A lot of scribes belonging to the PUB (Pub Union of Bloggers – current membership ten and aspiring for a TV deal like the PFA) suggest that most of the best boozers are Free Houses.
And when you see gems such as 276 – The Cross Keys DE13 9NR then it’s hard to argue.
It’s a proper old fashioned pub in Tutbury wedged in between houses on Burton Street, but with the most astounding views of the Dove Valley from its car park and all the usual things you’d expect from a ‘classic’ pub.
It’s been owned by the same person (Wendy Brown) for nigh on 30 years and exudes that warmth and confidence of an experienced landlady who knows what they are doing.
A split level multi roomed boozer with a small front bar, beermats, a small decent selection of well-kept beer and amusing punters.
The Repair Shop was on the box in the corner and a punter next to me was absolutely transfixed.
(Happy to pay his TV Licence fee)
“It’s fascinating. I could watch it all night I can’t believe what they do with it,” he remarked when the gaffer asked him if he was in a trance.
Another couple walked in, sat down, had a pint and a chat and I don’t think they registered with him at all.
In fact, I reckon World War III could have broken out and he wouldn’t have stopped looking at the big (or not so big in this case) screen.
(It does offer sport when The Repair Shop isn’t on!)
The second room on a split level had a couple of younger kids playing on their Nintendo’s and it just had the feel of a pub that has been around for a long time and an established part of the community.
It was early on a Monday evening, which isn’t prime time so there were only around five other punters apart from me but Wendy was, nonetheless, happy and welcoming and served up an excellent drop of Little Jack (Old Sawley Brewing Company) at just £3.
Food on a chalkboard, a restaurant type area out the back and just a good solid boozer. Ale fact fans will be pleased to know that The Cross Keys, apparently served DBA (Draught Burton Ale) when it was brewed by Ind Coope and still serves it now under its new guise from Burton Bridge Brewery.
It used to be an Ansells house back in the day but I reckon the current gaffer is doing a better job and there are more than enough houses in Tutbury to support this place for many years to come.