Two Peak District gastropubs named among the 100 best in country

Two village pubs have been celebrating success after earning places on a list of the top 100 gastropubs in the country.

Friday, 4th February 2022, 3:56 pm

The Pack Horse in Hayfield landed the number 32 spot on the list, while the Blind Bull in Little Hucklow is at number 75, having been trading for just a year.

Raab Dykstra-McCarthy, owner of the Blind Bull, said he is feeling blown away by the recognition.

He said: “We hadn’t even been trading a year because of closing for lockdowns so I can’t quite believe we have caught the judges eye never mind made it on to the long list.”

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The Blind Bull in Little Hucklow has been named one of the 100 best gastropubs in the country. Owners Raab and Alison Dykstra-McCarthy.

Raab and wife Alison bought the pub in 2015 after it had sat empty since 2002.

The couple spent three years putting in planning applications and work started in 2018.

By March 2020 the venue was ready to open but had to stay closed because of the pandemic.

The pub finally opened in the summer of 2020 for three months before shutting down again for the second lockdown. It then finally reopened in spring 2021.

The Pack Horse Hayfield came in at number 32 on the list

Raab said: “Our menu has always been about shopping local and supporting farmers in our area.

“Everything is fresh and prepped for service that day – the only freezer we have is for our ice cream.

“Our veg comes from a charity down the road in Tideswell which grow it for us and we know a shooter who may ring up and say he has a pheasant or two for us.

“This means the menu is always changing and evolving and we never quite know what we are going to be serving which keeps it exciting and fresh for us as it does for the customers.”The food at the Blind Bull, produced by head chef Luke Hawkins, impressed the Estrella Damm Gastropubs judges and earned them their placed in the top 100.

Raab and Alison, who also applied for best newcomer on the gastropub guide and made it to the top three, want to build on their success for the coming years.

Last year the Pack Horse made the long list and has now jumped from 76th to 32nd place.

Owner and chef Luke Payne has also been recognised as Code Hospitality’s 30 under 30 for 2022 and earned a place in the Michelin Guide although his actual ranking will be announced later in the year.

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