Wetting the baby’s head, hen parties, stag parties, Christenings, Weddings, Divorce parties, Christmas parties, sports tours, pub crawls and wakes are just some of the examples us Brits use to get stuck into a beer.
I can think of countless other ‘clubs’ and ‘walking groups’ whose primary objective is to have a pint but find a counterbalance in the form of exercise beforehand.
It is a safe assumption to make that us Brits can invent a reason to enjoy a social occasion interspersed with alcohol and our standing in the world rankings shows no sign of falling.
So, I was delighted to stick with tradition and celebrate a work colleague becoming a father for the first time with a ‘wetting the baby’s head’ session.
The concept is well established and I was in esteemed company (not on the night) as both Prince William and Liam Payne (One Direction, I am down with the kids) have celebrated fatherhood with a drop of alcohol.
However, whilst I was looking forward to a good night with four friends there was no way I was going to end up like Steven Laverty (see link below) who ended a stag do by having “what about ye” tattooed across his eyelids…
Fortunately, our evening was going to be a little bit more restrained although Castle Donington appeared to be in lockdown as we headed towards 84 – The Lamb DE74 2NJ
The Wakes Street Fair is an annual event which is great for toffee apples, fairground rides and hot dogs but not shared with the same enthusiasm if you are a resident as one of our party prepared for his yearly dose of ‘fun.’
Bearing in mind this was around 4.30 on a Thursday and The Lamb was pretty full with a cracking atmosphere. Two rooms, loads of Halloween decorations
and a friendly barmaid and barfly who were chatty and we took him up on his recommendation with a good pint of Saddle Tank (Marston’s) at the very reasonable price of £2.45!
This was a good ‘proper’ pub with lots of atmosphere, decent beer at a good price and seemed well established just on the edge of Castle Donington but handily placed next to a bus stop.
It also has SKY TV and apparently attracts a lot of punters for sporting events but it is a nice bar where we were welcomed in and out by the barmaid and that small gesture always makes you want to return (along with the £2.45 Saddle Tank of course).
A quick jaunt on the skylink with an Alan Winfield recommended zigzag ticket (cheers Alan, great value) and we were in Nottingham’s Market Square.
Which was handy as it meant we could visit 85 – The Joseph Else NG1 2JS which was buzzing on an early Thursday evening.
Anyway, this was full of the usual ‘spoons crowd, and I mean that in a positive way, as people from all walks of life were on show. Groups of men on a head-wetting session, people popping in after shopping, young/old/quiet/loud/dining/drinking and this is why I think Wetherspoons pubs have been a positive for the pub industry.
Although I have to say Our Pale Ale (Shipyard) was excellent but at £2.50, it was more expensive than The Lamb!!!
I’m not a regular in Nottingham but nearly all of the pubs we pitched up in had a friendly atmosphere and were full enough to keep the landlords happy.
It was a seismic shift for our next boozer as we entered 86 – Junkyard NG1 2FZ. This was very low lights and ‘atmosphere’ but it was a hit with our party of five and particularly me as it wasn’t my round!
It’s website describes itself as “combining the laid back feel of a North California bar and eatery with a specialist craft beer shop jammed full of bottles and cans of craft beers for drinking in or taking home.” It also offers a takeaway service with the Nottingham Growlers Club and has been in the Observer’s ‘Food Monthly Awards’, Guardian’s ‘Best Places to Drink’ and ‘The Times’ ‘25 Coolest Restaurants in the U.K.’
Basically it’s a hip, happening place, full of craft keg beer and it had a cracking atmosphere. It would be easy to criticise this for not being ‘pubby’ enough but it was friendly, full of people of all ages (well maybe a little bit younger) and clearly thriving and I would come here again either in a group at night, in the day on my own or with Mrs BB and I can’t praise it higher than that (that’s in no particular order in case Mrs BB is reading!)
I had a 2/3 of Transmission (North Brewing Company) which came in at a whopping 6.9% and was a popular choice with our group receiving a big thumbs up.
The conversation was flowing at this point and we were, in true Tony Adams and Ray Parlour fashion (it was in his first autobiography) celebrating the birth of young Toby in style at every pub!
However, there was more to come as it is customary to ensure the head is suitably dunked…