The Bulls Head in Repton and the Joiners Arms in Quarndon along with another couple in Walton and Wingerworth meant they had the whole Derbyshire market tied up with pizzas what’s wrong with Frankie & Benny’s alongside decent beer and affluent punters.
(Wednesday wander – you’ll recognise some of the names)
However, on my recent ‘Wednesday wander’ with my drinking buddy who was in his role as Martin (i.e. driving) and I was in my role as Si (i.e. drinking), we discovered that Berkeley Inns are slowly but surely taking over swathes of the Derbyshire countryside.
Before you start commenting in your thousands, hundreds, tens oh OK, before Russ comments on this and points out I’ve joined the Derbyshire bourgeoisie and become gentrified and Mudgie labels me as a Shoreditch denizen then I’ve got to state my case guvnor.
Firstly, these boozers are places Mrs BB would love to go to. Bearing in mind she is probably more representative of the modern world (not the one according to The Jam) then it looks as though these boozers are the future.
(that door is not for us apparently…read on)
Secondly, I’ve already been to a couple of their pubs, The Cock Inn in Mugginton and The Bluebell in Kirk Langley and have posted pretty good reports on both of them….although The Bluebell is due for a revamp, which arguably means it will lose the beermats and pubbiness it had when I visited.
Thirdly, the boozers they own are generally ones that have either (a) gone to the wall or (b) are going to the wall. I always maintain an open pub is better than a shut one (even a Farmhouse Inn) so you’ve got to give them praise.
Anyway, having started our night in The Great Northern we moved onto Dalbury Lees and 420 – The Cow DE6 5BE.
This is a prime example of a boozer that was formerly known as The Black Cow and struggling before being reopened by Berkeley Inns. Don’t get me wrong this is proper gastro as it advertises its boutique rooms and food as opposed to its range of beers, skittle alley and free jukebox on a Wednesday.
There aren’t many chimney pots in Dalbury Lees on the road to Ashbourne but this place was reasonably full with diners, couples and a bloke in a Mumford & Sons t-shirt eating olives at the bar.
We walked in through an open door and we had a short debate with the barmaid who pointed out that this was in fact the residents entrance and we were drinkers…we pointed out that we could walk back outside the pub and re-enter through the bar door but as the bar was about two feet way that didn’t seem like a good idea…
…Aside from that own goal the beer was excellent; Proper Job (St Austell) was one that Baggies fan Marty would have been pleased with and these boozers do sell decent ale.
We moved on to 421 – The Horseshoes DE6 5BJ which is in the hamlet of Long Lane and this is another boozer that has had a Berkeley inns name changes as it was previously The Three Horseshoes.
(more maps for Martin)
Advertising itself as “an Award Winning Gastropub, a place to eat, drink and unwind,” possessing “One of the Midland’s finest young chef’s Gareth Ward,” means you would expect the food to be good.
The barmaid here was great value and gave us a guided tour of all the low ceilinged rooms and the beer garden out the back but we reckoned the front one was as impressive as you would find anywhere.
Chuck into the mix a decent pint of Landlord (Timothy Taylor’s) and I have to say I enjoyed this boozer.
It was arguably the least full of three we visited but, for a Wednesday evening, had enough punters to make it more than viable and a mix of drinkers and diners.
Sometimes you need to throw off the shackles and enjoy boozers for what they are and with the news that Berkeley Inns have saved the historic Meynell Ingram Arms in Hoar Cross after it was shut for the best part of FIVE years…
…then they really are performing a worthwhile service to the community.
(too many opening hours to trouble the GBG…)
Keeping village boozers open, selling decent cask ale and offering the punters of Derbyshire and Staffordshire what they want.