Here are the friendliest, all-round best pubs in the UK, according to CAMRA

Cricketers, St Helens, Merseyside

Owners Andy and Denise Evans bought The Cricketers in 2013, back when it was “boarded up and hadn’t actually sold cask ale since the 1980s.”

Since then, Evans has invested heavily in the venue, transforming it into a true local with that ever-south-after conversational atmosphere.

In less than five years, the couple have converted what was once a keg-only pub to a destination pub offering 13 cask beers of all styles — both local and from further afield — and over 10 ciders and perries.

The judges described the venue as a “friendly community pub” on the outskirts of St Helen’s town centre, hosting darts and pool tournaments, gigs and several beer festivals throughout the year.

The Cricketers picked up gongs in 2015 and 2016 as Merseyside’s Pub of the Year, but this is the first time the pub has made it to the nationals.

“It’s a well deserved third time lucky for the Cricketers on reaching the final,” Nick Bosley, CAMRA’s regional director for Merseyside and Cheshire, said.

“On the principle that a pub is always a ‘work in progress’ they continue to make small changes to improve the pub.”

Owner Andy Evans said he also has plans to install a microbrewery next year.

“We are really proud to be part of the cask ale scene and would like to congratulate all the other pubs in the running – including our local rivals the Wigan Central! We hope to bring the accolade home to Merseyside this year.”

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