Tag: pubs

Beeston Pubs of Today and Yesteryear

Renowned the world over, the great British pub is not just a place to drink beer, wine, cider or even something a little bit stronger, it is a unique social centre, very often the focus of community life in villages, towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of the country.

Pubs can be traced back to Roman taverns, through the Anglo-Saxon alehouse to the development of the tied house system in the 19th century. In 1393, King Richard II of England introduced legislation that pubs had to display a sign outdoors to make them easily visible for passing ale tasters who would assess the quality of ale sold.

Most pubs focus on offering beers, ales and similar drinks. As well, pubs often sell wines, spirits, and soft drinks, meals and snacks. The owner, tenant or manager (licensee) is known as the pub landlord or publican. Referred to as their “local” by regulars, pubs are typically chosen for their proximity to home or work. Beeston is and has for a long time been known for its great many public houses. It has been suggested that Beeston has one of the highest concentrations of pubs-per-person in the United Kingdom. The town has clearly a lot of public houses for locals to call at least one of them their “local”.

Pubs of Today

We will now turn to look at just some of Beeston’s existing pubs and have a look at a brief history of each establishment starting with The Jesse Boot. Known until very recently as The Greyhound, The Jesse Boot was built in 1741, one of the earliest owners were the Stone family who actually brewed on the premises. The present building was modernised in 1984. In the early 19th century in the days of the Industrial Revolution, it is said that Luddites called here and after raising the landlord from his bed to serve them refreshments, marched onto Nottingham to wreak their havoc. This Inn and the Durham Ox (now a Chinese Restaurant), were visited by Reform Act rioters in 1831. Having burnt down Nottingham Castle they marched to Beeston and caused the Silk Mill at Beeston the same fate.

The Last Post is a Wetherspoon’s chain pub which opened in 2000. It is situated in the building of the old Royal Mail sorting office and was adjacent to the town’s former post office. The Hop Pole is a local traditional community pub situated in Beeston. It is a very old, unspoilt pub dating back to 1870. With its lovely original beams and 2 fireplaces, this gives the pub a very warm, homely feel.

The building, on Church Street in Beeston, we now know of as The Crown probably became associated with beer sometime between about 1835 and 1841, although the building itself probably dates from about 1800. The Crown Inn traces its history back to a Mr Samuel Starr who can be recognised as the man who established the pub. He had been brewing beer on the premises since at least 1841. As a ‘common brewer’ he would have sold his beer to anyone wishing to purchase it for consumption at home.

The Victoria Hotel was built around 1839, named after Queen Victoria (1819-1901) – a popular monarch who is often featured on pub signboards. The pub is situated next door to Beeston Train station and like so many Victorian establishments was built to serve the passengers who used the station. In 1971 an eccentric landlord used to keep a small zoo at the rear end of the pub, as well as a python inside!! The collection included a puma, a lion, a leopard and a baboon.

The Star Inn located on Middle Street is an old Shipstones Pub. Not many people know that it has a connection with the television show Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Unlike many other pubs or bars used in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, The Star Inn is an actual pub used in the show, which fans can visit and have a drink. The pub featured in ‘The Return of the Seven – Part One’ episode, when Barry and Wayne take Pippa and Linda for a quick drink. Barry forgets the time, and ends up leaving his Fiancé Hazel and ‘The Wey Ling’. Dennis and Neville turn up in the Jag, and then Bomber, in a pink Ford Cortina.

Pubs of Yesteryear

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The Three Horseshoes, Middle Street, Beeston, May 1986. Photograph Credit: Reg Baker.

Quite a few of Beeston’s pubs have disappeared over time with a great majority closing in recent years. We will now look at some of these closed pubs.

The Royal Oak was situated on Villa Street, Beeston. This was a smallish Shipstones tied house in the centre of Beeston.  The Cow was situated on Middle Street, Beeston. This pub used to be called the Beech Tree Lodge and was one of the oldest pubs in Beeston. Tesco bought the pub and demolished it c. 2005 – the store was finally built 2010 and there is now a Tesco petrol station on what was the pub. The Three Horseshoes was situated on Middle Street. This was a Shipstones tied house. The pub was demolished to make way for a tram line.

Other pubs to have closed in recent years include the Prince of Wales which was located on High Road. Although the Durham Ox has not closed its doors it is no longer ran primarily as a ‘traditional pub’ and is now ran as a Polish restaurant.

JN

Not just coffee shops

Just over a year ago this fine magazine published a list of all the shops, pubs, restaurants etc in Beeston. This was an attempt to counter the local doom-mongers and naysayers running down Beeston on social media, in the pub, at the bus stop, or waiting outside the GU clinic.

Some amongst us feel the need to spread misery and negativity, with remarks such as the everyday whine ‘why would anyone want to come to Beeston?’ to the classic mantra ‘there’s nothing here but charity shops and coffee shops’.

