last Thursday (September 11).

A glitzy award ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane saw judges won over by the pub for “being a diverse, modern business while remaining true to the ideals of a traditional pub”.

It comes after licensees Susie Clarke and Joel Czopor took over the pub two years ago and transformed it from a local under threat from closure to a thriving business.

The pair, who received their award from Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham, were described as “serving an inspiration to pubs throughout the country”.

Ms Clarke told the Ham&High: “Winning the award was a real shock. We were so overwhelmed and couldn’t be happier.

“We’ve worked hard to appeal to all different types of people in the area and if I had one message for other pubs struggling it’s that you have to diversify.

“The old school model of just serving drinks doesn’t work anymore.

“When we took it over we refurbished the inside to make it more appealing, started hosting a load of pop-ups food stalls and began running loads of different events.

“We also serve coffee and tea during the day, as well as offer free wifi, so people aren’t just coming in during the evenings.”

The pair’s win comes not long after a report by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) showed pubs across the UK were closing at a rate of 26 a week.

It has led to a number of establishments having to think outside the box to survive.

At The Grafton, which also won Best Partnership Pub on the same night, the installation of a new all-weather roof terrace led to a 40 per cent rise in sales alone this past year.

Winner of Best Entertainment Pub at last year’s awards, it also regularly hosts Wiff Waff Wednesdays, open mic nights, quiz nights, clothing swaps, sing along Sundays and a reggae choir.

Rob Willock, editor of the Publican’s Morning Advertiser which organises the awards, said: “Susie, Joel and the team at the Grafton thoroughly deserve the title of Sky Great British Pub of the Year 2014.

“The pub is a quality establishment, from the décor to the fixtures and fittings, and the excellent service standards on display.

“It wears its community credentials with pride, and delivers a wide range of occasions for its customer base, each bringing something new to the area.

“The Great British Pub Awards celebrate the cream of the crop in the pub trade, and the winners should serve as an inspiration to pubs throughout the country.”

The pub was selected as overall champion from 16 other category winners.

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