THE landlady of an inn named by Ashbourne News Telegraph readers as the “best pub in the area” said she was delighted punters signed up to a website just to vote for them.
Lorraine Garside said some of the regulars at the Cock Inn, in Clifton, were not members of Facebook but had specifically joined to have their say on who topped our online poll.
We asked our readers on the social networking website which pub they thought was the best in Ashbourne and surrounding areas.
They were invited to post their thoughts and, after receiving scores of responses from readers over a week, the Cock Inn emerged as the favourite.
It was closely followed by the Okeover Arms, at Mappleton, and the Smith’s Tavern, in Ashbourne.
Lorraine, 45, has been running the Cock Inn with husband Andrew, 48, for 11 years.
She said: “We’re really pleased to have been given this news. Our customers are so important to us and their support is vital to us.
“This is a family-run pub and we don’t have a huge league of staff – there are nine of us – so we have to work hard and it’s nice to see that has paid off.
“We saw the vote on Facebook and, obviously, we didn’t vote for ourselves but Andrew put up a notice in the pub about it so people were aware.
“Many of our customers are not on Facebook but they told us they had joined just so they could vote. It’s really touching that it was that important to them.”
Among comments posted about the pub on Facebook was one by user Leslie Carter, which said: “The atmosphere, the banter with the landlord, the food and the whole package means it is a good place to be.”
Rob Maple said: “Great atmosphere, smashing place and the drinks are top notch. Highly recommended.
And Carollyn McDonald posted: “Love the Cock Inn Clifton’s big breakfasts and friendly welcome – a real community, caring landlord.”
Lorraine – whose daughter, Bek, 22, also helps at the pub – said: “It was great reading the comments because people have said some really nice things, particularly about how the community is important to us.
“We do quite a lot with local people – for instance, the weekend just gone, Clifton Cricket Club held an auction and a fun day and we were able to help with that.
“We also have our back room available for people and groups to use – all of this is important because it means we are part of the community.
“And, when the summer trade starts to drop off, it means people want to keep coming back to us in winter too.”
The pub attracted national attention earlier this year when it became home to UK’s first-ever “automated shop” – a machine in the car park which villagers could use to buy milk, eggs, toiletries and kitchen essentials.
Lorraine, who is also licensee and chef at the pub, said: “I think the other thing people like the pub is its character.
“It has the old-world charm with its low beams and sloped floors but it also appeals to the younger punter as well. There is something for everyone.”
The vote was carried out as part of the paper’s According to You surveys, asking people about their favourite places and events in and around Ashbourne.
Mark Grist, chairman of the Ashbourne branch of CAMRA, said: "I am very happy to see a wide selection of pubs from around our area featuring in the poll.
"Everyone will always have a favourite and, if a group of regulars feel their pub is the best, then its great to see them combining their voices in polls such as these.
"I have said before that we are lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country and to have a diverse selection of great pubs, both within the town and out in the nearby countryside.
"Some concentrate on the beer, others on food, yet more combine both very well indeed - the important thing is for as many people as possible to keep on enjoying the many different experiences we can get from pub-going and support them as often as possible."