A damp Sunday afternoon in Derby isn’t a description to set the pulse racing, but there was a real ray of sunshine as both old and new proved pub life is alive and kicking in this part of the world.
Let’s start with the new; a rarity these days as pubs are still closing at a rate of knots. The former Shakespeare, which has been closed for a lengthy period in the Sadler Gate area of the city, has reinvented itself in style as 36 – Dog And Moon DE1 3NF.
I’ve never visited this pub in its previous incarnation but there is so much to like about this place. Firstly, the barmaid was an absolute belter. She was friendly and welcoming and gushing about her place of work.
It had only opened a week previously and, according to the Derby Telegraph, there were 700+ people visiting in one night and I reckon most, if not all, will return. Anyway, returning to the aforementioned barmaid I learned she was from Hull (Housemartins territory so must be good), l also learned she was honest enough to admit she didn’t know a lot about the bitter I was going to choose… but happy to let me try before I buy…
I had a pint of Dog and Moon Bitter (Westgate), which may have its critics as a brewery but this was top notch beer and it was interesting to note (well, to me anyway) they also had an Oatemal Stout on from Littleover Brewery and a Derby Brewing Company ale on too.
As well as local beer they have local coffee with the Buxton Roastery and they also offer live music because, as my friendly barmaid informed me, Hull has a more diverse music scene at present.
Arguably the best thing about this place is that it is run by a couple who are 27 and 24 and that is what the pub business needs. A fresh injection of youth who retain good traditions and bring energy to a venue. Whilst it was relatively quiet on a Sunday there was a steady stream of customers enjoying the chilled atmosphere.
I also noted a few of the punters were drinking stout so the gaffers obviously know their stuff! I really would recommend this place and I am intrigued to see what it would be like on a Friday/Saturday evening as I reckon it will cater successfully for a younger crowd.
A short stroll across town led me to an old favourite and a wonderful building, which also happens to be Derby’s oldest pub 37 – Ye Olde Dolphin Inne DE1 3DL.
Apparently it dates back to the 16th century and is allegedly haunted as the pub is on the city’s ghost walk scene. This is an absolute classic four roomed boozer that, if you need to relax, has a no children policy!
Two bars, a lounge and a snug, containing the obligatory Derby County reference
….as well as a steak bar upstairs and a large beer terrace with live music means this is a real hot bed of activity of an evening and there was a steady trade this afternoon
I shoehorned myself into the snug and listened to two female bar staff and a punter talking about a recent festival where Aled Jones has belted out Walking In The Air and it was misconstrued as Howard Jones (80’s pop star to the uninitiated) which led to mass confusion as I’m not sure Howard’s voice would stretch to those high notes?!
This is a pub that has been well documented on beer blogs by far better writers than I but, suffice to say, I sneaked in a half of the East Midlands perennial favourite (Cask Bass) to lubricate me ahead of the equally perennial rain in the town centre.
However, I could have had at least seven further cask ales and the turnover in this place must be huge as I’ve yet to have a bad pint on several visits
Basically, two good pubs, both worth a visit and selling good beer with top class bar staff. I always say it is the people who make pubs not the other way around and these two had warmth in abundance.