Mick Jagger sang optimistically about ‘getting his kicks’ from the two thousand mile stretch from Chicago to LA on Route 66 back in the day. I’m not quite sure what Mick and the rest of the Stones needed to give them a ‘kick’ back in the day (I could take an educated guess) and whilst Keith Richards’ legendary habits are down in rock folklore, I am pretty sure Charlie, Bill and Brian liked the odd beverage as well.
However, I am not sure many modern day folk have the same love for either the M6, M1 or even the M42 come to think of it as cruising down these long stretches of road is usually non-existent and more of a stress ridden snarl up .
Nevertheless, I think I may have found the antidote as the A514 from Derby to Swadlincote is a mere 14 miles and the chances of a traffic snarl up are slim. Whilst the Clock garage at Woodville isn’t an award winning piece of architecture (Martin’s favourite), there’s a fair bit of greenery and I’ve already posted about a couple of the pubs in Hartshorne you will find on this road and there are plenty more (with the odd diversion). Therefore, I reckon some bright spark could even start an A514 Ale Trail!
One welcome addition to this route is 32 – R&R’s Sports Bar And Lounge DE73 5SA in Chellaston. Chellaston is a suburb of Derby that is having a huge amount of homes built on it and if even a fraction of these newcomers pitch up at R&R’s it will be a roaring success.
Having said that, it was pretty full when I popped in on a Saturday evening at about 6pm, considering it has only been open about four months. It is situated on the site of an old British Legion and, as such, is a huge venue but has been given a top class refurb.
The good thing about Derby is that it is a real one club town and most pubs have some kind of Rams memorabilia and this place has really grasped the mettle.
They are already running a mini bus to home games for the sum of £3 and I think that shows a really good community pub in the making already.
There were lots of children in the venue (most outside in the beer garden) and it is full of families, which is a good thing. Sports memorabilia on the walls with the obligatory Clough and Taylor print alongside other football, cricket and rugby framed shirts are also in evidence.
With the Republic of Ireland playing in the background talk at the bar was centred around DCFC Chairman Mel Morris’ promise to give all fans with a season ticket a free one next year if Derby go up!
However, more importantly was the fact they had one of my favourite breweries on and it was a cracking pint of A Fist Full Of Hops (Falstaff) at just £3.20. There were four cask ales on and I reckon there is enough turnover in this place to support this and I love the fact a new pub has opened up and is apparently thriving in a suburb
If you don’t like children then this probably isn’t for you but with late night live music, sport, good beer and friendly bar staff, then you can have a child free epxerience later in the day if you want…what’s not to like?
Step outside and literally ten yards across the car park is 33 – The Lawns Hotel DE73 6TB. Again this place was buzzing early on Saturday evening and it looked like there was a wedding party in as there were more kids than I’d seen before and Wallace and Grommit was on the TV as opposed to Sky Sports!
Like all good hotels this place sells food but it always seems to be full of people drinking to me and there is a definite bar area in this small hotel.
The Lawns always has a large selection of ales and Keg but its prices are certainly more ‘hotel’ than bar as £2.50 for half an IPA (Goose Island) demonstrated.
But this is a good place to drink in with a cracking atmosphere and, like most places in Derby, still provides you with a beermat!
A slight diversion off the A514 at Swarkestone heads towards arguably the smallest hamlet n Derbyshire.
Ingleby, according to the 2001 census, has a population of just 85 and despite possessing some fantastic caves to explore; I reckon that might have shrunk in the past 16 years!
But that doesn’t stop one of the county’s best country pubs from chugging along as 34 – The John Thompson Inn DE73 7HW still attracts punters from far and wide.
Celebrating 40 years of brewing…
…it has had to diversify a bit over the years and you can now stop in their plush River View lodges on the banks of the River Trent and it still attracts plenty of walkers to boot.
There is the obligatory pub walkers dog – a black Labrador – and the pub is a joy to behold inside.
I’m not sure how many rooms it has got as doors just appear and there are various nooks and crannies with well-kept clutter everywhere.
It looks like it hasn’t changed in years but the food is always tasty and, despite the lure of JT Gold, I settled for a cracking drop of Keg Bass.
It wasn’t full by any stretch of the imagination for a Saturday evening but the JT tends to pick up trade at all times and I guess Saturday night isn’t one of its big nights.
It’s well worth a visit though as Nick the landlord is top value and I reckon the phrase blunt talking was invented on his behalf….
Three cracking pubs; all very different in style but all well worth a visit and all selling good beer alongside a free pint of atmosphere and enjoyment.
If anyone can find a suitable song a la Route 66 to link in with the A514 trail, there’s a prize in it for them!