Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase 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. And as a critic 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!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

BV London Pub of the Year 2022-23 - the results

What combines the anticipatory excitement of a gender-reveal party with the hoppy aroma of a cool, fresh pint, and the excited anticipation of a different gender-reveal party?

That's right - the BV London Pub of the Year contest. And the hour is hand for the winner to be revealed, so let's crack on with our top five for 2022-23.

So, here we go...

(Oh yeah, read the actual content of parts one and two first, otherwise none of this will make any sense.)

So, here we go. For real this time...


Our 5th placed pub this year is one of the debutants, the Star & Garter in Bromley. Great cask and keg beers, quirky decor that blends ancient and modern, it's a welcome addition to the competition and does well to go straight into the top five with a bullet.

In 4th we welcome back a West End girl that has been around the block and actually first appeared in the very first ever competition 11 years. Yes, it's the Harp in Covent Garden. Well, Charing Cross really, but people tend to call it the Harp in Covent Garden and it's such a great little pub I'm not going to argue.

3rd place has come as something of a surprise. It's another pub that's been around for yonks but only makes it's debut in the contest this time. Really well-kept Hopback beers? Board games? The best pork scratchings? It's the Sultan in South Wimbledon.

And so, we're into the final two. Or look, it's the same final two as last year. And indeed it's the same final two in the last contest prior to lockdown, so there's some serious staying power going on. But in what order? For the love of all that is good about pubs and beer, what is the order?!?


This year's Runner-up is the Kentish Belle in Bexleyheath. The gold standard for a South-East London micropub and a blueprint for anyone wanting to create excellence from a standing start..

But there can only be one Winner. And it is, in case you haven't worked it out, the Hope in Carshalton. The community pub that just keeps on giving back, with the best beer festivals around and a place in all our hearts.

Not short of awards!
It's not like they need another gong down at 48 West Street - the pub has just been named CAMRA Greater London Pub of the Year (again) and has a history of picking up award after award, but they've won them all for a very good reason, and that's why they deservedly take top spot here. 

So major congrats to the team at The Hope, you are officially the BV London Pub of the Year 2022-23!

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