The Sportsman regains top spot at Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef-patron Stephen Harris The Sportsman regains top spot at Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs

Related tags: The Sportsman, Estrella damm, Top 50 gastropubs, Pub & bar

The Sportsman in Kent has been named the best gastropub in the country at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, for the fifth time.

The Michelin-starred pub in Seasalter, which is run by chef-patron Stephen Harris, regained the number one position during a virtual ceremony on Friday (26 March), having previously held it in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Last year's Top 50 Gastropubs ceremony, which took place prior to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, saw Michelin-starred Fulham pub The Harwood Arms, which is led by head chef Sally Abé, knock The Sportsman off the top spot​.

This year The Harwood Arms dropped to third in the list, with Andrew Pern's Yorkshire pub The Star at Harome taking second place.

The top five was rounded off with Lancashire gastropub Parkers Arms, led by chef patron Stosie Madi, in fourth position; and Paul and Emma Ainsworth's The Mariners pub in Rock, Cornwall in fifth.

In a first, the 2021 Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs extended the main list from 50 to 100 in a bid to provide more visibility to food pubs across the country as they prepare to reopen and recover from the Coronavirus crisis.

“What’s great about gastropubs is the diversity of the food they offer," says Top 50 Gastropubs editor Nicholas Robinson.

"It’s not all fine dining with foams and gels, but a real mix of high-end, refined restaurant quality dishes mixed with pub classics and simple food.

“But what ties all amazing gastropubs together is the quality of their ingredients, the skills of the chefs behind the dishes and the environment you eat in.

"With our extended list this year, we’re able to show you that some gastropubs serve Michelin-starred food and do that exceptionally well, while others exceed with award-winning American barbecue food that is perfect and also deserves to be recognised.

“The pandemic brought with it many challenges, but gastropub owners stood strong and ensured their businesses would survive. This is an outstanding segment of pubs and it has the strength, intelligence and creativity to grow in strength."

Harris is entirely self-taught and is known for practising terroir cooking, with butter churned in-house and seawater boiled down to make salt.

He took over The Sportsman in 1999 and it has held a Michelin star since 2008.

The pub previously topped Restaurant magazine’s Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards top 100 list​ in 2016 and 2017, and is currently ranker number 13​ on the list.

Top 10 Gastropubs:

  1. The Sportsman, Kent
  2. The Star at Harome, North Yorkshire
  3. The Harwood Arms, London
  4. Parkers Arms, Lancashire
  5. The Mariners, Cornwall
  6. Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire
  7. The Hand & Flowers, Bucks
  8. The Compasses, Kent
  9. The Coach, Bucks
  10. The Unruly Pig, Suffolk

For the full list, visit:​ 

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Pub & Bar

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