CAMRA cider pub of the year

Landlord David Roder points to the CAMRA awards inside the Waterworks

Rye Waterworks, the amazing micropub, opened its doors in 2018 and it has been winning awards ever since. On Tuesday evening last week it was awarded the 2022 CAMRA cider pub of the year in the south east.

David Roder and his family run this much sort-out hostelry, and when you meet him you totally understand why it is so popular. David is energetic, caring and innovative and the pub resonates warmth and fun. There are lots of quirky things to engage with during the week and one of the most popular is the Sunday lunchtime challenge. This week it was the roast potato bake off where the punters come in with a tray of their baked potatoes which are judged on crispness and flavour. The winner received a £20 voucher to spend in the Waterworks. Last week it was Yorkshire puddings. These events are very well attended and there is a great deal of fun and laughter.

The pub is situated in a building steeped with history, which had originally been a water pump house for some three hundred years. A soup kitchen then followed, dating from the 1890s. David and his family serve eight local ales and sixteen local ciders along with a selection of wines, local gins, local vodka & local soft drinks. The most popular ciders are Nightingale Tenterden and Waken.

There are plans afoot for the family to start brewing their own beer and, indeed, this process has already begun as a number of collaborations with local breweries. This is another story for another time but it will certainly add another dimension to the already super pub.

Reading Trip Advisor about the pub is an eye opener: everything is good. It is not often that you see reviews without one or two rather negative comments. Not so here.

Traveller rating: Excellent 158; Very good 6; Average 4; Poor 0; Terrible 0

A happy customer from Luton wrote:
“This was a return visit for us and it was as good as ever. A wide choice of ever-changing beers. We were there for a couple of hours and three casks went and were swiftly replaced with another beer. A warm welcome and an ever-changing clientele, many of whom were happy to sit and chat. Not to be missed if visiting Rye.”

Another review:
“Fantastic place to visit!

“We visited the Waterworks twice during our three night break to Rye. It was busy both times but with some creative spacing there was still room to sit down. The landlord is incredibly friendly and happy to bring out extra chairs when needed. He told us about a monthly coach trip to other microbreweries but we weren’t able to join on this trip.
They have a great selection of beers, ciders and more. We tried a couple of different drinks each visit and they were all brilliant.

“The venue is so quirky, and everything in there is for sale which makes for a quirky twist.
Definitely recommend for a visit (or two!) when in Rye.”

I asked David about life running a pub which is so busy, and he said that he is the happiest he has ever been. He loves his customers and is amazed at just how much appreciation there is for what he is trying to create in Rye. He works alongside his partner Ulla and his sons Damien and Eddie and they are supported by great staff behind the bar some of whom are former customers.

So, visit and sample the ciders that made it 2022 cider pub of the year in the south east. You won’t be disappointed.

Image Credits: Kt Bruce , Nick Forman .


  1. I am absolutely delighted to see the Waterworks Pub receive recognition from CAMRA but also to read your article that shines a spotlight on the work that Dave Roder has done to grow his business through what is clearly the most challenging period in many decades. The Waterworks is one of Rye’s treasures, and as I type this from breakfast table in California, the congeniality of the pub host, the pictures and posts of the events he puts on virtually every week, and the smiles on the faces of the clientele make me long to visit again soon. We used to venture to London every year for the holidays and take a side trip to Rye. These days we think we would dispense with the big city and head directly out to Rye joying a longer stay among the people, places and most of all, happy hours at the Waterworks. With the Waterworks thriving, and the George reopening, the beckoning siren call from the charming town far across the globe is irresistible.


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