Dog friendly Leamington pub wins national award

Matt and Alexandra Crowther are pictured at the awards with comedian Ed Byrne.
Matt and Alexandra Crowther are pictured at the awards with comedian Ed Byrne.

A Leamington pub has seen off competition from more than 2.500 other establishments to win a national award for its innovative approach to attracting customers.

Judges for The Star Awards gala ceremony, considered the Fat Pug in Guys Cliffe Road to be a great all-rounder.

Fat Pug staff Sarah Shaw, Rosie Dowd-Smyth and Hollie Blythe

Fat Pug staff Sarah Shaw, Rosie Dowd-Smyth and Hollie Blythe

In winning the Innovative Award, It achieved high scores for everything from hosting innovative events and catering for different groups to its effective online marketing.

They remarked that it is much more than a pub in which to eat and drink – it was where the community came together to enjoy themselves.

The Royal Pug in Regent Street, also run by the Warwickshire operator Pug Pubs, was a runner up for The Best Cask pub.

Matt Crowther took on the pub in 2012, invested in a major refurbishment and renamed it The Fat Pug after his dog, Henrietta, to reflect its new direction.

When he took on the pub it employed just one member of staff.

Today it employs 28 people and under his stewardship trade has increased by 65 per cent.

The success of The Fat Pug led to Matt taking on the Royal Pug, which he also turned around after it had been closed for six months.

Matt said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award and for it to be on the back of the unique experience we try to give customers.

"It’s very rewarding to know that when people living nearby are planning to meet up for whatever reason, there first choice is The Fat Pug.

“Being named after a much-loved pug, we stand out in Leamington as a place you can bring your dog if you want a coffee, pint or meal.

"Our dog friendliness reputation has spread beyond Leamington.

"We even have dog lovers travelling from London to see what The Fat Pug is all about.”