Today’s #throwback, whilst we are in lockdown, is back in February 2018 to an era where professional football was actually played!
A cracking city centre locals style boozer that even has an original Baseball Ground turnstile in it’s smoking area!
Opening picture is another in a series of 1970’s beermats that has no relevance to the blog but I’m currently displaying on my twitter feed to pass away the time…
If you like football, like football pubs and have a vision of what a local boozer should look and behave like, then I have found the boozer for you.
164 – The Neptune DE1 2HR is an absolute corker of a pub that even describes itself on its Facebook page as The Neptune – Home of DCFC Fans and it is definitely a football pub.
For instance they ran a recent ‘fun bus’ for the ‘fun’ away trip to Millwall and any pub that celebrates St. George’s Day like this clearly knows how to drink!
You can find it on The Osmaston Road in the city centre and I reckon its success must be down to the gaffer.
(As you walk in the entrance)
A feller called Steve Kirk has been running it for over 20 years and it shows, as there is a really good spread of locals and they are clearly a ‘local’ in the city centre as they raised £14,000 for the British Legion which isn’t the norm for city centre pubs.
Apparently, when he became the landlord 20 years ago it was struggling and had some dodgy punters but it knows its target audience and has them fully on board.
Derby old boys Nigel Callaghan and Craig Ramage are at the boozer tomorrow apparently for an impromptu Q&A, whilst I was given a loyalty card…
when I bought a very quaffable pint of Pedigree (Marston’s)…
just seven more to go (inside six days) before I get a freebie!
There were around 15 people in when I called in at 1.30 on a Thursday but there was plenty of laughter and one bloke was clearly under the cosh outside the pub with his better half haranguing him over shopping duties, but he managed to persuade her to allow him to have a pint with his pal!
(Bloke in suit celebrating no shopping duties at bar!)
Racing UK was on all three televisions inside and they also have one in the smoking area, which is an absolute shrine to Derby County. They also show SKY and BT so it’s definitely a place to watch sport and, if you wanted to, you could stand behind a bona fide Baseball Ground turnstile whilst drinking your pint!
I had a chat with one of the regulars outside and he is the sort of bloke you just wouldn’t see in an upmarket city centre pub.
I don’t mean that in a negative way but a real salt of the earth bloke who is happy and almost proud to chat about ‘his’ pub and he told me that this turnstile was brought for around £200 and some of the regulars plonked it in this outdoor drinking/smoking area when it was covered in snow.
The mural opposite (above) was also drawn ‘free hand’ by a local artist who took his time over it as the locals were chatting to him and he was also getting free food whilst he painted!
There was homage to Steve Bloomer (one for you there Mudge)
and various memorabilia from The Baseball Ground – including seats – whilst he said it was absolutely jam packed whenever Derby played, so last night’s game against Leeds was standing room only. It was also heartening to see a local boozer that recognised those no longer with us with a plaque.
Inside there is plenty to look at as well on the walls with signed shirts, a jukebox, an England 1970 World Cup squad football coin collection…(surely the best England team never to win the World Cup)
…a big picture of Dave Mackay, and the obligatory DCFC dartboard…
and I noticed The Neptune are part of the Derby Sunday Darts League, which is always a good sign of a genuine local boozer.
It’s positioned by the exit to the toilet door so I reckon it could be fun when fixtures are going on! (However, there is an alternative exit so a bit of journalistic licence there).
This is definitely a case of a gaffer moulding a pub into the style he wants and making a roaring success of it.
Derby’s probably a small enough city to make a ‘local’ pub work but there is surely scope for other city centres to have classic style pubs such as this.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure if you walked in there with a Nottingham Forest shirt on (Alan!) when it was a Derby v Forest game you might be in for a rough ride but, I’m pretty sure, any other time you would be welcomed with open arms.