This category rates pubs based on the attractiveness of the pub building and lawn/patio area only.
Cosiness / Homeliness
What does it feel like when you're inside? Are the locals chatty, does it feel cozy and welcoming? *This category was formerly known as Atmosphere / Ambience.
Rusticness of Toilets
Pubs that score highly in this category will have toilet facilities full of rustic charm - think troughs, a framed collage of beer mats, or even a converted pigsty!
Chattiness of Bar Staff
Does the landlord or landlady ask you how your day has been, where you come from, or give you advice on the selection of ales?
Oldy Worldy Charm
Pubs that score highly for oldy worldy charm will make you feel more connected to generations gone by and give you a real feel for local history.
Selection of Ales
Does the bar have a good selection of real ales? And, even better, are they locally brewed and have fantastically quirky names?
Proper Pub Grub
In this category it's not the quality of the food that's being evaluated, but whether they've got all the traditional pub classics covered.
Beauty of Surrounding Area
How charming is the village or street that the pub is based in? Is it nestled in a little nook under a hill, sat on a pretty riverbank, or overlooking a quaint market town?
Although not as significant as many other categories, a friendly and characterful dog can make a pub visit truly memorable. 1 point available here.
The ideal pub sign should be be free-standing, independently lit, swinging, and with a unique design in keeping with the pub's age and history.
Evidence of Pub History
Every pub should be proud of its origins, it's history, and the local area. To score well in this area we want to see evidence of all these things.
Quality of Fireplace
A good, working fireplace is essential for any pub and ideally it should be fairly grand, open, and lit. Wood burners are okay but we must find evidence that they are in use.
Evidence of Community Engagement
An additional criteria for Champions League. To score well in this category a pub must show that it's trying to be at the centre of the local community.
Traditional / Classic Pub Furniture
High backed benches or pews are the order of the day here, we don't want to see any leather thank you very much! Carpets should be red, of the classic pub patterned variety
Rules And Lingo
Minimum of 3 Pubs Per Trip
Visiting just one pub does not qualify as a valid expedition and no scoring can take place unless at least 3 pubs are visited in succession (although it's perfectly acceptable as a "scouting mission" when planning a route).
Only One Pint Per Pub
In order to keep the scoring fair, a maximum of one pint can be drunk in each pub on the route. If it scores well you maybe able to revisit the pub on so called "Champions League" nights - see below.
No Scoring Revisions
It's natural that you'll be tempted to retrospectively alter some of the scores you've awarded a pub - either later that night or the following week. This is not allowed under any circumstances.
No Cherry Picking
All pubs need to be visited. Even if you know it to be a "crappy" pub you still must make sure that you strike it off the list. The only exception are chain pubs such as Wetherspoons, Brewer's Fayre etc.
A flash pub is a pub that is not intentionally included on a planned route but which gets included spontaneously as you encounter it unexpectedly en route (or see a sign pointing you to a pub you didn't know about).
Flash Cruises are that rare beast: they occur when 3 or more of you unexpectedly find that you have a spare hour and a half after work and can therefore cram in a "mini" or "quickfire" cruise.
Ever group of pub explorers needs at least 3 founding members. For a cruise (and therefore scores) to be valid, at least 2 "founding fathers" need to be present. Possible exception is when you're on holiday and fellow founding fathers are happy to judge the pubs using video or photographic evidence.
A river cruise is a route that solely consists of river based pubs. Due to its scenic and outdoorsy nature, river cruises usually take place on sunny evenings and therefore need to be planned at the last minute.
The top 8 scoring pubs from a season (a season is a 12 week period) qualify for Champions League week. This is where the 8 top scoring pubs go head to head in a knock out competition that takes place over 1 week. Smart dress is advised.
A "warm up" pub that isn't on the official route and will not be marked. Important because without a Fluffer Pub the first pub on the route can often be harshly marked.
A highway pub is a particular breed of pub that needs special consideration due to the fact that it cannot reply on footfall or local drinkers. Often will be food-oriented.
Think our judging criteria is wrong?
If you think we've missed important categories then get in touch with us and let's thrash this thing out together!