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CAMRA seeks stunners

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted June 19, 2014
york tap
Phwoar! The York Tap, one of last year's winners. © The York Tap

CAMRA on hunt for Blighty's best-looking boozers.

The UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today (19/6/14) launched its 2014 Pub Design Awards competition, which it describes in a press release as "a quest to find the most stunningly designed pubs in the UK".

Held in association with English Heritage and the Victorian Society, the awards "recognise high standards of architecture in the refurbishment and conservation of existing pubs and the construction of new ones".

"Whether it's a converted theatre or a Victorian coaching house, we are looking to discover the best pub interiors and exteriors that Great Britain has to offer," says awards organiser Sean Murphy.

"The CAMRA Pub Design Awards competition is open to all pubs in the UK and buildings can be nominated by their owners, landlords, local CAMRA branch members or anybody else that thinks the pub deserves to win."

However, entrants, he warns, "should bear in mind that they may be required to provide additional photographs and plans of the building during the judging process, so the pub licensee should always be made aware of, and approve of, the entry".

Last year the winners ranged from the Hall & Woodhouse in Portishead, which CAMRA calls a "striking new build set in the marina and made from interconnected shipping containers", to the "beautifully restored and converted" York Tap, built inside the old model railway museum within York train station.

The competition consists of five categories:

As its name suggest, this category is solely for newly built boozers, which "might reflect pubs of the past but without becoming a mere pastiche" or which might "be completely modern" and use 20th or 21st century materials and designs.

This can range from "a complete gutting and replacement to an enhancement of what was originally there".

Any such refurbishment, though, "should suit the individual pub and not be an excuse to use uniform furnishings to brand the pub" in line with a brewery's or pub company's corporate image.

Aimed at pubs occupying buildings originally designed for a different purpose, entrants to this category will be judged "on the taste and restraint used on both the outside and inside of the pub".

This award "is usually given for work which conserves what is good in the pub to ensure its future for generations of customers".

Named after the late CAMRA chair Joe Goodwin, this award "is reserved for outstanding refurbished street-corner locals".

Interested parties have until this coming August 31 to submit their entries, which can be done here.

See also CAMRA's quest for quality clubs, posted 16/6/14.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist and geographer who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. A published lyricist and founder of the Naked Trouser DJ collective, he has fronted punk bands in both the UK and Poland, including the only band to be kicked off BBC Radio Cornwall. In 2013, he represented the UK at the Fourth Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto, getting his arse royally whipped by Rake & Herald reader and Major League Eating speedscarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He has been known to like a pint.

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