A PUB in Penarth has been named the best in the area by the Campaign for Real Ale.
The Golden Lion, on Glebe Street, has featured in the Camra Good Beer Guide for the past four years and has now been named best in the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend.
Manager Paul Harper, who has been in charge since 2008, credits the small pub’s warm atmosphere and emphasis on community for its popularity.
“I’ve got really good staff so there’s always a friendly welcome and I always use local beers from local breweries, like in Pontypridd, and keep the quality good,” said Mr Harper.
“People who come here are from the Penarth area. We’ve got two football teams, one on the Saturday and one on Sunday, and two darts teams – there’s a strong community feel.”
Local resident Martyn White, a regular at the Golden Lion, credited the manager with its success.
“It’s a proper pub. You come in here, you always know somebody. The bar staff are incredible since Paul took over, he’s very good.”
When handing out the Pub of the Year award, Camra looks for venues based first on their beer offerings, but also on good atmosphere, community focus, and value for money.
“Members voted for the Lion because they feel it’s a genuine pub, although it can be busy and noisy at times, customers are made to feel welcome and valued,” said John Chapman, Camra Pubs Officer for the Vale of Glamorgan.
“The quality of beer is the most important single factor in judging a pub, and the Lion usually has three well-chosen real ales from great Welsh breweries, with pump clips lined up behind the bar showing which ales are waiting in the cellar to come up next.”
The most popular beers on offer at the moment are both local, from Otley brewery in Pontypridd and Grey Trees in Aberdare. The Welsh brewery business is growing, and customers at the Golden Lion appreciate the opportunity to support local industry.
Mr Harper says that Camra’s recognition has done a lot for the pub’s business.
“Lots of people come to taste the beers; they want to come and see what we like and what we sell,” he said.
The Golden Lion team are capitalising on the pub’s success. This summer, they opened a sheltered beer garden, which is busy even during the winter, and Mr Harper is looking into the possibility of putting on a beer festival this summer.
“We’ve always got a good pint of bitter on and a friendly welcome. Right now we’re looking forward to the future and seeing how it progresses from here,” he added.