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Express & Star's Most Popular Pub of the Year announced

By Doug Wootton | Staffordshire | Entertainment | Published:

The winner of the Express & Star's Most Popular Pub of the Year in Wolverhampton has been announced.

The unique Codsall Station on Chapel Lane won the award, sitting a short walk from the nearby railway station.

The competition, now in its second year, saw 33 pubs enter the search to find the most popular pubs in the Black Country and Mid Staffordshire.

The three pubs whose customers collected the most tokens printed in the paper received an unannounced visit from a member of the Express & Star and were they were judged on customer service, atmosphere, pricing, quality of food and hygiene.

The Codsall Station, which won the top spot in Wolverhampton has gone from strength to strength since being converted from a derelict property in 1999.

The Holden's pub puts a focus on being an 'original real ale pub', serving Black Country favourites, sourced from local butchers.

In terms of ale, the pub serves a collection Holden's finest, as well as three pumps for guest ale's with an emphasis on supporting local breweries.

On the food menu, the Black Country themed menu features bostin' burgers, beer battered cod and of course, faggots and peas.

The current landlord, Toby Lardner took over in January after starting out in the pub trade collecting glasses at the age of 16.

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He has since worked his way to the top after spells at pubs across the West Midlands.

The 34-year-old, from Moseley, said: "I'm very proud to our award and to be honoured in a our local paper is a huge honour.

"It's a few things, which have got us to where we are, but firstly it's a lot of hard-work.

"I've changed a few things since coming, spruced it up, altered the menu a bit, a few staff changes, but I think working with a smile on your face is a key thing and having that good rapport with customers, I love the general banter

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"We take on board what customers say, if they want beer changes or any food favourites they want adding to the menu, we take that on board.

"I never planned to be a landlord when I started out, but once you get into the pub trade it does take over and it doesn't feel like a job, it's a lifestyle and you've got to enjoy everything that comes with it."

The pub has previously picked up the CAMRA local pub award and brings in a wide range of customers due to it's location.

A stone's throw away from Codsall railway station, the pub contains various railway memorabilia which sees train and railway enthusiasts spend afternoons there, whilst others go for a pre-drink, before hoping on the train to nearby cities.

Andy Maxwell, Express & Star circulation sales manager, said: "I would like to congratulate all the five edition area winners firstly for taking part but more importantly for coming out on top in what proved to be a keenly contested contest.

"All runners-up should equally be excited with their success. To be recognised as the most Popular Pub of the Year within the area that they serve is an accolade that all winners should be rightfully proud of. Well done for all the hard work involved in achieving this award.

Doug Wootton

By Doug Wootton
Wolverhampton Reporter - @_DougWootton

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