As an example of a good community boozer, then you will be hard pushed to find a better model than 52 – The Half Moon DE23 6FN
Situated on Littleover’s main drag (Burton Road) this is at the fulcrum of this village and I love the mix you get in this place. There is always a good mix of race, colour and creed in this pub, which is a healthy sign of a cohesive community.
After a hair cur at the very funky Buzz Cuts, which had a poster with my kind of bands on displayed in the shop,
I walked about 300 yards to the pub with my daughter as we had an hour to kill following a marathon gymnastics competition and I was met with Racing UK/Sky Sports and Mark Jarvis bookies slips everywhere. All of which meant this was a bar that was totally absorbed by the sport on a Saturday afternoon at 3.45.
Walk into the bar and face right and there was a sizeable crowd watching the racing whilst face left and there were a crowd watching Sky Sports with one of the best pub characters I’ve seen for a while.
My daughter warmed to this guy as he was just so infectious you couldn’t help but get sucked in with his enthusiasm. Apparently, his goals galore bet that meant both teams needed to score (in a lot of games). Every time Jeff Stelling read out a goal it was met with manic celebration and the obligatory “I knew it. I told you,” proclamation.
“Peterborough and Northampton always score,” he announced. “ I always have them in my bets with Swindon and they always make me money,” he said this with such authority that I took it as a dead cert (The Cobblers actually failed to score on this occasion) but he was a popular local as most people who arrived chatted with him about his bet.
And there was a good flow of locals coming in for a pint, bringing with them arguably more dogs than I’ve ever seen in a pub including ‘Daisy’ who not only took a shine to the pub furniture but also my daughter’s bowl of chips!
Not only does The Half Moon support the local bookmaker next door but it also had a cask of Littleover Brewery on the bar too and this only added to the sense of being embedded in the community. It is slap bang in the village centre and clearly picks up a lot of passing trade as well as regulars.
The lounge at the back is more food based but has a dart board that was actually being used (!) and Sky was on there too making sure this place had a real buzz.
Lots of people talk about how they prefer pubs without TV but I’m not sure I agree. Sports bars, which are just wall to wall screens, are generally soulless but pubs, like this one, that have sport on to add to the general ambience are invariably funnier and have a better atmosphere.
https://twitter.com/oldmudgie makes a good point about how pubs have become less popular over the years due to changing circumstances with people having fridges and cars, for example that have increased off trade sales massively and made certain elements of pub going non-essential.
However, not everyone can afford Sky or BT Sport and therefore the draw of live sport (always big in Britain) is a good way of potentially attracting and keeping customers when you get them through the door.
This pub was a prime example of how you can find your own space for a chill and a chat but also enjoy the drama of sport and watch some funny characters that are the original bar room experts on tactics, team selection and potential scores.
Throw into the mix a good selection of beer with four ales on, I had a top notch Ay Up (Dancing Duck) and was served by an incredibly helpful and friendly barmaid which is another reason to return. Add in the plus point of friendly characters throughout, then this place will be surviving for another 450 years as it was first believed to be an Inn way back in the 16th century.
99% of the people 99% of the time are spot on in pubs and for a man who was hugely excited about Mansfield equalising against Cambridge (it was bet related) to rein in his language after seeing I had my daughter with me showed he liked and respected ‘his’ pub.
I could have spent longer than the hour I did in here and whilst this road doesn’t contain as many gems as the A514, The Half Moon pub’s glass appears to be half full.