Sussex pub named best freehouse in the country

Honoured: Dominic McCartan and Tony Leonard, the licensees at The Roebuck in Laughton
Honoured: Dominic McCartan and Tony Leonard, the licensees at The Roebuck in Laughton

The Roebuck Inn at Laughton was celebrating after being named the best freehouse in the country in the John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards.

The awards, which celebrate the best pubs throughout the UK, took place at the Park Lane Hilton, on London, on 7 September and saw The Roebuck beat off strong competition from rival hostelries.

Run by seasoned operators Tony Leonard and Dominic McCartan, this steampunk-themed pub offers a great range of drinks and food, accommodation, and a wide range of live music and theatre events.

Tony said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the Best Freehouse in the UK. This is a tremendous accolade for our talented and hard-working team and all our customers who make The Roebuck such a lovely pub to be part of.”

It is the only pub in the village and had been closed for two years before the couple took it on. Dominic said: “It’s a great honour to win this title, particularly given that we have only been up and running for such a short time.

“It’s wonderful to be recognised for the work that we and all the staff at The Roebuck put in to making everyone’s experience here as enjoyable as it can be.”

Ed Bedington, editor of pub trade magazine The Morning Advertiser, said: “These awards celebrate everything that is so great about the Great British Pub, which is an institution the entire country should be proud of.

“I’m delighted to be able to announce that The Roebuck Inn has won the title of Freehouse of the Year. This is a pub that clearly stood out against a very competitive field and its recognition is much deserved.”

Ifeoma Dozie, brand director for John Smith’s, said: “Huge congratulations to The Roebuck for winning the Freehouse of the Year! We are so lucky in this country to have an abundance of pubs - nowhere else in the world has pubs like us Brits.

“Pubs are central to all our lives – they’re the place where memories are made, from first dates, to birthday nights out, to great evenings with mates. They are so central to every village, town and city in the UK and the people that run them are pillars of their communities.

“Pubs are the places where people come together whether it’s for a pub quiz, weekly karaoke, live local bands, stand-up comedy, or just to simply enjoy a refreshing pint.

“The raft of extraordinary pubs in this country is a testament to the hard work of licensees up and down the country – so well done to not only the winner, but to every pub that made the shortlist.”

The Great British Pub Awards have been running for 17 years and saw more than 1,000 pubs in the running for titles across 17 different categories, ranging from Best Food Pub to Best Freehouse. The Roebuck was also shortlisted in the categories of Best Food Pub and Best Inn.

Bedington added: “Pubs are at the heart of the community across the UK and it’s a real honour to be able to celebrate some of the great sites and the landlords that run them, all of whom are striving to provide such a valuable service.”