A popular South Tyneside pub is toasting success after being named the best real ale bar in the area – for the fourth year running.
Bosses at The Steamboat are raising a glass to keeping the title of Sunderland and South Tyneside CAMRA Pub of the Year.
They say their blend of quality hand pulled pints, friendly drinking environment and first-class staff and service helped them to the star rating.
The Mill Dam pub, in South Shields, will now compete in the competition’s regional round against boozers in Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear, in July.
Should they win, a super-regional round, taking in areas including Cumbria and Yorkshire, awaits.
Bar manager Kath Brain, 38, said: “We are thrilled to win again, although we were a little surprised.
“We have a great record in this competition, but there are so many good real ale pubs around that it takes a lot to come out on top.
“We were judged by CAMRA members, who were asked to vote for their favourite pub. It’s nice to know that many voted for The Steamboat.
“I think our success comes down to the superb local ales we stock and how well they are kept, the pub’s lovely, friendly atmosphere and the excellent service customers know they will get.
“We also stock 200 different spirits and try to cater for everyone, which also came into the voting process.
“It’s quite an achievement to win for a fourth successive year - it’s another feather in our cap and we are delighted.”
Around 660 CAMRA members were eligible to vote in the Sunderland and South Shields region.
Although The Steamboat’s margin of success has not been revealed, Dave Brazier, CAMRA’s North East regional director, said its success was well deserved.
But he also praised The Marine pub in Ocean Road, South Shields, which converted to real ales in 2016 and clinched the competition’s third place.
Dave said: “The Steamboat continues to punch above its weight and its reputation for quality is well established.
“But it’s not just a great real ale bar, it serves lots of other types of drinks, which makes it very popular with a wide range of people.
“Credit must also go to The Marine, which from a recent standing start came third.”
Sunderland’s city centre Ship Isis pub came second.