A North Shields pub has been named among the best in the UK.
The Spread Eagle, in Preston Village, beat off competition from more than 1,000 pubs to be named Best Food Pub in national awards run by Heineken owned Star Pubs & Bars.
The award is the second commendation for the Spread Eagle in recent weeks with the pub also winning a Cask Marque accreditation for the quality of its cask ales.
Its food was marked against stringent criteria from its quality and pricing to staff knowledge of the menu and speed of service, and came out on top in every area with the judges ranking the food excellent.
Judges were also impressed by how quickly first time licensee Claire Hall has established the Spread Eagle as an outstanding place to eat.
Claire took over the pub three years ago and wasted no time in overseeing a £195,000 refurbishment to transform it from an unloved local with no food into a warm, welcoming popular village pub with an extended kitchen and dining area.
She said: “It’s amazing to have the Spread Eagle recognised for the things I love doing – giving hospitality and serving good food.
“The chefs and kitchen staff work incredibly hard behind the scenes and it’s fantastic to have their talent rewarded.
“We are honoured, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
The judges praised the Spread Eagle for sourcing their produce locally and for making everything they could from scratch.
The pub was also singled out for its regularly changing menu and use of seasonal ingredients, which ensure there is always something new for regulars to try.
With the help of her dad, David Smith, Claire has put the pub on the map for the quality of its beer as well as its food.
After helping part time at the Spread Eagle, David gave up his job as a taxi driver to focus full time on looking after the pub’s beer and bar, introducing four cask ales including the pub’s own Spread Eagle Bomber.
Claire received the prestigious award at a gala celebration night in Manchester from Coronation Street star Kym Marsh.
Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “The Spread Eagle is a winner all round – it’s a great pub for a good pint and also a fantastic place to eat out.
“It’s no surprise that it’s not just loved by locals but is increasingly sought out by pub goers from across Tyneside and further afield.
“It’s the hard work and passion of licensees like Claire that keep the great British pub very much alive.”