Strawberry named coast’s best ale pub

Landlord Dave Shaw (right) accepts the award from Branch Chairman Paul Smith (centre) as General Manager John Scott (left) looks on
Landlord Dave Shaw (right) accepts the award from Branch Chairman Paul Smith (centre) as General Manager John Scott (left) looks on

Regulars at Fleetwood’s Strawberry Gardens pub are raising a glass after it was voted the best pub in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.

The Poulton Road hostelry received the accolade from the local branch of real ale body, CAMRA.

Members of the organisation’s Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre branch were at the pub’s latest beer festival to celebrate its selection as the branch’s Pub of the Year.

The latest award is certainly a feather in Fleetwood’s cap, as the pub was up against the best real ale pubs from the whole of the Fylde coast.

Branch chairman Paul Smith, who presented the award, said the pub had earned the award “for the quality of its beer and the way it promotes real ale.”

Proud landlord Dave Shaw said: “I’m delighted to receive this award.

“We’ve only been open two years, and to win (Branch) Cider Pub of the Year last year, and this award this year, is just fantastic.

“This is very much a team effort and I must thanks all my staff and general manager John Scott for their hard work.”

Dave also recognised the contribution that loyal punters had made to the pub’s success.

Although Dave has only been a pub landlord for two years, he has been a member of CAMRA since its inception in the early 1970s, and has been involved with the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Branch from the outset.

The latest award certainly demonstrates a welcome turnaround in the pub’s fortunes.

It came close to shutting down for good only two years ago. Dave and business pals rescued it and re-invented it as a real ale house.

It officially re-opened on April 8 last year.

Since then it has continued to go from strength to strength. Only last week the Strawberry played host to a successful beer festival in its car park.

Dave is also looking at plans to set up a brewery and even include hotel accommodation.

However, it is the impressive selection of ales which have won the pub a legion of new fans from across the whole of the Fylde coast.

There are real ales, continental beers and an unusually large selection of ciders,

Since last summer the pub has also housed an eaterie run by comedian Syd Little and his wife Sheree, the Little Restaurant, which has become popular.

The Strawberry Gardens has a long history in Fleetwood.

It was in business during Fleetwood’s 1927 floods and even has a mark on the outside wall which shows where the water came up to.

With so many of Fleetwood pub’s closing in recent years, it’s continued success is a real shot in the arm for Fleetwood’s pub-goers.

The town has lost The Ship, The Victoria and the Fleetwood Arms, with the Jolly Sailor still shut and before that Gullivers, the Cutty Sark and The Broadway all long gone.

Without the intervention of Dave and his pals, the Strawberry would surely have joined these lost watering holes and been consigned to local history. Now the future is looking bright.

Dave added: “I’m proud to run this pub as a local business employing local people.”