Disclaimer!!! This was a 50th Birthday Party so wherever I went was likely to be a good night!
Willington is undergoing something of a gentrification at present and I wonder if the Willington triangle of three pubs within spitting distance of each other is part of the sales pitch. Do estate agents describe it as the gateway to the A38/50 or focus instead on the train station that has been taken over by the local WI to good effect!
The gentrification hasn’t quite yet reached 14 – The Rising Sun DE65 6BP that has had many guises over the past few years but has finally settled on a smart wet-led pub.
Fifteen of us descended into a boozer that had fruit machines, a pool table, dart board, SKY TV and also a jukebox! Not only was it a jukebox but it was also free on a Saturday night…if that doesn’t tempt people in then I don’t know what will. Also, by way of an extra bonus, there was an old boy with a proper old transistor radio listening to the commentary of Middlesbrough/Sheffield United that was on SKY – with volume!
It lurched from Linkin Park to Lionel Richie and then on to Adam And The Ants as the wide range of teens to fiftysomethings got a good atmosphere flowing. The bonus was that you could have a conversation as nothing was too loud…I can’t imagine why this place didn’t have more people in it? (They were all In The Dragon…more of that later) but aside from a party of 15 there were only sporadic numbers elsewhere, including possibly the worst pool player I’ve seen for many moons.
But it was a warm night, good beer Park Life (Banks’s) and everything you could want – apart from food (if that’s what you want from a pub…)….maybe the £2.50 all day every day (in the week) on Carling and Pedigree needs to be extended to weekends although I paid less than £3 for a nice drop.
The yout’ of today decided that we needed to move on and 15 – The Dragon DE65 6BP appears to have the formula just right. Countless ales from their Boot Brewery in Repton, a canal side beer garden, three quarters of an ever expanding pub given over to food and a drinker’s area with a big sports screen are what the natives want.
It was rammed and proof that pubs can survive and there was even time for a bit of live music; the most surreal version of Paranoid ever from a duo on Acoustic guitar and accordion! It works!! They subsequently unleashed Caroline and Highway To Hell (the only disappointment was a lack of Clash songs) but you need to check out Lil Jim & Cain Paisley as they are good value.
Bitter (Boot) was in great form as well and whilst The Dragon is currently on fire there is definitely room for the Estate Agents of Willington to mention The Rising Sun in their spiel.