Gloucestershire

Camra pub of the year is Sandford Park Alehouse in Cheltenham

Sandford Park Alehouse
Image caption Staff at the Sandford Park Alehouse said they were "thrilled" to win

A pub on the site of a former gay nightclub in Cheltenham has been crowned the Campaign for Real Ale's (Camra) national pub of the year.

The Sandford Park Alehouse in High Street impressed judges with its "quality and choice of real ales".

The pub opened in 2013 and is housed in a Grade II-listed building that was previously home to the EXS nightclub.

Owner and manager Grant Cook said the award was "fantastic news" and staff were "thrilled" to win.

Image caption Owner Grant Cook said it was "gratifying" Camra liked the pub's "quirkiness"

Judges said the pub was a "modern, light, town centre pub which appeals to traditional and younger customers alike across all social, gender and age groups".

The pub has served more than 1,400 different draught real ales since it opened.

'Starting from scratch'

Mr Cook said: "We know that many hundreds of people in more than 200 Camra branches around the UK were involved in selecting and evaluating candidate pubs for this award and it is frankly amazing to emerge from this process on top.

"If we are a bit quirky then it's all the more gratifying that Camra evidently likes our sort of quirkiness."

Camra regional director Gareth MacDonald said: "The pub has something for everyone and is very deserving of this recognition; from an excellent, warm welcome to a great choice of ales and ciders."

Rob Coldwell, from Cheltenham Camra, said: "It's hard enough to achieve success with an established pub, but Grant opened the Sandford Park Alehouse as a brand-new pub.

"Starting completely from scratch to reach the level of national pub of the year in less than three years requires tremendous hard work."

Last year's Camra national pub of the year winner also went to a Gloucestershire pub - The Salutation Inn at Ham, near Berkeley.

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