An impromptu stag do gave me an ideal opportunity to explore some of the various hostelries of Derby and discover some of the City’s ‘lesser lights.’
I’d just like to add in the disclaimer that the boozer I am going to wax lyrical about has links with the Coventry Music Museum, is full of mod and ska memorabilia, has live bands and – next Saturday – has Roddy Radiation from The Specials (yes that awesome band) banging out some tunes with his new band The Skabilly Rebels.
To be honest, any boozer that has live music and is mod/ska friendly is a winner in my book. Yes it also has a disco/karaoke night and an open mic night, but the fact it is open all hours is, as Ronnie Barker once said, a bonus.
This is arguably the big selling point, as it is open for 111 and a half hours per week, which, as all pub goers know, will immediately exclude it from any future GBG entry as it is far too easy to visit.
189 – The White Horse DE1 2AW is next to a classic Derby boozer – Noah’s Ark – and opposite the Bus Station, which means it is the first port of call for many punters arriving in town.
Throw into the fact that, on the occasion I visited, it was selling Draught Bass (especially for this ‘mini stag’) then really there isn’t much left to say…but I will.
My (considerably younger) pal had recently been on his first official stag do in Prague but, as I wasn’t able to make that, I suggested a Thursday in Derby by way of recompense.
So, meeting at 11.30 in The White Horse was an experience in itself, as it was remarkably full considering it wasn’t even midday and I’ve seen many pubs emptier than this on prime time Friday/Saturday/Sunday.
It was a ‘proper boozer’ with all levels of society inside and a really lively vibe for this time of day. A group were particularly excited by the jukebox and chose to belt out that timeless mod classic “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins!
(Sussudio or You Can’t Hurry Love being selected next…)
Elsewhere there were groups of old dears in the alcove bench seating whilst a group of younger lads played darts and there was a general feelgood factor.
I have to say the décor and cleanliness is impressive and if you like discs on the wall then there is probably no better bar in the Midlands.
The age range was diverse too as a bloke had brought in his baby’s pushchair (with baby!) and a Thomas the Tank Engine balloon bobbed in the air as dad tried to win his fortune on the fruit machine in between downing a pint of Burton on Trent’s finest.
Bass isn’t one of their regular ales, but it was a welcome treat and with wall to wall Sports on an array of televisions, an aforementioned jukebox and the fact they have regulars made this as good an atmosphere as you will find anywhere in the country pre midday.
“Hi Brian, a Worthington?” was the shout from the barmaid as an old boy took his place by the bar and was possibly the first person over the age of 60 in the history of Derby drinking not to quaff a Pedigree or Bass!
However, Brian was happy, the Phil Collins fan club were happy, the Thomas the Tank Engine advocate was gurgling away whilst dad was gargling away and life was good.
The Stag (I suspect we’ll get our money’s worth all the way up to July) couldn’t believe quite how full this place was and we left at around 12.15, which meant there was still nearly 13 hours drinking time left in this boozer. I reckon there was plenty more noise to come…
The pictures don’t do this place justice in terms of atmosphere or the amount of people here but it was crackling along nicely.
Thursday morning drinking – it’s the new Saturday night rock and roll in Derby!