No punches pulled in the title of this post. Draycott In The Clay is an absolute mecca for local pubs bucking the trend. Having visited The Roebuck (pub 172) which is a pub thriving as a Freehouse with an onsite brewery there is a different model equally as successful further up the A515.
174- The Swan Inn DE6 5GZ is arguably more ‘local’ than its aforementioned competitor but there is most definitely room for both of them in this village just off the A50 between Burton and Uttoxeter.
The Swan Inn definitely feels more rural and this is reflected by the fact it has a huge farm shop next door to it on its vast site known as Staffordshire Traditional Meats.
They clearly take their food seriously at this Free House (since 2014) as this opening gambit in their menu states…
…it’s all very earnest and judging by the amount of people eating when I visited, the food is clearly spot on.
However, the Canadian branch of my blog readers might note the odd typo and grammatical error (over to you Russ) but it is explicit in its intentions to provide good food.
(in the countryside)
Nevertheless, as I entered the boozer at around 1.30 on a Thursday afternoon the pub section was absolutely rammed with punters both eating and drinking. There is a restaurant section attached but this area is most definitely a pub where you could eat if you wanted to.
(nice windows but I wanted to drink so I gave this room a wide berth!)
In fact, the couple sitting by me were enjoying their dessert so much that they didn’t speak for around ten minutes (!) but made lots of ‘enjoyment noises.’
(relaxing post ‘meal’ with old boy stoking the fires)
Prior to that I had introduced myself to all the locals at the bar by dropping all of my change as I attempted to pay for a pint…no ‘spoons style app here…but it raised a chuckle and broke the ice as I plumped for a Wainwrights (Thwaites) at £3.30.
The beer was decent, not as good as the absolute nectar at The Roebuck but perfectly palatable and this place was busier with people of all ages. There were two women having a business meeting with a laptop, a young couple both necking Carling, some old boys and older couples drinking along with a couple of walkers ( I said walkers Russ, it’s not a typo!) drinking Prosecco.
(Beermats, Bench seating and Barbour Jackets – a proper country local)
They were proper walkers with laminated maps and I reckon this place picks up a lot of passing trade along with its locals due to the walking routes nearby and the farm shop.
There was also a top old boy who flitted between smoking outside and tending to the fire (see picture above) and was clearly known to everyone and it was a friendly place as a young bloke with a hip beard and Barbour jacket acknowledged me as he left following an afternoon of amber nectar.
(Beer and wi-fi – what more could you want?)
Apparently, this boozer is around 200 years old and has history of being owned by Ansells and Ind Coope before a succession of Pubcos gradually finished it off until it was brought back to life by its current owners…
…and it is clearly popular with all and sundry in Dracott In The Clay.
(Race night – a locals’ favourite)
As villages go, I reckon this must be one of the best in the Midlands for quality as it contains two freehold pubs, both with their own style and both thriving in an era when pubs are under the cosh like never before.