First Port of Call….for the team at the Fitz’

The Fitzherbert Arms in Swynnerton, Staffordshire, situated on Lord Stafford’s estate, has been appointed a ‘Graham’s Port Ambassador’ at a Port Tasting evening held at the pub on the 24th October 2019. The Fitzherbert Arms is the first pub in the UK to be presented with the award and joins a very special group of just eight establishments worldwide. The award recognises not only the exceptional Port list, with 30 different Ports available, (twelve of which are served by the glass) but also the dedication and professionalism of the Fitzherbert team who have delivered a consistent experience over the past 3 years with Graham’s and Port overall.

João Vasconcelos, Head of Sales for the Symington Family Estates, flew in from Porto to present the plaque to James Griffiths, Landlord of The Fitzherbert Arms and his deputy manager Charlotte Dawe in recognition of the work they have done. It has been an exciting time for James and Charlotte, as both spent three days in Porto and the Douro Valley on a company trip in September to improve their knowledge and experience even further.

Commenting on the evening, Tim Bird and Mary Mclaughlin, the owners of the Fitzherbert Arms, stated “It has been a wonderful evening celebrating the Ports from this historical region of Portugal, we are over the moon and very honoured to own the first pub in the UK to be appointed as a Graham’s Port Ambassador. We look forward to continuing to increase the awareness and enjoyment of these amazing Ports in the Fitzherbert Arms and across our other pubs within our Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars Group. It was lovely to share this special night with our loyal customers and Lord Stafford. They too are very proud of the pubs achievement.”

Car Club Meet 19, a great sign off to a great year!

Car Meet 19 (like Car Meet 17) had to be moved because of the weather to Sunday 20th October, as we welcomed over 40 cars at least to another great meet here at the Cholmondeley Arms. The weather wasn’t as forecasted, as showers hampered proceedings somewhat, but the turnout was fantastic for the time of year! Thank you to everyone who ‘rocked up’. It was great to see familiar faces along with some new cars and owners too. The owners gathered inside the Chum, in the main and enjoyed warming coffees and teas and of course the bacon butties.

The Cars of the Day were Mike and his impressive Ford GT 40, pictured, then Colin and his unique VW Beetle who picked up ‘best in class’ and finally Terry in his amazing Amphicar 770 from 1962 which still doubles up as a boat at 7 miles an hour and a car at 70 miles an hour, hence the numbers after the name! This was ‘Cherished car of the day’.

Pictured as well, are all the cars (hope I didn’t miss anyone!) that kindly joined us for the morning. In the end the sun came out and all was well for the final meet of the season.

I just want to say how very grateful we are, for all the amazing support the car events have had this season. We have seen an array of wonderful cars in all aspects across the pubs, dating back to Veterans and Vintages and many Classics plus of course ‘performance’ and ‘cherished cars’ too. We look forward to some very special events next year. See you all next season. Events will kick of next April 2020.

Our First ‘Tour De Cat’ is a great success

On Sunday 13th October at 8.30am sharp, 18 cyclists braved the weather and took to the country roads that link our six wonderful pubs. They left from the Church Inn in Mobberley after registration.

With all the rain we did think we would have a poor showing, but to get 18 cyclists was amazing! In front of them was a one hundred mile challenge, taking them in to Staffordshire, to our Fitzherbert Arms pub via our Cholmondeley Arms and Three Greyhounds Inn before returning to Mobberley to pick off the Roebck Inn and Bulls Head. With the rain falling it was a gruelling, yet rewarding trip. Every rider had to collect a tiddlywink at each pub until they had the six. A Burger and a pint or three were waiting!!

Everyone completed the Cheshire Cat 6 other than three who missed out the Fitzherbert Arms, but did do the ‘Cheshire 5’ instead. The photos tell the story of how delighted everyone was to have risen to the challenge.

All the riders arrived back safely to the Bulls Head in Mobberley with the exception of three riders who had started at the Fitzherbert Arms and circled round to finish there rather than the Bulls Head.

All enjoyed a drink and a burger ‘on the house’ before they took part in (Cheshire Cat owner) Tim’s cycling ‘Tim-bola’ which raised a few more pounds for our company charity ‘Action Against Hunger’. On the day we raised £315.00 for the charity! Which is a really great result. Despite the weather, the cyclists loved it and most importantly loved our pubs!!

