St John’s pub goes whole nine yards to win cup again

    YARD OF ALE Martin Bryant (left) congratulates owner Ish Rafet

    THE owner of St John’s Yard has praised his ‘loyal and brilliant’ staff after it was crowned the best pub in Tunbridge Wells for the second year running.

    Thousands of votes were cast via social media to decide who won the Tunbridge Wells Best Pub Cup in a World Cup-style knockout tournament.

    St John’s beat Fuggles Beer Café in the final by a narrow margin of 50 votes, after defeating The Pantiles’ Ragged Trousers in the semis.

    Ish Rafet, 42, has owned the pub since it opened on St John’s Road in 2009 and said he was ‘humbled’ that so many people had voted.

    “I think our success is down to the fact we are a community pub and we’ve tried to never lose sight of that,” he said.

    “We have 18-year-olds all the way up to our oldest regular who’s 92, so there is a really nice group here.”

    The tournament was established by Kent Police Officer Martin Bryant last year as ‘just a bit of fun’ but has since acted as a catalyst for a ‘bit of friendly competition’ between the town’s establishments.

    “I didn’t realise it would get such a reaction,” said Mr Bryant. “More than anything I hope it encourages people to try new pubs in the town because there are a lot of great ones out there.”