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19th December 2022

Somerset “local” recognised for 30 years of fantastic beer

The Halfway House in Somerset will receive a special award from the Campaign for Real Ale’s Somerset Branch to recognise the fantastic achievement of being listed in the highly acclaimed Good Beer Guide – aka the ‘the beer drinker’s bible’ – for 30 consecutive years.

With its slate floor worn down by generations of drinkers, authentic rustic bar and cosy rooms, with the scent of wood burning fires and delicious freshly home-cooked food, the Halfway House at Pitney is considered a proper “local” by all those who visit this classic Somerset pub.

Its ambience and atmosphere, combined with above all else, its dedication to serving quality conditioned real ale, has led this local to secure a listing in the coveted Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide now for three decades.

The Halfway House – named because it is located midway between Langport and Somerton on the B3513 – will be formally recognised for serving fantastic beer by CAMRA in a special event next month.  The award will be presented by Phil Emond of CAMRA’s Somerset Branch on Saturday 28 January 2023 at 13.00 hours.

Owners Lucie and Mark David said: “We’re delighted to be awarded this incredible 30-year award by CAMRA and thank all the real ale enthusiasts who have nominated us year after year. We’re so proud of our pub and its heritage, and really thanks are due to the previous custodians who have maintained such high standards, ensuring that this ‘local legend’ retains its widespread appeal as a proper old-fashioned pub serving excellent locally brewed beer, cider and perry.”

Notes to Editor:

Dating back 150 years when it was originally a cider house, the Halfway House has only belonged to three families in the last 30 years.  Formerly an uninspiring traditional roadside inn, the Halfway House was purchased by real ale enthusiast Julian Litchfield in 1992.  Ripping up the threadbare carpets and tired decorations, Julian and his family created a minimalistic chic and down-to-earth ‘local’ pub – with flagstone floors, whitewashed walls, large sociable wooden tables and pews, a few comfy sofas and above all, a welcoming atmosphere for everyone from muddy-footed farmers, to young mothers with their children, smart-suited businessmen, walkers and their dogs, cyclists, holiday makers and passers-by.

With its focus firmly on a serving a wide choice of locally brewed ales, ciders and perry, with simple but delicious home-cooked food, the pub eschews any forms of alternative entertainment –no TV, music, electronics, or games rooms.  The welcoming atmosphere is created through the happy hum of conversation, with a choice of books, traditional board games, cards and pub quizzes for entertainment should conversation ever run dry.

Lucie and Mark David, with their daughter Jess and son George, have recently bought the pub but the family association with it goes back much longer.  “The Halfway has pretty much been a part of my whole life,” says Lucie, whose parents were local farmers who used to take the family there in her youth.  The couple were the pub’s managers for the last two years – successfully running it all through lockdown – and Lucie has also been the chef at the pub for 15 years.   When it became available to buy in Summer 2022, the family jumped at the chance of owning and living at the pub.

The family are determined to maintain the home-run, freehouse popularity of the pub.  Mark says, “This pub is part of our lives – my in-laws Hughie and Greta drank here, my wife has worked here for over 10 years, and our youngsters grew up helping out in the kitchen and then, when old enough, serving behind the bar.  It’s now a family-run affair, and one we’re really proud to be part of.”

Whilst maintaining the pub’s much-loved traditionalism, the family have made some subtle developments inside and out.  Lucie has increased the choice and size of portions of the food, with newly-popular Sunday lunches followed by roast potatoes and lumps of cheese put out on the bar when the kitchen closes.  There’s also now a Hut, providing overnight accommodation for up to two people, and an outside heated marquee for events.

“The marquee was put up during Covid, and proved really popular, so we’ve kept it, and it now means we can host larger events outside throughout the year, such as wedding parties, anniversaries and even wakes,” says Lucie.  “But above all, we’re maintaining the family-run, welcoming and friendly atmosphere of a proper local – the qualities that have been with us for the last 30 years, and hopefully stay with us for the next 30!”

The CAMRA Good Beer Guide is now in its 50th year of publication. The Halfway House won the title of National CAMRA Pub of the Year in 1996.

A Direct Bus Service 54 stops outside the Halfway House between Taunton & Somerton,

with connections in Somerton from Glastonbury and Yeovil.

ENDS


Press release from Design Somerset.

More info and high-res images available from Becky Sumpster, Design Somerset 07813 042823, email becky@designsomerset.co.uk