Garage turned pub, The Duke of Wellington in Leicester
The nation turned its hand to DIY in typically British fashion during lockdown, with the creation of thousands of our own backyard boozers.
Now, following a three-month hunt for the UK’s best at home bar, The Duke of Wellington in Leicester has taken top honours in Aldi’s nationwide search, which received over 11,000 entries and included everything from Tiki Bars to shed makeovers.
The winning lockdown-landlords are Tommy and Lindsay Castleman (both 35), who have been awarded the coveted best-boozer title for their incredible garage conversion, which was created in memory of Tommy’s grandfather, Harry Castleman. This garage turned character pub was transformed by the couple in just five weeks and includes an impressive portrait of the Duke of Wellington on its wall, painted by Harry himself.
Tommy, a carpenter and Lindsay who works in HR at Demontfort University created the pub as a great spot to unwind, enjoy their favourite drinks and watch the football, but also a way to toast Tommy’s late grandfather who lived to be 100 years old.
Aside from being the proud owners of their very own pub, they have now won a year’s supply of Aldi shopping vouchers to keep their shelves proudly stocked for winning Aldi’s ‘Best at Home Bar’ competition.
The judges of Aldi’s competition, Sadie Jones and Nick Threadgold from Cheshire, and proud landlords of the Stagger Inn, created a media storm with their own lockdown bar project. The couple commented: “We were so impressed by this conversion. It’s easy to see the amount of serious time and effort that’s gone into creating this traditional pub. Everything from the tables, chairs and wood panelling creates such an authentic and real pub feel. This is truly an amazing lockdown pub, full of character that Tommy and Lindsay should be proud of.”
The closure of pubs, bars and restaurants during lockdown has accelerated the rise of home delivery, with Brits not wanting to miss out on their pub fix of favourite beers, beloved G&Ts and glasses of vino. In fact, data from Google Trends has revealed that searches for Aldi wine delivery rose by 750% in the three months from 23rd March. Selling on average 14 bottles of wine every minute online, the supermarket offers online delivery of a wide range of its award-winning beers, wines and spirits, all available to be delivered to your door with just a few simple clicks and perfect to fill any at-home bar.
The judges also crowned three well-deserved runners up from across the UK, who each wowed with their innovative at-home bar builds and who have been enjoying their bars long after the easing of lockdown.
Paula Woodcock Tillotson (53) and John Taylor (48) from Leeds impressed the judges with their garden pallet pub named ‘PJ’s Beer Garden’ built over just three weekends. This scored top marks due to their innovative use of the wooden pallets, creating a welcoming and cosy garden seating area.
Paula and John are in love with their new creation and are in no rush to return to the pub despite being out every weekend before lockdown. With the homage to Leeds United, this couple certainly got a lot of use out of their garden bar to celebrate the team’s recent promotion to the Premier League!
Hawaiian tiki style bars shined as a theme amongst entries, but deserving special recognition is this tropical garden bar from owner, Network Rail engineer Darryl Davies (46) and family, who transformed the bottom of their garden into an island escape. Standing out to the judges, this bar was built in just two days and decorated in three during the lockdown period. From the bar counter to the seating area, this impressive bar comes complete with a swing chair and a hot tub.
For Darryl and his family, the bar has felt like a holiday home in their own back garden and has proved invaluable in spending some quality time with family. The family doesn’t envisage returning to the pubs any time soon as thanks to a recently installed log burner, relaxing by the crackling fire in the late evening is just the ticket – especially when accompanied by a good whiskey as a night cap.
For innovative design and simplicity, the final runner up was this ingenious bar between two gardens. This crafty fold down fence neatly doubled up as a table meaning runners up, Michelle (43) and Peter Turnball (45) from Durham converted the fence in less than a day to enjoy a glass or two while socially distancing with neighbours during lockdown. The couple have enjoyed many a lockdown day and night over the bar with their neighbours, including VE celebrations and dinners, all safe from a distance. Michelle comments: “In just one movement it created an area of fun and laughter during dark times.”
Feeling inspired by these at-home bar creations? Visit Aldi in-store or online where you can choose a selection of award-winning beers, wines and spirits, and even mix and match six bottles of your favourite tipples to bag free delivery – making sure the bar never runs dry.
For further information, images or to request a sample, please contact the Aldi BWS team on: email@example.com
020 7479 0910
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*Scottish and Welsh customers are not able to buy products that fall below the MUP. Any orders placed to Scottish and Welsh addresses which do not meet the requirements of MUP will be refunded.
 Imbibe, April, 2020: https://imbibe.com/news/the-drinks-industrys-latest-services-during-lockdown/
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