'We were so shocked to have won': Wolverhampton pub celebrates after award

By Marion Brennan | Dining out | Published:

"It's the Harry Potter of pubs - you go through the blue door and suddenly find yourself in this historic little pub you never knew was there," says landlady Hayley Hall.

Dave and Hayley Buck celebrate with customers as the Lych Gate Tavern in Queen Square, Wolverhampton wins the Best Pub in the Midlands Food Drink and Hospitality awards 2018

It's true that The Lych Gate Tavern in Wolverhampton city centre, which she runs with fiancé David Buck, is one of the city's best-kept secrets.

"When we came to have a look, we walked past the place three times before finding it," says the bubbly 51-year-old. "Then we walked in and fell in love with the place."

The pair took over the business just two years ago and have already won a prestigious regional award for their management of it.

The Lych Gate in Queen Square, beside the gated entrance to St Peter's Church, was named Best Traditional Pub in the Midlands Food Drink Hospitality Awards ceremony in Birmingham - after being named runners-up in last year's awards.

The competition covers Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire as well as the West Midlands.

For such a small pub, it is a big achievement. Hayley says: "What is special is that we're not just a little pub that's the best in Wolverhampton, we're a little pub in Wolverhampton that's the best in the Midlands.

"We were so shocked to have won, it took Dave and I five minutes to get to the stage to pick up the award. After the long hours and hard work we and the staff put in, it's fantastic."

It is Hayley's fourth pub but for 52-year-old Dave, a former police officer who was also in retail for 25 years, this is his first taste of pub management. They impressed the judges with their range of real ales served from 10 hand pumps and traditional pub grub - including old-school crusty cheese cobs and, from nearby Michael Kirk butchers, a selection of pork pies, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs.


The couple moved to Wolverhampton from Stoke-on-Trent in 2016 and were immediately impressed by the city centre. "We love overlooking the church and being so close to beautiful buildings like the Art Gallery and Beatties. We also love being near to the football ground and having fans in on a match day."

To unwind, away from duties behind the bar, the self-confessed workaholic has set herself the task of uncovering the history of the building, part of which dates back to 1550, with the bulk of it being built in the 1750s.

"It has connections with Button Gwinnett, one of the signatories on the American Declaration of Independence, who was from the city," says Hayley. "We hope, in our own way, we're doing our bit to put Wolverhampton on the map."

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.


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