Henley pub operator Brakspear has scooped the top title in the National Pub & Bar Awards 2022 for its Cotswolds pub The Frogmill, part of its Honeycomb Houses managed division.
The pub, set in extensive grounds in the village of Shipton Oliffe outside Cheltenham, dates back to the 16th century. It has a traditional bar, restaurant, boutique bedrooms and wedding/function spaces. Brakspear acquired the site in 2016, reopening it in 2018 after significant investment and it has since traded successfully by appealing to local residents, diners, weekenders and wedding parties.
Despite The Frogmill’s enviable location and stylish décor, it was their operational standards and customer service that won them National Pub & Bar of the Year title. Judges praised the flawless operation, attention to detail and genuine hospitality, which stem from the Honeycomb Houses ethos of ‘Our House, Your Home’: the team host guests in the way they would treat friends visiting their home, creating a relaxed yet attentive atmosphere for their visit.
Tom Davies, Chief Executive at Brakspear, said: “Everyone at Brakspear is delighted to have won this award and proud of the sterling work from Simon Stanbrook, general manager at The Frogmill, and his team, supported by Sophie Johnson, our senior operations manager. It speaks volumes to their talent and dedication that they have maintained the highest standards despite the challenges created by Covid, supply chain issues and staff shortages.
“When we reopened The Frogmill in 2016, we said we wanted it to win awards, and it’s wonderful to see that ambition realised. It’s also good to have recognition that the Honeycomb Houses ethos, which is in place at all nine pubs including The Bull on Bell Street in Henley, is delivering award-winning standards and service.”
Simon Stanbrook, General Manager at The Frogmill, said: “I’m completely overwhelmed. This award is for the team — from our housekeeping to kitchen, events and front of house teams, they all work exceptionally hard day in, day out.
“We work together like a family, and take pride in having an eye for detail and looking out for opportunities to add touches that make our guests’ experience at The Frogmill memorable rather than just good!”
On the way to collecting the top award, The Frogmill was named the Best Pub in Gloucestershire, as one of 94 County Winners in the National Pub & Bar Awards. It then won the Best Pub in the South West title, as one of 15 regional winners, announced at an awards event in London.
Brakspear rebranded its managed division as Honeycomb Houses in November 2021, bringing the pubs together with a strong overall identify while retaining each pub’s individual character. The estate includes 10 pubs in the Cotswolds and in locations around Brakspear’s Henley heartland, as well as The Ghyll Manor near Horsham, West Sussex, purchased in February this year, which is currently closed.
The Bull on Bell Street, Brakspear’s first managed pub, reopened in May this year after an extensive refurbishment designed to make it the top spot in town for al fresco dining and drinking this summer and beyond.