OFM Awards 2019: Best place to drink – the runners-up

Holly O'Neill

London

The Kenton, Hackney
Norway meets east London in this pub with a giant moose head, local brews, vintage furniture and a Wes Anderson-esque outdoor area.
38 Kenton Rd, E9 7AB; 020 8533 5041

Bar Termini, Soho
A tiny but perfectly formed bar selling tiny but perfectly formed espressos, negronis and martinis (including the signature negroni and marsala martini with almond bitters), for all parts of your Soho day.
7 Old Compton St, W1D 5JE; 07860 945018

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P Franco, Hackney
P Franco receives so much acclaim for its kitchen with rotating resident chefs that it’s easy to forget it’s a wine bar – one of the best places to try natural wines and those from smaller producers and importers.
107 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0NP; 020 8533 4660

East

Church Street Tavern, Colchester
A large casual space with games and snacks, and a friendly welcome at any time of the day: coffee in the morning, craft beer and ciders for a lazy lunch, and aviations (and other classic cocktails) for a fiver as the sun goes down, before turning to the extensive wine list.
3 Church St, CO1 1NF; 01206 564325

Dylan’s – The King’s Arms, St Albans
A contemporary pub with real ale and craft beer, housed in a 15th-century building. The “beer wall” changes depending on season or daily whim and good dogs are welcome – call and book table seven.
7 George St, AL3 4ER; 01727 530332

Warwick Street Social, Norwich
This restaurant-bar is the hub of Norwich’s Golden Triangle, home to DJs, a weekly quiz, crowd-pleasing cocktails, and a large outdoor terrace.
2 Warwick St, NR2 3LD; 01603 627687

Midlands

Junkyard, Nottingham
Sibling to dive bar Boilermaker, Junkyard focuses on every type of beer drinker; if it’s not on the impressive chalkboard, you may find something to suit in the fridge. Beer snacks that pack a punch include stout-candied bacon and togarashi kale chips.
12 Bridlesmith Walk, NG1 2FZ; 0115 950 1758

Kilder, Birmingham
How to make a perfect railway-arch bar: fit out with pale wood and tiles, then add some banquettes, 15 beer taps, a few wines (some natural, of course), and for food focus on grilled cheese sandwiches. What started as an overflow bar for the Original Patty Men has come into its own.
5 Shaw’s Passage, B5 5JG; 0121 643 2546

Grace + James, Kings Heath
This pretty pastel bar focuses on biodynamic and low-intervention wines, with a vegan selection, local beer, and charcuterie, olives and “chease” on toast.
23 York Rd, B14 7SA; graceandjameskh@gmail.com (no phone bookings)

North

The Assembly, Leeds
Barely a year open, this small corner bar was an instant hit with locals who come for the Goose Island, Tiny Rebel, Magic Rock and North Brewing Co beers, wine that doesn’t break the £25 mark, cheeseboards, pork pies (£5 with a lager or wine) and (unusual but not unwelcome) rocky road.
Terminus Parade, Station Rd, LS15 7JZ; 0113 318 8486

The Con Club, Altrincham
This large restaurant in a former working men’s club also has a lively but relaxed drinking area. Not only does it feature its own micro-brewery but also has a juice bar.
48 Greenwood St, WA14 1RZ; 0161 696 6870

Public, Sheffield
Last year’s category winner. A moodily lit subterranean cocktail bar with table service, syrups and infusions made from foraged or waste ingredients, and a vinyl soundtrack.
23-55 Surrey St, S1 2LG (bookings online only)

South

L’Atelier du Vin, Brighton
The classic cocktails and a changing wine list in this 1920s style bar are so beloved by locals that it has recently opened a second branch in Seven Dials.
10 St George’s Pl, BN1 4GB (bookings online only)

The Ravensgate Arms, Ramsgate
A cosy community pub with craft beers, two-for-one cocktails (available as slushies on hot days), gigs, brewery tasting events, and a snack menu and upstairs restaurant in collaboration with the Crittenden family (of the acclaimed Stark in Broadstairs).
56-58 King St, CT11 8NY

The Thatch, Thame
A friendly, recently refurbished pub in a 16th-cenuty building, known for its gin selection, warm service, warren of rooms and pretty garden area.
29-30 High St, OX9 2AA; 01844 214340

West

Dark Bear, Bridport
Dorset ingredients infuse spirits and are turned into syrups for the seasonal cocktails at this bar that takes over from Aroma Café when the sun goes down.
31 East St, DT6 3JX; 01308 538338

Ginger Viking, Blandford Forum
Alex, the Ginger Viking, and Emma Young have turned their pop-up gin joint (a runner-up last year) into a deli-café-bar in its own home. Gin is still a main attraction, but now there’s cake in the morning, sharing platters and local produce to take home.
28 East Street, Blandford Forum, DT11 7DR; 07597 220955

Bodega, Christchurch
A deli and bottle shop by day, in the evenings the candles are lit and you can eat Spanish ham and local cheeses, as well as drink from a changing list of wines from innovative, young producers.
12 Wick Ln, BH23 1HX; 01202 476857

Scotland

The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart, Grandtully
This newly renovated hotel has been quick to win the favour of locals and tourists alike, grateful for the fine selection of whiskies, the outdoor terrace and the Highland views.
Grandtully, Strathtay, PH9 0PL; 01887 447000

Roseleaf, Leith
A cosy bar filled with mismatched vintage furniture, home-cooked snacks, Scottish and international beers, and cocktails and mocktails.
23-24 Sandport Pl, Edinburgh EH6 6EW; 0131 476 5268

Craigdarroch Arms Hotel, Moniaive, Dumfries & Galloway
Session ales and session musicians find a place in this cheery village pub. Movie nights, darts, blues festivals, movie nights and a cheery vibe make visitors wish this were their local – rooms upstairs means it can be, if only for a weekend.
High St, DG3 4HN; 01848 200205

Related: OFM Awards 2019: Best place to drink – 1000 Trades, Birmingham

Wales

The Dead Canary, Cardiff
Enter through the door marked Fire Exit for a secret, darkened den where strong cocktails are named after illustrious Welsh folk such as Nye Bevan (cognac, Fernet Branca, ginseng) and Howard Marks (gin and assorted herbal notes).
Barrack Ln, CF10 2FR; 029 2023 1263

Lab 22, Cardiff
Taking the laboratory approach, cocktails are listed in the style of a table of elements, and the flavour spectrum is charted on its own menu, from long to potently short, fruity through floral to spicy.
22 Caroline St, CF10 1FG; 029 2039 9997

Ginhaus, Llandeilo
It’s a deli and bakery by day, but stick around Friday and Saturday night to sample from the Wall of Gin, including some of its own distillations.
1 Market St, SA19 6AH; 01558 823030

Northern Ireland

Kiwi’s Brew Bar, Portrush
It’s not only beer that gets them through the door, but also ‘meet the brewer’ events and regular blues nights.
47 Main St, BT56 8BN; 028 7082 2402

Sunflower, Belfast
This corner pub is loved for its relaxed atmosphere, selection of regional cider, commitment to folk and country music, and the courtyard with its monthly flea market.
65 Union St, BT1 2JG; 028 9023 2474

Northern Lights, Belfast
It says it has Northern Ireland’s largest selection of craft beer, and staff certainly know their ales, as this airy, renovated industrial bar is owned by Galway Bay Brewery.
451 Ormeau Rd, BT7 3GQ; 028 9049 1722

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