10 of the best community-owned pubs

Posted on the 8th September 2016

Think of the perfect pub – a warm and cosy local, filled with friendly faces. Now imagine the cash you paid for every drink wasn’t lining the pockets of some multinational beverage company, but instead was going right back into the local community.

Sounds too good to be true? Think again – these magical places really do exist. They are community-owned pubs; pubs purchased and co-operatively owned by the local community.

Using community shares, the Community Right to Bid and the enthusiasm of local people, more and more communities are getting together to save their locals from closure by rallying round, raising money and purchasing the pub themselves.

Want to find out more? Check our Community Pubs Kit.

For inspiration, and to celebrate International Beer Day, we’ve put together a list of just a few of England’s best community-owned pubs.

The Ivy House,  Nunhead

Ivy House

The Ivy House in Nunhead was the first pub saved using the Community Right to Bid and is also London’s first co-operative pub. It’s a grade II listed 1930s building with a handsome wooden interior. The Ivy House serves tasty food and an excellent selection of craft beers and real ales.

The Fox and Goose, Hebden Bridge, W Yorkshire

The Fox and Goose

Where else would West Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub be located but community-spirited Hebden Bridge? There has been an alehouse on the site since the 1300s, and the Fox and Goose is a real old-school local. It welcomes one and all, from hikers to dogs, and serves locally brewed beer and real ales.

George and Dragon, Hudswell, N Yorkshire

George and Dragon

Open since 2010, this picturesque pub perched high on the Yorkshire Dales is an example of just how successful a community-owned pub can be. Drawing in locals, walkers and tourists alike, the George and Dragon’s excellent menu and acre of gardens (incorporating community allotments) with beautiful views over Swaledale mean it’s always busy.

Red Lion, Preston, Hertfordshire

Red Lion pub

The granddaddy of them all – the Red Lion was the first community-owned pub in the UK (although this title is contested by The Old Crown, in Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria). It was purchased by the people of Preston in 1982 and today is still a thriving village pub. The Red Lion was voted The Good Pub Guide’s ‘Value Pub of the Year 2014’.

Angler’s Rest, Bamford, Derbyshir

anglers rest

A lovely village pub in the heart of the Peak District, the Angler’s Rest was one of the first wave of pubs to be listed as a ‘asset of community value’. Inviting and cosy, this pub not only serves excellent home-cooked food, but is also home to the local Post Office.

Rose and Crown, Slaley, Northumberland

Rose and Crown

The Rose and Crown in the village of Slaley, in the Northumberland countryside, has been in business since the 17th century. Villagers were not about to let it close down when the brewery announced its plans to sell. The pub is now once again busy, well-used and back at the heart of this close-knit community.

The Tally Ho Inn, Littlehempston, Devon

Tally Ho Inn

A picture perfect 14th century pub, the Tally Ho Inn is nestled next to the church in the pretty rural village of Littlehempston. The Tally re-opened its doors under community ownership just a few weeks ago, after first being listed as an asset of community value.

The Butchers Arms, Crosby Ravensworth, Cumbri

The Butchers Arms

The Butcher’s Arms is Crosby Ravensworth’s only pub, and is a comfortable and traditional local. It has been in community ownership since 2011, when the local community – and shareholders from all over the world – got together to save it from closing down.

Fox and Hounds, Charwelton, Northamptonshire


Fix and hounds

Another recent addition to the community-owned family, the Fox and Hounds re-opened as a co-operative in March after being listed as an asset of community value. A very smart refurbishment and a menu of rustic Italian food have helped to bring this well-loved local back to life.

The Star Inn, Salford, Manchester

Star Inn

Bought by the local community in 2009, the Star Inn was Britain’s first, and for a long time only, urban co-operative pub. Tucked away in a Salford back street, it’s now also home to Salford’s only brewery, in which the Star Inn’s in-house ale is brewed.

These are just a few examples of the many excellent community pubs currently open for business. Have we missed off your favourite? Leave a comment and let us know.

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