The Alma Inn & Dining Rooms has been named the winner of the Pub of the Year award, sponsored by Everard Cole, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022.

Located in the historic seaside town of Harwich in Essex, the Alma Inn and Dining Rooms has been serving locals and visitors alike since the 1850s.

Nick May purchased the pub 11 years ago and transformed the closed-down 16th century building into a bustling, lively venue that has maintained much of its original character.

Locally-sourced food is on offer seven days a week, including lobsters, fish, artisan sausages and locally-grown vegetables; while the bar provides plenty of options for those looking to enjoy a drink in a comfortable atmosphere.

The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms has five guest bedrooms and a family suite, with a host of facilities to ensure a comfortable stay.

The building is currently being expanded, to offer more dining and sleeping space for visitors.

The judges said that the inn had a “great atmosphere”, with friendly and helpful team members and “excellent” food and drink.

Nick May, owner of The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms, said: “The pub really is the centre of the community. We’re really chuffed.

“Onwards and upwards, we’re expanding this year, so it’s all great fun.”

About the sponsor

Everard Cole is a commercial property consultancy specialising in the licensed, leisure and hotel sector, providing professional advice in all areas of commercial property. The Cambridge-based firm has a unique insight into the licensed leisure and development sector gained from many years in general practice working for leased and managed pub operators, the private market, hotels, restaurants, as well as a wide spectrum of leisure operators.

Its expertise lies in property acquisition, disposal, valuation and professional work. Everard Cole operates nationwide but has an expert knowledge and a detailed understanding of local markets throughout East Anglia.

The finalists

The Angel at Watlington – Highly Commended

Since being taken over in 2018, The Angel at Watlington, Norfolk has undergone a complete refurbishment and now serves an updated food and drink menu which showcases local produce. The judges commended the pub’s “friendly atmosphere” and “absolutely delicious” food.

The Lion at Thurne – Highly Commended

Located in a small Norfolk village, The Lion offers an expansive selection of beer and cider and also produces small-batch gins and other spirits.

The judges said they had an “excellent” experience at the pub, praising the quality of both the food and service.

Kings Head Bawburgh

The Kings Head in Bawburgh, Norfolk is a 17th century freehouse inn and restaurant with six B&B rooms and an alfresco dining area. The judges felt there was a real emphasis on seasonal, fresh produce and praised the pub’s well-maintained interior and exterior.

The Weeping Willow

Named the most Instagrammable pub in East Anglia, The Weeping Willow in Barrow, Suffolk serves a British menu seven days a week. The judges praised the pub’s food and drink menu, adding that it was “imaginative” and drew predominantly from local ingredients.