In Defence Of Greene King: A Very Thirsty Horse At The Paddock

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Greene King comes in for a fair bit of flak for their stock of boozers and range of beers but, when you look at the alternatives; then it isn’t always bad.

Like Mitchells & Butlers and Marston’s they have a variety of boozers in different guises in which they try to cater to different markets.

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The Hungry Horse chain doesn’t carry a huge amount of kudos amongst the PUB (Pub Union of Bloggers) fraternity and it’s safe to say if you want a ‘kid free’ experience they won’t be in anyone’s Top 10.

Nonetheless, I am putting my head above the parapet and saying I have found a more than decent Hungry Horse in Breadsall, Derbyshire. 296 – The Paddock DE21 4AW, which is situated just off the A61 in Derby has been there since 1987 and is definitely a locals ‘estate’ type pub that is filling a niche.

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Apparently, it underwent a ‘back to basics’ John Major style refurbishment around 16 months ago…

…and it was full when I popped in with my lad for a bite to eat and a pint on a Sunday at around 5pm.

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Unlike a lot of ‘Hungry Horse’ pubs I’ve  drunk in this one definitely had the feel of a boozer where you could buy food.  First up, there are two rooms and the back room has a definite sign – Over 18’s only – and there is a pool table, the obligatory Brian Clough Derby County quotes

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and bench seating.

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There is also Sky Sports on an array of screens with both the golf and Scotland’s inevitable defeat to Portugal being shown and I reckon the locals of Breadsall will come in here for a pint.

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It looked that way as there was quite a lot of teenagers/twentysomethings having a beer and a fag outside whist there were couples and older groups of lads in the bar area whilst an abundance of families in the eating area with their cheap and cheerful grub.

There were tunes pumping out that must have been new as I didn’t know any of them (!) and a real Halloween theme around the boozer, which shows that someone cares enough to make an effort.

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It had cask ale GK IPA and Abbott as well as Punk IPA so it is hitting all the cask/craft targets along with beermats, food and live sport means it is pretty much covering all bases.

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I had a very good pint of IPA Smooth (Greene King) which I’ve never seen before and my lad’s food did what it said on the tin…

Breadsall and nearby Chaddesden aren’t overrun with pubs so this is clearly here to stay.  Sometimes, It’s easy to be a beer/pub snob and forget that most people don’t travel miles for a beer, but want something on their doorstep.

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The Paddock ticks all the boxes of a proper estate pub and offers cask/craft and keg…what more could you want?  Eighties build pubs are going to become the new retro…

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In other news…I’m off to sunny Spain for a holiday so blogging duites will resume in a week’s time… Adios!

 

21 thoughts on “In Defence Of Greene King: A Very Thirsty Horse At The Paddock

  1. Doesn’t alter the fact that they buy breweries and close them down. (Moreland, Ruddles, Hardy & Hanson for starters) and also buy pubs and run them down because they don’t know what to do with them (list is too long for here). But yeah, they know how to run quick turnaround cheap food pubs…

    In sunny Spain, your beer will probably be crap but they’ll probably serve it in the right glass for the product…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All good points colston and having seen bonnie prince, golden pheasant (as it was) and the Merlin then they aren’t really boozers…this one felt slightly different and someone could probably make a better go of it but it sold craft/cask/keg and appealed to a lot of people (on that day) not sure what was there before but better than not?

      Like

  2. The best GK pubs are those who have the minimum number of GK ales on. The better ones tend to have some long term consistency in terms of management.

    I don’t think Punk IPA qualifies as ‘Craft’ anymore, neither. It’s distinctly mainstream, but then again I’d defy anyone to properly define ‘Craft’, it means many different things to different people.

    I am predicting that the majority of mainstream pubs will tend towards selling kegged Smooth, Lager, Craft, Cider and Stout variants only and proper cask, along with real cider, will be niche products that will have to be sought out (Although real cider has never progressed beyond a niche product to be fair).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best GK pubs are those who have the minimum number of GK ales on. The better ones tend to have some long term consistency in terms of management.

      Very true in my experience. My recent trip north of the border saw me in several Belhaven (so GK) pubs that were actually quite good, and I’m often the first to whinge about GK.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. But what’s the point of being a brewery that doesn’t have its own beers on, and feels obliged to have (better) beers from competitors. That’s like Pizza Hut selling Big Macs and dropping garlic bread off the menu. Everards are similar (even before they outsourced the brewing).

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s interesting how late Sunday afternoons, once a time when pubs were shut by law, have now in many places become one of the busiest sessions of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Like Mitchells & Butlers and Marston’s they have a variety of boozers in different guises in which they try to cater to different markets.”

    And that’s not a bad thing. 🙂

    “Over 18’s only”

    Over here, most restaurants will have a ‘lounge’ area that is exactly the same thing.

    “the obligatory Brian Clough Derby County quotes”

    LOL. First time seeing those. They are classic quotes. 🙂

    “and I reckon the locals of Breadsall will come in here for a pint.”

    Love the quote on the glass in the photo below. 🙂

    “but want something on their doorstep.”

    I would kill for a decent pub on my doorstep. 🙂

    “In other news…I’m off to sunny Spain for a holiday so blogging duites will resume in a week’s time… Adios!”

    Good! (partly because I’m about a week behind in catching up with my ‘half dozen regulars’. 😉

    Bon Voyage!

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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