The fact is that for a town of its size, Beeston does really well in terms of the number and variety of shops, pubs, restaurants and other attractions. Compared to other similar-sized towns on the doorsteps of major cities, we have a wealth of independent retailers to complement the usual high street chains. There follows a list of places in which to spend your hard-earned, be it on food, drink, clothes, furniture, musical instruments, jewellery, beauty treatments, pet food, wool, bicycles, fresh flowers, screwdrivers, candles, mobile phones etc.

A line had to be drawn somewhere, so whilst the businesses on Queen’s Road are listed, I haven’t included any of the great ones at the Chilwell Creative Corner. Also not listed are a lot of service providers like doctors, dentists, architects, estate agents, solicitors, podiatrists, opticians, banks, building societies, betting shops, pharmacies, funeral parlours, launderettes etc. Whilst there are a lot of great convenience stores and off licences to go round, they aren’t included either.

Since last year a few places have closed, but they almost all were replaced by something else fairly quickly. An interesting point to note is that throughout the UK pubs are closing for good at an alarming rate. In Beeston none have closed, in fact they are thriving. The Commercial has been refurbished and now does excellent curries, the Crown has had a makeover, two micropubs (Pottle of Blues and Totally Tapped) have opened their doors, and a very welcome addition is cocktail bar The Berliner.

If there’s any on here you’ve never heard of before, pay them a visit. Broadgate and the High Road in particular have some hidden gems which don’t benefit from as much passing trade.

Pubs/bars/entertainment
The Victoria
The Greyhound
The Malt Shovel
The Commercial
The Queens
The Cricketers
The White Lion
The Crown
The Hop Pole
The Last Post
The Chequers
The Bar
Victory Club
Pottle of Blues
Totally Tapped
Mecca Bingo
Admiral Casino Slots Experience

Food/drink
Hallams
L’Oliva
Out Of This World
Thorntons
Fresh Asia
Marhaba
Home Made Bakery
Greggs
Pick n Mix
Birds
Upper Crust Bakery
Meat 4U
Barnsdales Butchers
Jerry and Phil’s Healthy Bakery
Iceland

House and home/furniture
Blacklock Carpets
Kings Carpets
Fireplace and Stove Shop
Linen Box
Cameron House
Bargain Carpets
Eddy’s Bargain Beds and Furniture
Iguazu
Furniture Discount Store
Classique Interiors
Heidi’s Home Furnishings
Beeston Beds
Betel
Lifestyle Kitchens and Bathrooms
Bathtime
Auntie Gwen’s Attic
The Fabric Place/Curtain & Fabrics
Hicklings DIY
Applebees
Memory Lane
Floorcraft
Handybloke (Shed)

Clothing/footwear
Snuggles and Kisses
New Look
Peacocks
Bon Marche
Renaissance
Little Shoe Company

Restaurants/takeaways
The Frustrated Chef
Latinos
Local Not Global
Flying Goose Cafe
Milano Pizza
Gills Fish and Chips
Tastie Bites
Oriental Inn
King Cod
Cottage Balti
Granary
Cafe Roya
Yiannis
Ghurkha Express
SanchansSanchans
Sukho Thai
Nosh
The Food Bar
Amores
Chaman
Cafe 94
Chickenlicious
Dinos
Milk Lounge
Magic Taste House
Tasty Corner
Lobster Pot
Humber Road Chippy
Table 8
Edwards
Luckys
Hing Kee
Forno Pizza
Poppa Pizza
Pizza Palace
Pizza Zone
Papa Johns
Nimboo
Spices
Shama
Better Than Home
Pizza Hut
Korea House
Rye
KFC
Subway
Beeston Break
Big Fish
Hong Kong Takeaway
Ko Sing Takeaway
Shadab Balti

Coffee/Tea Shops
Bean
Time For Tea Vintage Tearoom
Costa
Rudyards
Greenhoods
MetroMetro
Caffe Nero
The Coffee Shop

Specialist retailers
The Guitar Spot
Ryman Stationers
Singer-Pfaff Sewing and Knitting
John Kirk Hi-Fi
The Flower Shop
Petsmart
Holland and Barrett
Artworks
Timpson
Yarn
Opus Frames
Electronic Cigarettes
Cheque and Buy Back Centre
Grainger Games
Money Shop
Cash Converters
Beeston Cobbler
Entertainment Exchange
Happy Daze
Refan Parfumerie
Tornari Sports
Pro-Teq Mobility
Chinese Medicine Centre
Parkgate Mobility
Max Spielman
Total Fitness
PH Ultra Sport
Cycle Inn (Sid Standard)
Chimera
Knit Bits
Pets Corner
Smarty Paws
Appliance Services
Beeston Plumbing Supplies
Rocky Riders
Pot n Kettle
Clock Emporium
Bookland
Charlie Fogg’s

Greetings/Gifts/Jewellers
Andrew McCulloch
Ideas
Onyx Goldsmiths
Diane’s Cabin
Two Little Magpies
House of Ashley Peake
ROK Jewellery
Card Factory
Cardzone

