TOWN centre watering holes are battling it out with countryside hostelries as an MP searches for the best pub in her constituency.

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison launched the ‘best pub competition’ to give the hospitality industry in the area a boost and to recognise the important role it plays in the community.

After more than 100 pubs were nominated, ten made it to the shortlist and residents throughout the constituency are encouraged to vote for their favourite, up until Friday when an online poll closes.

The pubs fighting it out are for the ‘best pub’ title are The Cross Keys in Hamsterley, Royal Oak in Byers Green, The Voltigeur in Spennymoor, Cricketers Arms in Barnard Castle, The Mitre and The Station Hotel in Bishop Auckland, The Saxon Inn in Escomb, The Royal George in Shildon, The Kings Head in Cockfield, and Eggleston’s Moorcock Inn.

Ms Davison said: “The last 18 months have been incredibly hard for our hospitality industry. “Supporting the fantastic businesses we have here across Bishop Auckland has never been more important.

“This competition is my way of recognising the hard work and significant contribution pubs make to our community.

“Whether it’s catching up with friends and neighbours or finding out what’s happening across our towns, local pubs have a huge role in community life.

“My team and I have had the difficult job of narrowing down the hundreds of nominations we received and although everyone nominated deserves to win, there can only be one winner and I look forward to seeing who that is.”

Ms Davison said the hospitality has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the burden of this impact has been largely faced by bars and clubs.

Although consumer spending on hospitality has started to increase, it currently sits at less than 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

She said she has supported and campaign for the hospitality throughout the pandemic which included voting against a 10pm curfew and raising publicans’ concerns in parliament.

Votes can be cast online at


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