Freemasons leads the way as East Lancs dominates Gastropub awards

Chef Steve Smith at The Freemasons at Wiswell
Chef Steve Smith at The Freemasons at Wiswell

Four East Lancashire pubs have been named among the best in the country.

Four East Lancashire pubs have been named among the best in the country.

Freemasons at Wiswell, Parkers Arms in Newton in Bowland, The White Swan at Fence and Assheton Arms in Downham were named on the prestigious Top 50 Gastropubs list at a special event at Lillibrooke Manor in Berkshire.

It was a double win for Freemasons at Wiswell chef patron, Steven Smith, who was also named Gastropub Chef of the Year.

A top five regular on the list, the gastropub’s No.3 position was its highest ranking since the awards were launched and takes the top spot in Lancashire.

The news comes ahead of the pub launching its own new chef’s table experience and luxury accommodation in the spring.

Steve said: “Lancashire has once again shown what a truly fantastic offering it has across the county and The Freemasons were honoured to be leading the charge.

“This is a big year for the pub. We’re happy to have established ourselves as one of the best pubs in the country but with our new offering, we’re confident it will take us to the next level.”

The Top-50 announcement also continued an impressive run for Tom Parker, head chef at The White Swan at Fence, which was the highest new entry on the list at No.19.

The multi-award-winning pub, which has been a hit with critics including Jay Rayner, was also awarded its first Michelin star last October.

Parkers Arms headed up by chef Stosie Madi in Newton in Bowland took 16th place, and Seafood Pub Company’s Assheton Arms, with head of kitchen operations Mark Taft, returned to the list at No.45.

The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs are voted for by gastropub operators, food writers, executive chefs and experts across the industry.