Beard friendly pub of the year award cock tavern credit Hazel Potter

Cream of the crop: Keith Flett presents Cock Tavern staff with the award. Photograph: Hazel Potter

Two Hackney watering holes have made the cut in the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year Awards, coming joint first for this year.

The Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington – the existing title-holder – was this year voted joint-best pub, along with the Cock Tavern on Mare Street.

The competition is designed to be a positive counterpoint to ‘dry January’, when many choose to forego alcohol for a month after an indulgent festive period.

The winning pubs bagged almost 2,500 votes each, out of a record 7,419 votes cast in an online poll.

“Both of these pubs received far more votes than any other in the country,” said organiser Keith Flett of the Beard Liberation Front, an informal network of beard-bearers.

“It seems more people are interested in beer and beards in Hackney than anywhere else.”

In a “beard-friendly” pub at least some of the bar staff must be hirsute and a noticeable numbers of the customers should be as well, Flett explained.

“But the award also celebrates diversity. The pubs should be home to a mix of people – not just the traditional Brian Blessed variety of beard, but also the more finely chiselled facade on people that might be described as hipsters.”

The pub must also sell “beard-friendly beers” – not just standard bitters and lagers but interesting IPAs, stouts and much else in cask, keg and bottle.

Ozan Aydin, manager of the Jolly Butchers, said his team were pleased to be involved in “such an exciting competition.”

“Although it’s a joint win, we are still happy to win the award for the second year in a row,” he said. “We work very hard to source the best beer out there to serve in our pub. We would like to thank all our costumers for their support.”

The Cock Tavern has been approached for comment.

Related: Cock Tavern’s ‘pickle boy’ Molloy wins egg award

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