Is this the best darts’ pub in the Midlands? Actually, I probably need to speak to my PR dept. as I should be using words like the planet as opposed to the Midlands as it is far more eye catching but, you get the gist.
I’m sure ‘The Other Martin’ and Matthew will have something to say on that as Stoke has provided us with Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and the late great Crafty Cockney, Eric Bristow also lived there.
He ran a boozer called the Crafty Cockney in Smallthorne (a less salubrious version of Hartshill) and helped find Phil Taylor so, Stoke has some good credentials.
But Swadlincote, or to be more precise the centre of Britain and a suburb of Swadlincote, Midway (hence the name) also has good earthy credentials.
Ex mining town like Stoke, so it still retains that close knit community feel through its boozers, and there are dartboards aplenty in pubs.
However, I have never seen four in one boozer before, but that was the sight that greeted me in 451 – The Midway Inn DE11 7ND.
The gaffer was a cracking bloke and I enticed him from the oche to serve me a very decent pint of Pedigree (Marston’s) for the princely sum of £3.05 and he was
almost the perfect host.
I say almost perfect as he confessed early to being a Villa fan! But his banter was of the highest order and, like all sensible football fans, it’s just a bit of a craic and not to be taken seriously (note to buffoon who ran on the pitch at St Andrew’s last year).
Alan Lowe is the gaffer’s name and in a half hour conversation I learned lots about this pub and the Trent Valley Darts League.
Oh yes, The Midway Inn are currently riding high at the top of the table and Alan is positioned just outside the top 500 players in England so he is no mug.
I’m still pushing for darts as an Olympic sport but, as yet, Seb Coe hasn’t buckled under my lobbying although I reckon a few Blatter style tactics might see me gain ground.
Anyway, the 52-year-old is flying as he currently top of the singles victories charts, second in the 100+ table and third in the highest checkout as well as reaching the last 32 in the BDO English Open in the not too distant past.
He’s clearly a man who likes his arrows and his football, which is a winning formula for any boozer. There are fixtures on Monday and Tuesday and they have four teams’ which means there is always a crew of darts players drinking every week in the boozer.
He has even ditched the pool table to give him four dartboards as he reckons darts players make more of a social event and therefore it’s a better night.
In case you think I’m making all of this up (most of the stuff on this blog is) then it can be found on The Trent Valley League website here.
He’s definitely not a one trick pony though and holds event such as a Christmas dominoes tournament with the grand final on Boxing Daye evening when the boozer shuts at 9 to the public and only the competitors and supporters are in!
He loves his football and was waxing lyrical about the Villa’s chances next season after a Fulham style spending spree and we all know how well that worked out….
A Worcester lad he says the banter is fierce with Derby/Man U and Wolves fans in his boozer and this is a classic local boozer.
It’s on the A511, which is beginning to rival Russ’ favourite A514 route for good boozers, but has thousands of chimney pots tucked away off the main drag so plenty of potential punters.
And he plays to his audience and adopts a policy Martin would love. They sell Pedigree as their ale and is shifts by the bucketload. Less is more at this place as the beer was good and Alan reckons he has a group of old boys who come in on the dot seven nights a week at 10pm and drink Pedigree.
They sell food but aren’t a food led boozer so he reckons he’s better off serving a quality well-kept ale that people will drink as opposed to five or six average ones.
I need some of the real beer aficionados to help me here as he reckons most pubs get through 9 (barrels?) in a week but they shift 18 of Pedigree, which means it sells well and therefore has good turnover etc. etc.
It was about 2pm on a Thursday afternoon and only a couple of other older boys were in, hi but they all knew the gaffer and he is a larger than life character.
Good standards too as a lad came in and Alan refused to serve him and told him to get on his way as he “stunk of drugs.”
The pub itself is an open plan local’s boozer that has been there since 1964 and was apparently built on the site of an old factory.
Quite apt really in a town that would describe itself as industrial in making sure old buildings are still utilised – a forerunner of a Micropub if you like!
I left after half an hour with one of the best pub gaffers since I’ve started blogging who made you feel at ease and I reckon this place gets very lively of an evening.
I’m not going to challenge him to a darts game though as this could be the best darts boozer on the planet (in the world to anyone over 40).