We would like to thank cycling enthusiast Sam, from our bank HSBC, for supporting the event and for supplying the British Cycling Jerseys and books as prizes in the ‘Tim-bola’.

Bigger thanks have to go to Adam from our wine merchants Boutinot. Adam is a very keen cyclist too and made all the arrangements for the event with the help of Tim and the pubs too. Adam also helped with the wines for the ‘Tim-bola’ and cycled the 100 miles for good measure!

This is the first time we have held the ‘Safari’ and it will now be an annual feature on the Cheshire Cat calendar! Thank you to all the cyclists who took part, including Rory who travelled from London to have a go!

See you all next year!

Porto and the Douro Valley

Click here to view the gallery

As we flew out of Manchester on the Tuesday evening nothing could have prepared us for the trip we had ahead of us. We landed safely in Porto and after a quick ‘check in’, we headed to a small local restaurant just outside the Porto Railway station (which I have to say is one of the most beautiful stations I have seen). Restaurant Rapido named after a train…not the service….was lovely and we ordered homecooked fish and Veal with some excellent Douro Wines both white and red. A great meal was had by all and the wine was quaffed with gusto.

Our hosts were Ed from Fells, the company owned by the Symington Family Estates. The family is now in its fifth generation and own superb Ports such as Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Warre’s and several smaller Quintas (Vineyards/Wine Farms) situated on the banks that form the valley of the Douro River. The river runs from Spain through Portugal and reaches the sea via Porto.

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Fitz Fete Day

What a fabulous day we had on Saturday 29th June when we hosted our second Village Fete. As always, the dog show was a huge success. Our winners this year were:

Perfect Puppy – Biscuit
Cheeky Chum – Reggie
Prize Pedigree – Sydney
Marvellous Mixed Breed – Daisy-Mae
Golden Oldie -Harvey

We were lucky to be treated to a performance by a local dance troop from MLDC Studios. There were local craft stalls, a barbecue and a bake-off competition with delicious sweet and savoury offerings and we enjoyed excellent live music all afternoon too.

Thank you to all our customers who came and supported us, and to our staff for working so hard on the day. We look forward to seeing everyone (and hopefully some new faces too!) next year.

Record Car Club turnout at the Fitzherbert Arms!

On May bank holiday Saturday we welcomed 35 cars to the small Fitzherbert car park and we managed to get everyone in brilliantly! It was a cracking morning, the sun shone and everyone enjoyed their coffee and complimentary bacon bap!

Great chats about the cars on show, were to be had and two previous winners of ‘Car of the Day’ were on hand to help Fitz owner Tim, choose ‘Car of the Day’, ‘Cherished Car of the Day’ and ‘Sports car of the day’…

The winners for ‘Car of the Day’ were Netty and Andy with their amazing 1913 Chalmers Roadster.

James picked up ‘Cherished Car of the Day with his beautiful Jaguar MK II 3.4.

Sports car of the day went to Dave and his Ginetta G15. Dave was the car club member who had the idea for the Car Club ‘Passport’ so big thanks to Dave for the idea and any car club member who hasn’t had their 2019 Car Club Passport must email jess@cheshirecatpubsandbars.co.uk and request one or wait for the next car meet to be announced where we will be giving more out.

A massive thank you to everyone who brought their cars out for the morning. Its was great to meet everyone. Thanks to my landlord James and his team for looking after everyone so well.

We will see everyone at the next meet hopefully.

Below are the cars that attended.

Tim
Car Club Founder

GOING FOR THE TREBLE!

We are very excited to announce that Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars have been nominated for three very prestigious awards at the 2019 Casual Dining Awards, taking place in London on Wednesday 27th February. We feel very honoured to be nominated for two such special awards as ‘Employer of the Year’ and ‘Multi-Site Operator of the Year’ and are also very proud of our sister pub, the Cholmondeley Arms, for being nominated for ‘Pub of the Year’. Our owners, Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin, are heading off to the Big Smoke as guests of our excellent wine suppliers, Boutinot, to attend the awards ceremony, and we will keep you posted on the results of our nominations.