Ashbourne’s New Wave Of Drinkers

“People have been really excited about this place since it opened…I never used to drink in Ashbourne but I come here all the time.  It’s fantastic.”

I need to start this post with some breaking, and quite frankly disturbing news. It would appear that not everyone in Britain likes classic old fashioned, wet led pubs and earthy boisterous boozers may actually stop people drinking!

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Before the American/Canadian alliance throw all of their big artillery at me along with the People’s Republic of Stockport, the Fenland Massive, the Hampshire/Hull Mafia, Scotland (!) and the Winshill Warriors, the punter in 267 – Maison Du Biere Ashbourne DE6 1EA might just have had a point.

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(Books and games – is that a Micro?)

Mrs BB, the kids and I had just completed a cracking circular seven miler from Ashbourne to Thorpe and Mrs BB spotted what I thought was a bottle shop just as we were approaching the car.

(every day is a holiday in Ashbourne…)

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Now whilst I may think I have got this blogging lark cracked, Mrs BB reckons I have missed a trick by not including regular Gin updates in a ‘One For the Ladies’ style.

Whilst older readers (i.e. everyone looking at this blog) might start shifting uncomfortably in their seats at thoughts of ‘One For The Ladies’ I am positive Mrs BB was referring to Gin palaces as opposed to readers sections of well-known Ford car manufacturers magazines in the eighties and nineties.

She also takes far better pictures than I do so if the quality of pictures is Crilleyesque in this post then I have to confess it isn’t my own work.

Anyway, back to the bar itself…it has only been open for a month and is a combined bottle shop and bar situated in a former antique shop.

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I have to say, it was an absolute corker of a place.  Dogs and kids were more than welcome and the gaffer was almost horizontal he was so chilled out, but had great beer knowledge.

I had a fantastic half of Claw Track (Buxton)…

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followed by an equally quaffable sour beer Dame Melba Phantom (Beavertown)…

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whilst the conversation flowed downstairs in a setting that wasn’t traditional but, ultimately, comfortable and welcoming.

Our kids worked their way through Jenga and a veritable array of board games whilst we sparked up a chat with a friendly couple with a pair of huge Labradors (no euphemisms Russ).

He was a South African who had been living in London with his better half and they had fallen in love with Ashbourne… his better half was firmly in the Mrs BB corner and putting away a good selection of gin (Manchester Raspberry appeared to be a particular favourite), which probably means that price isn’t a major issue.

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However, despite looking like a brick outhouse he didn’t share my love of earthy boozers and said that this place was terrific as “we didn’t drink in Ashbourne until this place opened.” 

And he confirmed this was true for quite a few of his drinking buddies so maybe, just maybe, craft beer bars where the gaffer obviously cares about his punters, looks after his beer and creates a warm, friendly atmosphere could be the future of British boozers?

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Barnsley CAMRA think so as, according to the Maison Du Biere website, their Elsecar bottle shop/boozer has been awarded their pub of the season

Apparently, it is the first craft only tap in the UK to receive an award from CAMRA so maybe I have seen the future.

In which case, bearing in mind it had ten belting beers on and the gaffer knows his stuff, I fully expect Duncan, Martin and Si to be visiting this part of Derbyshire in the 2020 GBG!

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The walk itself was another classic with boozers in Thorpe and Mapleton en route along with an absolute plethora in Ashbourne.   Nonetheless, you know if big South Africans are getting excited about drinking in a new bar in Ashbourne then the tide is changing and that might not be a bad thing if pubs in some way shape or form survive.

 

26 thoughts on “Ashbourne’s New Wave Of Drinkers

  1. Now, what you missed is that Artisan, a quite brilliant cafe bar in Ashbourne, beat this one by about 18 months as the first to break through in the town, in the sense of something new in what is largely a very conservative (small c) town. If the bloke you spoke to didn’t drink in Ashbourne until Maison du Biere opened, he’s been missing out (in my opinion).
    Welcome to both places anyway.
    And if you want an absolutely brilliant traditional boozer in Ashbourne, the Smith’s Tavern is an all-time classic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And if you want an absolutely brilliant traditional boozer in Ashbourne, the Smith’s Tavern is an all-time classic!”

      A pub named after me! I definitely have to come over sometime. 🙂
      (and it’s only a one minute walk to the Artisan)

      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “I didn’t realise your surname was thesmithstavern ? What are the odds of that 😀😉”

        Well, both ‘the’ and ‘stavern’ are silent. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Mrs BB, the kids and I had just completed a cracking circular seven miler from Ashbourne to Thorpe ”

    Crikey. That’s a good two hour jaunt. Well done.

    “and the gaffer was almost horizontal he was so chilled out, ”

    Great description. 🙂

    “(no euphemisms Russ).”

    LOL – over here Labrador is not a euphemism so no worries there. 🙂

    “The walk itself was another classic with boozers in Thorpe and Mapleton en route along with an absolute plethora in Ashbourne.”

    Ok, make that over 2.5 hours for the walk if you went via Mapleton.

    “and that might not be a bad thing if pubs in some way shape or form survive.”

    I will now pontificate for one minute. 🙂

    I would prefer a variety of pubs myself; from wet led, back street earthy boisterous boozers to the chrome and steel city centre gasto concoctions. Something for all ages and all walks of life. We have little to no cask over here but I’m quite happy with keg. Maybe I don’t miss what I don’t have. I’ve enjoyed having a beer with my brother in places in France (and Belgium) that would make bars over in Canada look fancy (and would never be mistaken for a pub!). It’s not just the beer (although I’d get darn tired of pouring my beer into a potted plant every week like Martin’s doing!), it’s the atmosphere and the company.

    So hurrah for tap houses and micro pubs and pubs so old it’s basically the front room of a house belonging to a little old lady in her 80’s. Just as long as they don’t all start looking like they all were stamped from the same mould. 😉

    Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really good points Russ and variety is definitely the spice of life….pubs like every other industry need to evolve and offer choice to survive as an industry 👍🍻 walk was nigh in four hours with a short snack stop and skimming stones stop!!

      Like

  3. I drink in traditional pubs and modern bars, probably in equal amount. This post evidences what I also see in action. Within 1 mile of our house there are 7 trad pubs (inc. 4 (decent) Sam Smiths £2 a pint emporiums) and 2 modern bars. Thankfully all of them are doing, reasonably well. Which two are grossing £15 – 20k per week, each, do you think?

    There is also another modern bar/restaurant not doing very well which, despite asking advice from myself and others, continues to peddle shite from the Marston’s PLC portfolio. Again, evidence that if you give people what they want they will come out and pay for it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Same demography in the trad pubs as it has always been. Sadly for modern young families with modern life styles trad pubs don’t offer what they want, unless it’s a destination eating pub. For instance, the current trend is for designer handbag dogs, Snowflakes don’t like to leave their dogs home alone, a kennel or a chain in the backyard is not acceptable – many trad pubs round here still won’t let dogs in, so where do they go?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good point. Hopefully more boozers like this one will spring up and more choice is offered. Ultimately, the pubs that close will, more often then not, close because not enough people care about them or they are owned by companies who don’t care (there are always exceptions to that of course).

        Liked by 1 person

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