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Kent pub wins Best Smoking Area award

Fri 9th September, 2011

Ye Olde Whyte Lyon in Locksbottom, Kent, has won a nationwide search to find the pub with the Best Smoking Area in the UK.

The Great British Pub Awards 2011, run by trade magazine, The Publican’s Morning Advertiser, has been looking for pubs that provide excellent outdoor smoking facilities for adult customers.

The pub won the award thanks to its large patio area which boasts a canvas canopy, heaters, and an outside television, as well as a beer garden which is populated by a wide range of flowers, trees and plants. The pub even provides blankets to customers who wish to stay outside when the weather is chilly.

Wendy Mannion, joint licensee of Ye Olde Whyte Lyon and a smoker, said: "We didn't want a smoking area that was dark, dingy and smelly, but one that was engineered to be the best with a nice, cosy ambience.

"The smoking area is popular with smokers and non-smokers alike. In fact we reckon that 60 per cent of customers who use the smoking area are non-smokers who want to enjoy the atmosphere."

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, who presented the Best Smoking Area award at a gala awards ceremony in London, said: "Congratulations to Ye Olde Whyte Lyon. I like the kind of pub that anyone can go to. Some pubs are more like restaurants. Others specialise in sport or music. I like a pub that makes an effort to appeal to everyone, and that includes adults who choose to smoke.”

The Best Smoking Area award is supported by tobacco manufacturer Japan Tobacco International (JTI), and the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign which wants the government to review the smoking ban and give licensees the option of separate smoking rooms.

Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, which supports the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, said: “The smoking ban has had a devastating impact on thousands of pubs throughout the country. Thankfully, this award shows that many pubs still value customers who smoke and don’t want them marginalised or isolated from other customers.

“All four finalists have created a very attractive outdoor area but we felt Ye Old Whyte Lyon had gone that extra mile to make smokers feel welcome. For that reason the licensees fully deserve this award.”

TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson, who owns The Greyhound pub near Henley-on-Thames and recently created an e-petition calling for a review of the smoking ban, said: “I know how important it is to offer customers an attractive facility where they can eat, drink and, dare I say it, smoke.

“I congratulate Ye Olde Whyte Lyon but not every pub has an outdoor area suitable for development. The government should review the ban and give licensees the option of having a separate, well-ventilated smoking room indoors.”

Source: Save Our Pubs & Clubs (9 September 2011)

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