I can sense that the excitement of mine and John’s Zig Zag six quid bus ticket ride is reaching fever pitch after two blogs covering three of Derbyshire’s finest boozers.
Not only that but there was also a legendary book shop in Cromford, foaming pints in Matlock Bath and the prospect of more to come…
Of course, before I go on, I MUST note Manchester City’s Caraboa Cup victory over Villa. I only mention this of course because I know how happy Martin will be.
There is absolutely no ulterior motive around me suggesting Birmingham City are the only team in the West Midlands to win a major trophy this century.
(one of many at The Belper Tap)
No, I just know that if Martin is happy then he will visit more obscure Micropubs that are open for around nineteen minutes per week and not get too upset
(saving this one for #NationalBassDay2020)
Anyway, having jumped back on the 6.1 from Matlock Bath we ended up at Belper Bus Station again and headed out towards a new addition 543 – The Belper Tap DE56 1AZ.
Belper is fantastic and has become more gentrified over the years but is still fiercely independent with a town centre full of niche shops, a cinema and lots of local businesses.
‘The Gateway to the Peak District’ as it is now known has plenty of boozers already but an entrepreneur has found a gap in the market and decided there is room for one more.
It’s on Bridge Street, over the road from The Devonshire and the gaffer was in great form when we strolled in.
As you can tell from his arm he’s a geezer not to be messed with but not only does he spend a bit of time in the gym, he’s a top class raconteur and has done a magnificent job in converting the former Barakah Indian Restaurant.
He’d turned it round in six weeks and it has been open for around eight whilst he has clearly done a great job on the décor and it was pristine and clean.
Not only that but it also had two toilets and he reckoned that was crucial to its success as, after a chat with his other half, she reckoned people haven’t returned to pubs if the loos were minging and he is right.
He also knows his beer and had previously worked in the brewing industry, is good at DIY and a top class front man so all the ingredients are there for a top pub.
He’s got the mix right as there were a pair of couples sitting there having a drink of beer, three ladies that drink wine and a bloke was on his own in the corner necking beer and reading a book.
The beer was hoptastic and I had a 2/3 of one of the IPA’s (Retox) on this beer board!
A good place and I reckon it will do well as it has a gaffer that clearly wants to succeed and in area crammed full of boozers has found a niche.
Mind you, there is still plenty of room for old skool pubs in Belper too…
…and our next port of call was 544 – The Nags Head DE56 1GD, which is on the originally named High Pavement.
(apostrophe drama for Russ)
This was a pub I could imagine Mudgie and the boys feeling right at home in on a Beer & Pubs Forum Big Day Out.
A jukebox with some seventies and eighties guitar tunes on, two rooms and a good atmosphere with plenty of people just chewing the fat.
After a hop frenzy we needed a bit of BBB and Dirty Tackle (Wychwood) was one of those seasonal rugby specials but actually in fantastic nick.
This was probably my pint of the day and it was a great example of the old and the new in the pub world and how there is room for both in a town like Belper.
Five pubs and chips with gravy (in Cromford) was the damage so far but there were other options in Belper before heading to the Bus Station to make sure we got full value for money on the Zig Zag Duo…