In Clipsham, the venue is described by the guide as a venue at the top of its game that attracts a deservedly loyal following from both near and far.
Three friends bought it in 1999 and, with the help of family and villagers, rescued what was then a closed pub from an uncertain fate.
Since then, The Olive Branch has achieved a number of accolades, including the same Pub of the Year title in 2014.
“What brilliant news to receive on our 21st anniversary at the end of this incredibly challenging year,” says co-founder and managing director Ben Jones.
“We opened on December 12, 1999, with a village Christmas party. Sadly, this year — due to the government’s illogical, pub-killing restrictions — we will not be able to celebrate safely with locals and villagers.”
The guide says the pub has responded to the challenges of the pandemic by complying with regulations in a way that makes customers feel they have enjoyed something ‘unique and memorable’.
Dubbed the ‘New Special’ by the team, The Olive Branch experience in 2020 includes heated garden gazebos, more space, and a choice of service styles and seating areas to give customers control.
“A pub is about the whole experience – the beer, the wine, the food and, above all, the atmosphere,” continues Jones. Right now, due to Covid and these restrictions, we aren’t really a pub. We aren’t able to welcome all; we aren’t able to enjoy a drink and some local gossip at the bar.”
“However, this award means so much to us because it rewards the whole team at the end of an unbelievably tough year. Every single one of them has played their part in this success.”
The Good Pub Guide 2021 is published on 10 December.