County pub wins No 1 spot in AA Guide

Steven Smith, chef patron at the Freemasons in Wiswell near Clitheroe.
Steven Smith, chef patron at the Freemasons in Wiswell near Clitheroe.
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The county’s top foodie pub has added another accolade to its trophy cabinet.

The Freemasons at Wiswell has been named national Restaurant of the Year by the prestigious AA Guide.

The eaterie, which prides itself on maintaining the atmosphere of a traditional village pub along with top quality food, has already been named No. 1 pub in the Waitrose Good Food Guide, top five in the top 50 Gastropubs, inclusion in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants and Best Food Pub in the Great British Pub Awards.

Now it has topped the list in the AA Guide, named as winner at a the annual Hospitality Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Chef and owner Steven Smith said: “I’m not going to go with the cliché, ‘we’re really pleased to have won’ because of course we are.

“It’s so much more than that. As a pub, we’re here for the long term and this award not only creates a legacy for The Freemasons, it’s a building block from which we plan to move onward and upwards.

“When I started out over a decade ago, I wanted to stake out a place for myself in this industry and become known for the quality of my dishes and menus.

“This is a very proud moment for me, Aga and the team, and really puts The Freemasons on the map for foodies across the country, as well as our loyal customers and regular visitors.”

The AA guide marks restaurants on food, innovation, ambience and hospitality.

The AA inspector described the Freemaons as: “Exciting virtuoso cooking in a relaxed village inn”.

Steven and his partner Agnieszka Tyczka took over the Freemasons seven years ago and have introduced new menus and quirky versions of classic pub dishes.

The Guide has been rating hotels and restaurants for more than 100 years, and each place is inspected by an AA inspector.