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In short, we are looking for the perfect pub with perfect food. Our judgement takes many aspects in to consideration, such as atmosphere, comfort, welcome, value and of course the quality of the food.
If a pub we have visited doesn't make it on to our lists, it is not necessarily because it is a bad pub. Some pubs are more focused on drinking, where food may not be a priority. This will however mean they won't fare particularly well in our search for the perfect food pub.
Over many years of visiting pubs, we have experienced what makes a pub good and witnessed the shortcomings which prevent a decent pub moving up to the next level. It is often the small things which are overlooked. Making sure your pub is warm enough. We have been to several pubs in the winter months when we have had to keep our coats on inside. Having music playing is also important. It doesn't help the atmosphere when you are in a quiet pub having lunch, when everything you say can be heard by the landlord hovering at the bar.
Value can be a slightly more objective element. Some pubs are cheap and cheerful, where you can get decent food for a good price. This makes it good value, but that will never get you in to the top lists. On the other hand, some pubs try to charge too much for average food. They may have the ambition to serve high quality food at high prices, but if you can't pull it off people will go elsewhere. You don't mind paying a bit more if the food is really worth it, but every now and again we come across a pub which manages to serve amazing food at a fare price. These are few and far between, but will always be considered for "OUR TOP PUBS" list.