Pub in Rugby shortlisted as one of Britain's best rugby pubs

The Merchant's Inn on Little Church Street.
The Merchant's Inn on Little Church Street.

A pub in Rugby has beaten off competition from dozens of other clubs and bars across the UK to be shortlisted as one of Britain’s best rugby pubs.

The Merchants Inn is one of five pubs from all over the UK to make it to the finals of Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby pub of the year competition.

Punters suggesting the Merchants Inn said it was deserving of the accolade because it isL “Just metres from the pitch at Rugby School where William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran - plus it has a great range of beer.”

Now it is up to rugby fans themselves to choose the winner from the five British hostelries that have made it to the finals in a poll on social media.

Douglas Hardie, president of Melrose Rugby Club said: “Over 12,000 people will descend on the Borders town of Melrose to see Sevens action on April 14, but with television coverage from the BBC, the event is beamed out to rugby fans at home and abroad.

“For rugby fans who aren’t able to travel to the Borders to cheer on the home and international teams, many will savour match day action in bars or pubs. In our quest to find Britain’s top rugby pub, fans have told us that a great range of beer, delicious food, roaring fires, friendly staff and a buzzing atmosphere are among the qualities that make their locals special.

“However, just like the Melrose Sevens, there can only be one winner of Britain’s best rugby pub, and now it’s over to the public to pick their favourite from our shortlist.”

From dozens of suggestions made by fans all over Britain, the five shortlisted venues are:

Athletic Arms, Edinburgh – “It gives a warm and friendly welcome whoever you’re supporting, it‘s a short walk to Murrayfield and serves a great pint and award winning pies before and after the game.”

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham – “Serves incredible food, run by incredible people and it’s in the home of rugby. Only place to go if you’re a rugby fan! The two go hand in hand.”

Merchants Inn, Rugby - “Just metres from the pitch at Rugby School where William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran - plus it has a great range of beer.”

The Palmeira, Hove – “Great pub, great service, tasty food and good choice of beer.”

The Buccleuch Arms Hotel, Moffat – “Definitely the place to be on a rugby day! Best food ever, log fires, bespoke gin and beers to die for.”

Voting is free and easy – choose your winner by completing the simple voting form on the Melrose Sevens social media platforms www.facebook.com/melrosevens or Twitter @melrosevens

The winner will be announced on March 28, and the pub that gains the most votes will receive the coveted title and an inscribed plaque to recognise the achievement.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens takes place at The Greenyards on Saturday April 14 and makes a great day out for families, couples and rugby fans who enjoy fast and exhilarating sporting action. Tickets for the event start from £10 for children, £15 for senior citizens and £20 for adults. Family tickets are available for £50, admitting two adults and two children.

If you can’t make it to Melrose, be sure to watch BBC coverage from 2-7pm in your local watering hole on BBC Scotland which is available outside Scotland on Freesat and Sky ‎Channel 970 and Virgin Media Channel 102.

For more information about the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens, and to book tickets, visit www.melrose7s.com.

Keep up to date with the action on Facebook at www.facebook.com/melrosevens, Twitter@melrosevens and Instagram @melrosesevens.