A rail-themed watering hole next to Wigan North Western station has been named CAMRA’s Greater Manchester pub of the year.

Wigan Central, which opened in the railway arch on Queen Street in 2014, was pitted against eight other exceptional pubs nominated by CAMRA Greater Manchester branches.

A team of volunteer judges drawn from the 9,000 members in the region visited unannounced and evaluated the qualities of each pub, scoring them on a variety of features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders.

“Back in 2014, our aim was to have a dedicated real ale bar in a historic part of the town,” said co-owner Patsy Slevin. “We invoked memories of the long since closed Wigan Central station with our decor and furnishings that reflect the age of steam. But we aren’t stuck in the past – regulars and occasional visitors love our real time monitors showing departures at both Wigan stations.”

CAMRA regional director Graham Donning said: “Wigan Central is a wonderful take on a modern bar nestling in a 19th century railway arch. It signals that imagination and attention to detail can make a themed pub a winner.

“Our judges gave points for the friendly service, condition of real ales and ciders, and the unique use of railway arrival and departure screens to give clear information about the beers on tap and in the cellar. As our regional award winner, it will now line up against the rest of the country for the national title. I’m confident it will be a contender.”

Runner-up was The Chiverton Tap, Cheadle Hulme (Stockport and South Manchester branch). The other finalists were The Brink (Central Manchester branch); The Flying Horse, Rochdale (Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch); Pi, Altrincham (Trafford & Hulme branch); The Malt Dog, Monton (Salford branch); The Fleece, Mossley (High Peak and Tameside branch); Bunburys (Bolton branch); Travellers’ Rest, Lowton (South East Lancs branch).

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