Grannie Annie's named best in the county in pub awards
It’s got one of the best locations in the city, and has long been popular with drinkers and dog walkers – now Grannie Annie’s has been named the best pub in the county at a national awards.
The pub in Marine Walk, Roker, has been named as the overall Durham County winner in the National Pub & Bar Awards 2021 and will now compete against the other regional winners at a national final.
Formerly The Smugglers, the pub underwent a complete transformation four years ago and managers and partners Stacey Karczewski and Adam Straughan have done much to put the site back on the map, building up a loyal following.
Adam says, like all hospitality, it’s been a difficult year for the team – but this award, along with restrictions lifting, has been a great boost.
"I’d entered the awards before Lockdown and hadn’t thought any more of it,” he said. “So when we found out we’d won for the county it was great for morale, it really was the icing on the cake.
"We have amazing staff here, I’ve never worked with a better team, and all our front of house have come back after Lockdown. Our customer service really is second to none, we pride ourselves on it, and we think that’s what helped win us the award. If they staff aren’t serving, they’re talking to people or stroking dogs, they have a great relationship with the customers. We’re a family-run pub and we’re very family orientated.
"Because we’re a seafront pub, with lots of different people passing, you wouldn’t think we had regulars, but have lots, and it’s great to see them come back.”
The award was a special accolade for Stacey’s actual Grannie Annie who the pub is named after.
Last year, the pub extended its outdoor seating area at the other side of the promenade and assistant manager Jade Edminson says it’s been great to have people back enjoying pints in the sunshine.
"Many of our regulars didn’t come out during Lockdown so it’s been great to see them again,” she said. “People are loving being back in the pub, but on a sunny day the outside area is packed.”
As restrictions have lifted, the pub has also welcomed the return of its live music events over the weekends, including its Sunday night buskers sessions.
The other North East winners in the awards were Leila Lily’s which was the county winner for the Newcastle area and The Craster Arms in Beadnell which won for Northumberland.
Across the country there were 94 county winners who will be invited to the National Pub & Bar Awards Grand Final in London this September.
On the night, 15 regional winners and the overall National Pub & Bar of the Year will be announced.
Adam said: “We never expected to be named county winners, so it would be amazing to be named winners in the nationals.”
*Grannie Annie’s is open seven days a week for food and drinks from 10am-11.30pm during the week and until 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.