The Hartley Wintney inn has got numerous accolades with Sisi and Andrew at the helm
Top awards just keep on coming at The Phoenix Inn.
In August the pub, on the A30 London Road in Phoenix Green just outside Hartley Wintney, was named winner of the Best Wine Pub for the south west region in the BT Sport Great British Pub Awards 2013.
It now goes into the grand final, to be held at London’s Hilton Hotel on September 12, with a chance to win the overall title of Great British Pub of the Year. But whatever the result, the pub can already boast it is Les Routiers 2012/13 Inn of the Year UK.
Judges of the leading guide look for individually with a certain quirkiness, excellent cuisine, warm hospitality and value for money and earlier this year they praised the Phoenix for its consistently exceptional service and hospitality. The award came soon after the pub was crowned the venue for the UK’s best British roast dinner in November 2012. It had been in a shortlist of five, which included the club restaurant at Aston Villa Football Club.
It’s all a dream come true for licensees Sisi and Andrew Ryder who now have their sights set on the News & Mail’s Pub of the Year 2013 title.
Andrew, 47, began his career at The Savoy, very quickly progressed to restaurant manager and after 10 years went on to join The Chez Gerard group.
Sisi, 51, has always worked in the pub and bar industry and began her career managing a wine bar in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. She then went on to Birmingham with her first tenancy, The Queens Tavern, but when tenancy agreements altered to leases, she went on to work as general manager for large groups such as City Centre Restaurants, The Slug and Lettuce group and Mitchells and Butlers.
But a desire to move to the countryside after meeting Andrew eventually brought the pair to The Phoenix.
“We viewed some 150 pubs before choosing The Phoenix,” said Sisi. “We had a business plan and knew the sort of premises that would suit it.
“With its large car park and garden and location on a main road in an affluent area, The Phoenix ticked all the boxes.
“The building dates back to 16th century in some parts and has lots of nooks and crannies that make it interesting. We immediately fell in love with it and opened on my birthday - November 23 in 2009.
“The local community have a passion for the pub and so embraced us with enthusiasm. In all the years of running pubs in various parts of the UK, I have never felt as happy as I feel in Hartley Wintney.”