Swan Song

CAMRA honors Essex spot as National Pub of the Year

The Swan in Little Totham, Essex, has captured Great Britian’s award as National Pub of the Year a second time.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) also honored the pub in 2002. “This is like being awarded 10 Michelin stars and then struck by lightning!” said Jon Pascoe, who owns the pub along with his wife, Valeria.

They took over the pub 10 years ago when it was in danger of closing. “When The 16th century cottage style pub was up for sale the parish council made representations to the selling brewery begging to keep it as a local pub for the community rather than being converted into housing,” Pascoe said. “Valerie and I moved in on the 12 June 1996 and worked on the pub with family and friends until it was in a fit state to open on the 14th June at 7 p.m. – we took £124.

“At first we parked our cars in the front car park to make it look busy and had our meals sitting outside in the garden for the same effect.”

In CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2006 The Swan is described as “An Architypal heavy beamed village pub. The unspoilt public bar has billiards and darts, while the comfortable saloon has open fires.”