“This is the dawning..cha cha cha…of a new era”…sang Terry Hall back in 1979. See, I managed to get another Specials reference in there for no apparent reason other than the pub I am about to write about is starting a new chapter.
I also feel I must mention that it sits yards off the now famous (well in this blog anyway) A514, which has already delivered five top notch boozers.
You can make that six as 39 – The Chequers Inn DE73 7JH is a pub from a bygone era that is still hugely popular in the Derbyshire village of Ticknall.
I could imagine Jerry and the boys having drunk in here back in the day as the piano that is still in the backroom lounge would have been ideal for a rendition of Dawning Of A New Era and the whole place doesn’t look like it’s changed much since the seventies.
So much so that when I walked in I was surprised to see a new face behind the bar. Dennis Hylton’s name is still above the front door as it has been for the best part of 30 years but there’s a new kid on the block by the name of Tony.
I say kid but he was probably about the same age as me, which meant he was instantly twenty years younger than anyone else in the pub!
I always assumed this was a two-roomed pub with the classic outside toilet (first one since I’ve started blogging) but he had uncovered a third room by “clearing out the clutter” and there were some locals playing darts in a fairly bijoux area.
The front room was packed and the back room was fairly full, which is a good sign on a Friday night at 9pm and, most importantly of all, the beer was still top notch.
A top class pint (take note Martin) of Bass for a very reasonable £3 was just what the doctor ordered and it was the drink of choice for most in here, which is why it is a permanent fixture.
The new gaffer shook my hand and welcomed me to the pub and I have to say that is the sort of thing you remember.
The transition is clearly not quite complete yet as there was still plenty of bone china stacked high on shelves around the pub and Smooth FM was still belting out in the background.
I think the term evolution rather than revolution is the order of the day for Tony as the locals obviously like a close knit community judging by the looks cast my way on entry with neither a word or nod of acknowledgement forthcoming.
Apart for Tony of course, who was top class and told me he’d been in charge for a week and I expect he’ll keep the Inglenook fireplace and a lot of the history that stems from this 17th Century gem of a pub.
It is very much wet led and that it is its appeal. It even had a top notch bar blocker who made it nigh on impossible to return my glass to Tony after necking a top class bit of nectar. However, I made a point of having a chat with Tony as he was a good bloke who, on first impressions, will give this place an injection of enthusiasm. It also slightly irritated the bloke who was slightly irritating me by blocking the bar and not acknowledging me – so a successful double whammy!
Love this place and it really is worth a visit if you like a drinking den because there really are pubs galore on the A514 (there you go Russ!)