MORE than 11,000 votes were lodged as punters across the city picked their favourite Salisbury watering hole.

Now the tallies have been counted, and we have a winner.

Over the May bank holiday weekend Journal readers were invited to vote for their favourite place to eat, drink and socialise in Salisbury, and family-run George and Dragon has been revealed as the favourite, securing the top spot with more than 1,800 votes.

Located on Castle Street, the historic George and Dragon opened its doors hundreds of years ago, and since then has been offering traditional pub grub, a riverside garden, live music, a selection of events and more to punters in the heart of the city.

And both tourists and locals visit the pub for its “good food, good drink [and] good fun”, according to Nathan Lamb, one of the pub’s joint landlords.

Nathan said it was “awesome” to receive the accolade, adding: “This is one of the best awards we have ever received, it shows we are getting somewhere and heading in the right direction.

“The response has been overwhelming, we just wanted to have fun with this competition but there has been such a big push online so we’ve been lucky.”

Once nominated for the award, George and Dragon competed against 31 other contenders in Salisbury including The Salisbury Arms, The Old Ale and Coffee House, Old Mill Hotel, The Cathedral Hotel, The Market Inn, The Vestry, The King’s Head Inn, The Bridge Tap, The Wig and Quill, The Chapter House, and the recently reopened The Bishop’s Mill.

It was the varied but loyal clientele in George and Dragon however who gained this pub the top spot.

“It just shows we are loved by customers like they are friends, anyone can come for a drink and get along, and they just care and wanted to push this for us,” Nathan added.

The venue was taken over by brothers Nathan and Nick around three years ago, who wanted to continue the pub’s legacy of treating customers as family, with an “old school and fun” pub feel.

And with around 200 people walking through the doors most weekends, Nathan said he felt “elated” to gain recognition from both customers and readers of the Journal.

To celebrate the award, the team of five at George and Dragon will be hosting a big party for all, and musicians Ben Hudson and Phil Davies will be collaborating for one night only as part of the festivities.

Nathan said: “We have all groups mixing in here, as long as people are pleasant, happy and nice they are welcome.”

The winners were closely followed by Haunch of Venison with 1,500 votes, and third place was awarded to Avon Brewery who took just over 700 of the votes.

The rest of the top ten included Bell and Crown (previously The Cloisters), Duke of York, The Winchester Gate, The Ox Row Inn, Deacons, The New Inn and The Wyndham Arms.