Raising a glass to pub’s success

James Laffan, and Kimberley and John Calton outside the Staith House.
James Laffan, and Kimberley and John Calton outside the Staith House.

A North Shields pub has beaten off stiff competition to win a company’s top award.

The Staith House, on the Fish Quay, beat off 1,100 other pubs to be named Star Pub of the Year in the national awards run by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars.

Left to right: Chris Jowsey (Star Pubs trading director), James Laffan, Kimberley and John Calton and Aaron Mulligan, their first member of staff. Picture by Chris North.

Left to right: Chris Jowsey (Star Pubs trading director), James Laffan, Kimberley and John Calton and Aaron Mulligan, their first member of staff. Picture by Chris North.

Licensees James Laffan and husband and wife team John and Kimberley Calton along with their first member of staff, Aaron Mulligan, received the prestigious award at a gala celebration night in Liverpool from celebrity chef Simon Rimmer.

The trio took over the pub in May 2013, transforming it with a £300,000 refurbishment.

John said: “It’s fantastic news, we’re thrilled, it’s great to be recognised especially against such tough competition and a real tribute to all our brilliant staff. We don’t see it just as an award for the Staith House but also for the fishermen and farmers who provide us with fresh produce and our customers.”

The award follows a year of success for the pub.

The Staith House won Food Pub of the Year in the Great British Pub Awards in August, Best Sunday Lunch and Best Restaurant runner up in the Observer Food Monthly Awards in October and have reached the finals of North East England’s Tourism Awards for Pub of the Year, with the winner due to be announced later this week.

The award recognised not just the trio’s transformation of the pub, but their passion for food and their determination and continued innovation in developing the Staith House’s menu.

The judges singled out the pub’s commitment to using local farmers and fisherman for their ingredients.

And they praised John and James’ latest move into making their own products, pickling and smoking fish, drying their own meat, making their own seaweed butter and salt with North Shields seaweed and producing their own hams and charcuterie.

Chris Jowsey, trading director for Star Pubs & Bar, said: “The Staith House’s rise has been meteoric yet John and James never rest on their laurels, always looking for new dishes and ingredients with which to delight their customers.

“And, though the food rivals that of top restaurants, the beauty of the Staith House is that it’s still very much a pub with menu prices to match, a great range of cask ales and lagers and a loyal following of beer enthusiasts.”