Irish pub wins London Pub of Year

Irish pub The Blythe Hill Tavern between Catford and Forest Hill in south-east London, has won the London Pub of the Year award from the Society for the Preservation of Beers From the Wood. 

It has been run by Limerickman Con Riordan for the past 27 years who puts the award down to being part of the local community.

According to the judges’ citation, “The BHT is a community pub par excellence, superbly run by Con and his team of highly-efficient and friendly staff. The pub is neatly split into three distinct drinking areas, there’s a spacious patio outside and an equally substantial function room upstairs. TVs show sporting events (particularly Irish) and there are regular quiz nights and occasional live music as well”.

It also serves the best Guinness in London with “great Irish music on Thursday nights”, according to some of the online comments about the Victorian pub.

“They make you feel very welcome,” explained Roger Jacobson of the SPBW, “The staff are polite and the beer is amazing.”

Con was interviewed on the John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio after the win where he emphasised the importance of having good bar staff.

“The key is the people who’re here and the old-fashioned Irish hospitality they give which is very important in the modern age,” he said, “I’ve a manager for 16 years, Terry McSweeney from Cork. I’ve a barman, John Craven from Co Down, who’s 78. He’s been in the trade a long time. People skills are very important.”

He added, “The first generation Irish are, sadly, dying-off but we have their children and grandchildren coming in”.

His staff wear collars and ties behind the bar and table service forms a major part of The Blythe Hill’s operation.

The bar also sponsors local hurling and football as well as ladies’ camogie and soccer teams. Munster rugby fans are catered for too in the bar.



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