Rugby's Merchants Inn prepares to defend title of 'best rugby pub'

The Merchants Inn.
The Merchants Inn.

A pub in Rugby is one of four left in the running to be crowned rugby pub of the year.

The Merchants Inn in Rugby is one of the four to reach the finals of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby pub of the year competition.

The Rugby pub – the current title holders – is representing England alongside Cheltenham’s Sup and Chow.

They face opposition from north of the border, with the Queen’s Arms in Edinburgh and the Queenshead Hotel in Kelso also in contention.

The special atmosphere appears to be what rugby lovers want from their local watering hole – as it’s the one thing that all the shortlisted venues have in common.

It will be rugby fans who choose the winner by voting in a poll on social media.

Douglas Hardie, president of Melrose Rugby Club said: “We launched this competition last year and it generated a fantastic response, but there have been even more entries this time round.

“It just goes to show how much rugby fans appreciate their local pubs and clubs pulling out all the stops to make match days special.

“Rugby fans all over the country have told us what they love about their locals and now that entries have been whittled down to a shortlist, it’s over to the public to choose the one that deserves to win the award.”

Manager James Reeve of the Merchants Inn said that the win last year gave the venue an unexpected boost.

James said: “First up it was a massive shock, but also an honour, to win this competition as we were up against some of the best in the business.

“We would love to retain the title, but we know the competition will be tough.”

You can vote on the web at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bestrugbypub2019

Or on the Melrose Sevens social media at Facebook at www.facebook.com/melrose7s, and Twitter @melrose7s

The winner will be announced later this month, and the pub that gains the most votes will receive the coveted title and an inscribed plaque to recognise the achievement.