The landlord of a real ale pub is celebrating after beating 270 other businesses to win an award.

Rob Chapman has owned The Woodbine in Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey since 2011, when he bought the pub after running a burger van that had been operating from its car park.

At the time, the pub was “on its knees” according to Mr Chapman, but only four years later it has been awarded Best Pub Branch of the Year by the Hertfordshire and Essex wing of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

After winning the best cider award in 2014, the pub has this year been awarded for the quality and range of its ale selection.

Brendan Sothcott is the chairman of the Hertfordshire and Essex branch of CAMRA, which picked The Woodbine as a “clear winner” out of around 270 pubs.

He said: “It was quite clearly the choice and the quality of beer.

“It is not mainstream, it is local and interesting and there is a full range of beers, from light to dark.”

He added: “It is an inclusive pub, old and young, everyone is welcome.

“It is friendly, reasonably priced, and it is a real place for the community.”

Community is key to The Woodbine, said Mr Chapman, who aims to offer an authentic and traditional pub experience.

He said: “We are what a traditional pub used to be, very traditional.

“We have a restaurant area, a separate bar area, it is all very family oriented. 

“We are just trying to do the best for our customers.”  

The Woodbine works closely with local food suppliers and brewers, and offers a total of six local ales, with monthly events for brewers to showcase their produce.

Dominion Brewery, based in Moreton, has worked with the pub to create its own brew, an ale known as the Woodbine Racer.

Mr Chapman said:  “I’ll be celebrating with a pint of that, a special edition version that we have just brewed.

“It is 6.2 per cent, normally it is 4.2, and it is a very hoppy pale ale.”

CAMRA will present Mr Chapman with the award on March 10, with a special evening held in The Woodbine.