REGULARS at a Longroyd Bridge pub need no excuse for a party.
But this week drinkers at The Bridge have the perfect reason to celebrate after being voted Examiner Pub of the Year.
Manager at the pub Dawn Hopton – 47 today – said: “Everybody is over the moon.
“We are all thrilled to bits and can’t wait to have a party!”
There is always something to celebrate at The Bridge.
Dawn, who runs the pub with husband Derek, 53, had her birthday bash at the weekend.
“We had a party on Saturday with a live band and everything. It was brilliant,” she said.
The Bridge in Manchester Road came out on top in the Examiner’s Pub of the Year competition.
Regulars had to collect tokens from the newspaper and The Bridge was more than 150 votes clear of runner-up the Rose and Crown in Knowl Road, Golcar.
Just behind in third was the Riverhead Brewery Tap in Peel Street, Marsden.
As a bit of an incentive, Dawn and Derek offered a free meal to the person who brought in most tokens.
Jane and Kev – it’s first name terms only at The Bridge – collected the most, but immediately donated the prize back to Dawn and Derek “because they deserve it.”
Dawn, in her seventh year at the pub, said it was her customers who made the pub so successful.
“If you’ve got a good clientele, you’ve got a good pub,” said Dawn.
“Everybody backs each other up. We are like one big happy family.
“You can come in here a stranger and go out as a friend.”
Dawn and Derek have steered the pub through some tough times.
“We have seen the impact of the smoking ban, cheap supermarket beer and people opting to have barbecues at home when the sun shines,” she said.
“But we have worked hard and kept going. To be successful you have to offer something different to other pubs.”
With regulars coming from as far afield as Manchester, Oldham and Sheffield, it is clear The Bridge isn’t a bridge too far.
There is something every night of the week at The Bridge but it is the monthly cookery competition which makes the pub stand out.
Competitors cook up their dishes and bring them in for judging by a local expert.
February’s cook-off theme was bacon while the next one, on Wednesday March 13, will be a pie contest to tie in with National Pie Week.
“Cookery programmes on TV are really popular and that’s one of the main topics of conversation at the bar,” said Dawn.
“We decided to have a competition of our own and it’s proved a big hit. You have to listen to what your customers want.”
The Bridge has a live band on Fridays and rock ‘n’ roll on Sundays.
The pub has a party night on Saturday, karaoke nights and quizzes and also hosts dominoes and pool teams.
There is also a picturesque “secret” beer garden out the back with a decked area and patio which looks out over the canal.
Dawn and Derek are married to the pub and even had their wedding reception there four years ago.
Dawn said: “It’s a lovely pub and we owe a massive thanks to all our customers.
“Without their support all these years we wouldn’t still be here.”