Our pack of expert judges have the ruff task of crowning our UK National winner for the Dog-friendly Pub of the Year, selecting from our 12 regional winners, which are decided by your vote.
We sat down with each of our judges to find out what they look for in a dog-friendly pub and why they are proud to be a judge for the Rover Dog-friendly Pub Awards.
This is Ed’s fourth year judging the Dog-friendly Pub Awards, so he knows what to expect from a dog-friendly drinking establishment. As the Editor of the Morning Advertiser, the UK’s top publication for publicans, it’s fair to say he’s something of an expert when it comes to sniffing out excellent watering holes.
So, Ed, as a renowned pub expert, what makes the difference between a good pub and a ‘great’ pub?
Service, service and service! You can have the most beautiful pub in the world with the best selection of food and drink known to man, but when you walk through the door and get ignored or grunted at, it’s for nought. The best pubs are the ones that make you feel at home.
We couldn’t agree more! What are the key things you look out for when it comes to making our dogs feel at home in pubs?
Other dogs in the pub is a good start! I think those that go above and beyond to deliver a great service to our four-legged friends. It’s not just the humans you have to look after!
It’s great when dogs are made to feel as welcome as human patrons, but why do you think it’s important for pubs to open their doors to pooches too?
Why wouldn’t you? Dogs make most things better! But seriously, pubs are meant to be inclusive spaces, and excluding dogs has the potential to alienate a proportion of your customer base. Plus, a dog that knows he’s going to get a treat and a warm welcome is more likely to drag its owner into its favourite pub while they’ passing on the nightly walk!
So… not only does welcoming our furry friends into pubs put a smile on everyone’s face, it’s good for business too! (Pub Landlords, take note!)
We’re really excited to have you back as a judge in the Awards for the fourth year in a row, but what makes you proud to be part of the Rover Dog-friendly Pub Awards?
Pubs come in all shapes and sizes and appeal to different types of customers. Being able to recognise the pubs that offer great service to our furry friends for me helps celebrate the rich diversity that we have in the sector, and gets those pubs doing a great job a nice bit of recognition and a reward.
Like you said, pubs come in all shapes and sizes. In your eyes, what does your ideal pub look like? And what are you ordering at the bar?
Warm, welcoming and friendly to all would be my ideal pub, somewhere that once you enter you don’t want to leave. As for drinking, it would have to be a cracking pint of cask beer.
And lastly, if you could match your personality to a dog breed, which breed would you pick and why?
It would have to be a cross between an Irish Wolfhound and a Jack Russell, scruffy but loveable with a steely resolve until someone offers me a dog beer…
Voting has now closed in the Rover Dog-friendly Pub Awards. However, you can still explore the range of pubs we have on our website. Head to the dog-friendly pubs’ page to find your new friendly local and maybe add a few more to the list.