Fuller, Smith & Turner has announced The Ox Row Inn, Salisbury [10-11 Ox Row, Salisbury SP1 1EU] is the 2023 winner of its coveted Pub of the Year competition – The Griffin Trophy. The competition is open to all Fuller’s 183 Managed Pubs and Hotels and 193 Tenanted Inns and sees the winner take home the coveted Griffin Trophy.
The Ox Row Inn, managed by Emil Szoma, sits at the heart of Salisbury – on the city’s historic market square. The Ox Row Inn is a fantastic example of modern innovation in a traditional setting.
This year’s Griffin Trophy saw 13 pubs reach the final. The finalists were visited by a judging panel – Fuller’s Chairman Michael Turner, Chief Executive Simon Emeny, and Marketing Director Sam Bourke – who selected winners for each category and the overall Griffin Trophy winner. There are four categories in the Griffin Trophy – Best City Pub; Best Town/Local Pub; Best Country/Village Pub; and Best Hotel/Inn.
The Ox Row Inn won its category this year as well as being the category winner in 2022. The pub is Emil’s first as General Manager although he has a prior connection to the Griffin Trophy. Emil undertook his management training at The Old Customs House in Portsmouth, which won the trophy when he was there in 2017.
Michael Turner, Fuller’s Chairman, said: “Thanks to Emil’s hard work and passion, The Ox Row really is at the heart of its community. When we visited, the neighbouring market was thriving, and Emil and his team worked effortlessly to offer the highest level of hospitality to locals and visitors alike. Everyone was being looked after as if they were the only ones in the pub – accompanied by a fantastic range of food and drink in a beautiful setting.
“But Emil’s work goes much further than this. He is a brilliant publican who understands what his community needs – from putting on his own events at the pub to being on hand to support local events in Salisbury. Spending time with Emil and his team was an absolute pleasure – as was watching them interact with their customers.
“The Ox Row won its category in last year’s Griffin Trophy. Winning the competition outright this year is well-deserved and a great testament to the work Emil and his team have put in to push this pub to be the best in the Fuller’s estate. Congratulations to them all. I can’t wait to see where he takes this pub next.”
Emil Szoma, General Manager of The Ox Row Inn, said: “I’m delighted that we have won the Griffin Trophy. Being a category winner in last year’s competition, we had set our sights on being the overall winner – so I’m over the moon that we’ve achieved this. My team and I are so proud of The Ox Row Inn, we’ve worked hard to deliver a fantastic experience to everyone who visits – all the while supporting our local community.”