A COMMUNITY pub owner who's watering hole won the Salisbury Journal's 'Pub of the Year' thinks Salisbury is "bucking the trend" with its excellent and varied venues.

Landlord Adam Fowle, 48, brought two decades of running traditional boozers in London when he took on the Royal Oak, on Devizes Road, in August 2021.

Since then, he has cultivated a dedicated customer base by keeping his offering simple, fairly priced and family friendly.

Nearby new-build housing development St Peter's Place has also been a boon for the pub as it's the only one nearby.

"We're very much the victim of fortune there. It has pretty much landed on our doorstep so it's helped us from that point of view," said Mr Fowle.

The Royal Oak is a "community-led" pub with entertainment based around birthdays, anniversaries and any other special events which Mr Fowle's regulars may celebrate.

Landlord Adam Fowle.Landlord Adam Fowle. (Image: Newsquest)

Pop rock band The P45s is frequently invited for live music nights at the pub and has four gigs booked up until Christmas.

Comradery is rife in the Royal Oak, according to Mr Fowle, who said his customers are "simple people with simple needs" who meet up to "chew the fat".

Management of The Royal Oak has not always been smooth sailing however as the pub was previously known for being "very open shut" with "a lot of problems".

But this hasn't dissuaded Mr Fowle as he looks to solidify his place in the Salisbury pub scene through consistency.

The Royal Oak's outdoor seating area looks out to Old Sarum.The Royal Oak's outdoor seating area looks out to Old Sarum. (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Fowle said many of the pubs he would frequent in London have now closed but he thinks the city is "bucking the trend" when it comes to its "optimistic" offering.

"Salisbury has people who have a bit of luck on their side and they are investing everything in it," he said.

"People like to bang on about how horrible Salisbury is but they have no idea how lucky they are. It's a nice part of the world, people enjoy themselves."

Hundreds of readers casted their votes but there could only be one Salisbury Journal 'Pub of the Year'.

Read more: ​Salisbury Journal Pub of the Year 2024 has been revealed

Upon winning the award, Mr Fowle said: "It just shows they are proud to be in a pub like this. We're very lucky to have loyal punters and you can't put a price on that and you can't take it for granted."

Regulars Sherrea Tuthill and Jessie Barrett.Regulars Sherrea Tuthill and Jessie Barratt. (Image: Newsquest)

Support for the pub industry is needed now as much as ever before as landlords are juggling tiny margins without much help from the government.

Cutting the 20 per cent VAT from food and drink served in pubs would make a "massive" difference to Mr Fowle but he's concerned about the perceived lack of interest in the industry from political candidates.

A full renovation of the pub's rear garden, which faces onto Old Sarum, is hopefully on the cards and Mr Fowle is also looking to franchise his kitchen to start offering food.

Giving thanks to those who voted for the Royal Oak to be named 'Pub of the Year', Mr Fowle said: "It's your pub as well as ours and the fact you have shown that much pride in your pub we hope to win it again in the future and keep up the standards because we were up against some bloody good competition.

"We hope to keep making people happy."