Some ‘Micropubs’/small pubs have got it and some haven’t. Just as some pubs have got it and some haven’t the same rules fundamentally apply to smaller boozers.
By ‘it’ I mean that X-Factor that gives a place a crackling atmosphere and that certain something that isn’t always easy to quantify.
Take the 219 – Draycott Tap House DE72 3PS for example. Firstly, it has had the seal of approval from all things beer related in The Derby Evening Telegraph. Colston Crawford – aka – The Beerhunter – lauded this place and there is no higher praise in this neck of the woods.
It is situated in Draycott, not Draycott In The Clay, which is not a million miles away in Staffordshire. It reminds me of a scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where John Cleese et al are talking about The People’s Front of Judea and The Judean People’s Front (splitters, for those in the know!)
However, once you get your head around the fact that Draycott is closer to the Nottinghamshire border then you can focus on the positives.
Firstly, I can’t find any information anywhere that tells me what this pub ‘used to be.’ That surely is a good thing as frankly I think people are past caring if your pub used to be a hairdressers, pet shop, Chinese takeaway or an Ann Summers shop!
Basically, at around 9.30 on a Thursday night this place was absolutely alive and felt as much like a pub as any ‘bigger’ boozer I have been in.
There were about 15 people in including a table of around six girls hammering the gin and making a lot of noise which is great and they were competing with a bloke and his wife trying to sell the merits of the stout!
He was well oiled but good company and telling me about the stout being top class and that the ‘wife beater’ stout, that was 7%, had just finished and his wife was rolling her eyes in a ‘he’s had a few more than me’ way.
However, he was part of a group and was also talking about a few innings during his career at Denbigh CC with all the actions of cover drives and forward defensives! A top couple, as were the girls on their gin and the barman and other punters enjoying a pint.
There was one bloke in there who you will find in most pubs i.e. they think the bar is their own property and have a bit of a swagger but, regulars are important to every pub, and he was not a problem at all.
When you look at why this place is so popular then it is clear the owner, Greg Maskalick, loves his beer.
Not only is he a brewer, but the American is part of village life and attends village meetings along with his CAMRA and SIBA commitments as well as running a Tap House and brewing beer!
You have to be committed to the cause but he must enjoy the fact his tap house is thriving and his beer is selling well as the pint of Top Of The Hops (Draycott Brewing) was in cracking nick and hit the spot.
I can recommend this place and it shows that it is people who make pubs and landlords who care about beer and the right atmosphere usually get it right.