The Speckled Hen Pub & Dining Room, Derriaghy, Lisburn won its third award in three years on Thursday night. The pub was crowned Public House of the Year 2017 at the prestigious Ulster Tatler Awards, held at Belfast City Hall. The pub, formerly the Travellers Rest, was earmarked for closure in 2014 when the new owner by serendipity came across the business forlorn and neglected.
“The pub dates back to 1660,” said Martin the new owner. “It would have been a tragedy to see such an old and fondly remembered community pub go the same way as so many other famous old pubs.”
The pub now boasts a public bar, pizza pod, and fine dining room. The pub also has a beer garden with garden shed cabanna and its own brewery. The Black Mountain Brewery produces craft beers only sold at The Speckled Hen.
The pub recently introduced its own range of spirits, The Hen’s Blend. They include its Milltown Dry Gin, Divis Diva Strawberry & Lemon Gin and Holy Well Vodka. This Christmas the pub will be introducing its Butchers Hill Black Vodka. There are plans to build a kitchen garden on the roof.
The new name came from my great granny Jenny said Martin’s daughter Kellie, who manages the Pub. “She would tell my dad her speckled hen’s were the most productive, tastiest and friendliest of all the chickens she kept. We thought they were fitting attributes for the business. My dad keeps telling me it’s not rocket science, good food, premium brand drinks and friendly efficient service are the key and of course great customers.”
“I thought it was really important we wrote a Mission Statement for the business from day one. Simple and to the point we have stuck by it and it seems to have paid off.”
Over the years the pub has been honoured with visits from famous people Daniel O’Connell, Basil Blackshaw, Joey Dunlop to name a few More recently celebrities from the world of sport, entertainment and the odd politician have graced it with their presence. But it’s the locals who give it a real sense of identity.
“The Hens a mere spring chicken at three hundred and fifty seven years old,” Martin added. “Hopefully it will still be clucking in a hundred and fifty more years.”