Is this the UK’s best seaside pub?
PUBLISHED: 14:31 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:40 20 August 2019
The landlord of a pub named by CAMRA as one of the top 100 in the country admits it’s a tough industry to be in right now.
The Anchor at Walberswick is one of 10 seaside pubs listed by beer drinkers' lobby group the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in its latest 100-strong roll of honour.
The pub is described by CAMRA as "situated in the heart of the well-known village of Walberswick, just a stroll across the allotments to the beach huts and dunes". It is run by Sophie and Mark Dorber, but it's as much a labour of love as a business enterprise, admits Mr Dorber.
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"The place itself provides an incredibly seasonal, beautiful backdrop to what we do - the downside is out of season it's incredibly quiet, and it's hard to recruit," he says. "There are lots of great things, lots of economic challenges, but we do it because we love hospitality."
There are a lot of economic challenges to running a successful pub, he explains.
"Recruitment will always be difficult," admits the publican, who employs five Rumanians, but fears that Brexit and the plummeting pound will make staff retention much harder.
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"The other tough thing is the escalation of prices, business rates and utility prices which are hitting very hard now.
"I have to work harder and harder to make it profitable and sustainable."
The Dorbers have also run the Swan at Stratford St Mary in the Dedham Vale since 2012.
The couple decided to leave the London rat race behind in 2004 and seek a new life on the Suffolk coast, taking on the lease at the Anchor and transforming its fortunes. Before that, Mr Dorber had spent 20 years running The White Horse at Parsons Green in London.
One of the factors that has made a difference to them since moving is the quality of life, says Mr Dorber.
"It's one of the sustaining factors, having a lot of village friends and local friends who drop in - it provides you with an endless social life."
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