ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BV London Pub of the Year 2013-14 - the results

Some jobs are very straightforward.

Look at human statues, for example. They barely move, and yet all-too-frequently have the temerity to expect payment for their efforts! Piss easy.

Being the bass player in the Stereo MCs is also an incredibly easy job. The bassline of 'Connected' contains, literally, one note (an F#), repeated about 500 times. Again, an absolute pissing piece of pissy piss.

A far more challenging task, however, is working out the podium finishes in the Pub of the Year. Believe me, I've spent many sleepless nights staying up weighing up the merits of each pub, trying to work out who should come where in the pecking order and listening to Stereo MCs.

But the wait is over. It's time to reveal the top five pubs in London and crown the 2013-2014 winner!

Decisions, decisions, hurts like incisions...

To be honest, the winner this year is a tight, frothy head above the competition and the destination of the lovely PotY trophy was never in serious doubt. But with so many pubs tied on seven stars, ranking the others and deciding who does and who doesn't make the top five has been harder than I could possibly imagine, and someone always has to lose out.

Glass half empty? Not for the Craft Beer Co?
As usual my tie-breaking system involves closing my eyes and thinking 'which of these fantastic pubs would I prefer to be drinking in right now?'

So, in fifth place, it's last year's runner-up, the Craft Beer Company in Islington. Not the last time you'll be hearing that name either.

Fourth place goes to the Catford Constitutional, a sort of spiritual successor to last year's winner, and home to possibly the best pub food in the capital as well as awesome beers.

In third, one of the smallest and most unique places to drink, but one of my favourites, it's the Rake in Borough, punching well above its weight. Like that time Prince Naseem Hamed knocked out Lennox Lewis (except that the Rake is a thing that actually happened, which is good!)

These are all stunning, well-run pubs, excellent in their own unique ways, and if I was a mousey, Guardian-reading nursery school teacher with a scary psychopathic boyfriend, I'd probably be jabbering on about how, in a sense, they're all winners.

But who actually won?

In a display of serious territorial dominance over the London beer scene, the Craft Beer Company in Clapham takes the runner-up spot, and so, for a second time, the Craft Beer Company, Clerkenwell is the winner!

Only one name can go on the trophy
A relatively recent opening, but an absolute cracker, the Clapham branch has finally given people who aren't twats a reason to go to that part of London. If you have to cancel a luxury cruise to the Bahamas to attend their 'Craft 100' beer festival next month, it'll probably be the right decision.

As for the Clerkenwell branch - the original and, evidently, still the best CBC - it's been consistently awesome this year, with manager Robbie seemingly on a mission to be the best of the best of the best.

The beer choice is vast, the quality is superb, the staff know some serious shit about beer. They won the inaugural PotY award for a reason, and they've won it again this year for exactly the same reasons, only now they've expanded their empire and show no sign of slowing down.

Three pubs in the top five this year - could it be five out of five next time? Will I have to introduce some sort of draconian anti-monopoly rule to the contest just to prevent it being five out of five next time?

I told you this wasn't an easy job...

Congratulations guys, keep up the awesome work!

In case you're interested in the original reviews:

  • The Catford Constitutional and Craft Islington were reviewed in part one.
  • Craft Clerkenwell came in part two.
  • Craft Clapham was in part three; and
  • The Rake was reviewed in, yes, that's right, part four.


  1. cbc clerkenwell has a vast beer choice but often 3 or 4 beers from 3 or 4 of the same breweries that it had on last week,last month ,last year.quite often boring tickwise.I think cbc Clapham is a nicer pub, better beer quality and the 100 beer fest puts it in the outstanding pub category but its your award so go for it cheers john g

  2. I would think about restricting the number of pubs from the same chain next year. Gotta tlisten to that song now :)

  3. John, that's exactly what I would've said about Craft Clerkenwell a year ago (and indeed did), but over the past 12 months I've found the range to be vastly improved.

    Perhaps it all comes down to the lottery of when one happens to hit the joint? Tonight, for example, there were half a dozen HopCraft beers, all but one I needed, and, more importantly as far as the drinking public are concerned, all were fucking great. (Apart perhaps from the Mosaic pale, but then I have documented issues with that particular hop)l

    1. Yeah I was in as well .Tried 2 out of the 3 I needed but then there were 3 regular darkstar beers ,the usual Kent beer and a couple of other usual beers .Still think it was a dull line up unless you are into hops.Poor food selection and the outside space with no place to rest your beer is a joke john g

  4. Have you been to the Wanstead Tap in Forrest Gate yet? It's a very small place but certainly has potential. You should check them out. They specialise in microbrewery beers.


Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.