A micro pub in Worthing, which has been open for less than two years, has been named CAMRA Sussex Pub of the Year 2016.
Brooksteed Alehouse, in South Farm Road, Worthing, was awarded the prestigious title after a close competition with four other shortlisted pubs in the county.
Nick Little, 45, who runs the pub with his wife, Paula Little, 49, said: “We were surprised to win, having gone head to head with four other pubs in Sussex.
“I know two of them and they are excellent places, very good, so even to be up against them in the first place is great. We’re pretty chuffed.
“To win this kind of accolade after just short of two years being here is pretty special.”
Nick, a former IT manager, and Paula, who worked in research and development for cosmetics, quit their jobs and converted a former hairdressers into the pub in September 2014.
“We were in vastly different careers before but we decided we had had enough and would try to do something for ourselves,” said Nick.
“We looked at a few places but when we spotted this one, it ticked all of our boxes.
“We’re lucky to be by the station because if you live in the neighbourhood there’s the option to come in on the way home from work.”
The micro pub, which Nick describes as modern looking, has a highly selective range of beers on offer.
“We don’t do tapped lagers or spirits, just cask beers, as well as ciders and wine. We usually have a ‘best bitter style’, pale ales, IPAs and APAs.
“We have a good sense of what goes down well among the customers now,” he said.
The couple, who live in Oving, Chichester, have worked hard to make the pub a friendly and welcoming space.
“We have a very good regular crowd but we also have new people every night. We get a good male to female mix – it’s not just a male domain,” Nick said.
“There’s no music or TV so people engage in conversation a lot more freely.
“I’ve seen quite a lot of friendships made here. There’s a real satisfaction in seeing that happen, seeing people who are now friends and socialise outside the pub, which wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t exist.”
The owners were awarded a certificate by Peter Page-Mitchell, CAMRA Sussex Area Organiser.
Mr Page-Mitchell said: “Its an absolutely brilliant result, it’s great to see a new pub doing so well.
“I spent quite a lot of time there during the voting process and there’s a really good atmosphere. It’s a nice place to be and a really nice couple that run it.”
Brooksteed Alehouse will now go through to the competition’s super-regional round where it will compete against pubs in Surrey.