More award success for Milton Keynes pub

Alan Ayres and his girlfriend Valerie

Alan Ayres and his girlfriend Valerie

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THE proud new owners of an acclaimed Newton Longville pub have hailed their first year-and-a-half “a fairytale” after retaining their Pub of the Year title at the Citizen-backed MK Food & Leisure Awards last night.

Dave Pugh and Alan Ayres, joint owners of The Crooked Billet, took over the pub in September 2014 after deciding to combine their wealth of MK bar management experience from previous roles at The Living Room, Be At One and TGI Fridays.

And the duo have enjoyed nothing but unrelenting success ever since, with The Crooked Billet winning Milton Keynes Pub of the Year for the second successive year last night, on top of the Best Gastropub in Buckinghamshire title they won at the Bucks Food & Drink Awards.

“I’m completely over the moon, to win MK Pub of the Year twice in the short time we’ve been here is beyond our wildest dreams,” Dave said.

“I just want to thank everyone who voted for us, our loyal customers, our hard-working staff, amazing chefs, friends, families, girlfriends and business partners.

“Our ambition has always been to serve great, fresh food, which The Billet has a reputation for.

Dave Pugh and Alan Ayres with MK Dons manager Karl Robinson last year

Dave Pugh and Alan Ayres with MK Dons manager Karl Robinson last year

“But we won’t sit back and relax now, we will keep working hard as a team to ensure we continue to improve and be the best we can be – let’s see if we can make it a hat-trick by winning again next year!”

The new owners have put The Billet firmly on the MK summer social calendar by hosting two highly-successful May beer festivals, the first of which last year attracted the MK Dons players and coaching staff as they celebrated their promotion in the pub’s bustling marquee.

This year’s festival, which ran on the May 1 Bank Holiday weekend, was an even bigger success thanks to a deal with the local Leighton Buzzard Brewing Company.

Joint owner Alan said: “We’ve received lots of excellent feedback about our festival so it’s going to be quite a challenge to make next year’s one even better, but that’s what we’ll strive to do!

“People really enjoyed some of the new craft beers and the live music acts, and the bouncy castle was a big hit with the kids.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind since we took over but it’s been like a fairytale so far in terms of the awards we’ve won. We may have to invest in a trophy cabinet soon!”

The Billet launches its new menu next week.

For further information log onto thecrookedbilletmiltonkeynes.co.uk.