Hair and Beauty
Chess
Hairven
Levis
Mirror Mirror
Beauty by Vickie
Thredz
Trimmerz
Capelli
Intricut
Cutting Edge
Keiths
KH Hair
Eaton
Mint Hair Boutique
Brigitte Beauty Salon
Hair by Pam
Charleys Salon
Keith Benniston
PL Hair Design
Hair Company
Hairforce
Stephen Harrold
Square 17
Broadgate Barbers
Michael Stark
Beast On Ink
Capones
ID
Infinity Nails
Cutting It
ET Salon
Aurora Laser Clinic
Cast
Bronze
Pastiche
Five Star Nails
Hair by Neil
Peter Brady Hair
Euphoria Beauty

Charity shops
Sue Ryder
iScouts
Cancer Research UK
Rainbows
Oxfam
Oxfam Books and Music
Salvation Army
British Heart Foundation
Treetops Hospice
Barnardos
PDSA

Phone/Technology
Tele-box
Vodafone
Bubble IT
Carphone Warehouse
O2
Mobiles Plus
Dr Mobile

Large Chain retailers
Boots
WH Smiths/Post Office
Argos
Lidl
Tesco
Sainsburys

Travel
Cooperative Travel
Skills

Homewares
Poundmart
Poundland
B and M Bargains
Wilko
Home Bargains

Sporting
Puregym
Dojo
Warrior Martial Arts
Team Elite Kickboxing

The 2016 Beeston Pub Crawl: the conclusion

Last issue we took it upon ourselves in the name of cutting edge, hard-working journalism, to survey all Beeston’s pubs by drinking in them all.

Tough work, but we were up for it. Surprisingly, when the job of doing this Herculean task was put out, virtually every one of our volunteered. This doesn’t happen when you want someone to write about the Toton Sewage Reclamation Works.

We gave ourselves 9 hours, stuck to halves, and still couldn’t get round. You simply can’t do them all in one night. That is a pretty glorious thing.

Yet we are professional and thorough. We also like pubs. So this issue we decided to do the ones we never got round to….

THE CHEQUERS:

The Chequers was given a good fettling a while back, and is now a smart looking pub with decent ale, strangely all Scottish. The football (Wales vs Slovakia) is on, and the place is full of temporary Celts cheering on Bale and co. It’s a great place for a warm summer pint. Its new terrace is a fine suntrap and you can also smell the gorgeousness of Gill’s chippy next door. GOOD FOR: the tram (stop nearby); Scottish beer fans; Welsh football fans.

BEST QUOTE: “You can smell Gill’s from here” “You can smell girls?”

THE HOP POLE:

I swear this happened. As we walk in, Duelling Banjos, the redneck National Anthem, comes on the stereo. Jimmy Wiggins, our sometimes music writer and Hop Pole bar stalwart, finds this incredibly amusing. The Hop Pole is a long term favourite of The Beestonian for so many reasons; Karen the hugely respected landlady; Harvey the taciturn ginger pub cat; The music (live bands each week, plus a music festival and an annual song writing competition). We ask Wiggins why it’s his favourite pub: “It’s the only pub in the world where you can walk in for a pint and get given a car”. That doesn’t happen to us, but it has that element of chaos that the best pubs have. Hurray for the Hop! GOOD FOR: music, fans of pubs, decent ale, worryingly odd regulars.

BEST QUOTE: “Ainsley Harriot always struck me as a bit of a groper”

THE BAR:

As its name suggests, The Bar is a bar. Not a pub. Chrome, open, airy. The barman juggles with glasses and pours us a beer. An England match is about to kick off, so the place is rammed and loud. We find a comfy leather sofa on which to sip our ale, overseen by a huge painting of Brian Clough. This used to a bit of an intimidating place, a suburban Yates, but tonight it’s a good place to be as the excitement of the football builds. However, we have to move on. GOOD FOR: football; fans of Brian Golbey, country music legend who bafflingly chooses here as his local.

BEST QUOTE: “The Wurzels never struck me as the people who you’d like to have in charge of the UK’s food production”

THE COMMERCIAL:

Last issue The Commercial was closed with pessimistic predictions being made regarding its future. The general consensus was that a once great, long struggling pub would finally bow out and become a restaurant much like the Durham Ox. It recently reopened, so this is our first nosey round. As we walk in, the place has that saliva-triggering scent of Indian food; aromas of frying garlic, sweet coriander and rich cumin. Yes, it is a restaurant, but also a pub and it works really well. The place is organised well to offer the best of both worlds. Soon we can’t help but order and helpings of high quality, good value curry come rolling onto the table. This beats the usual pub fare by miles. Tucking into the most delicious garlic naan I’ve ever had makes the thought of ever having a Wetherspoons burger again completely disappear. Pub? Restaurant? Who cares. Beeston has a new gem in its pub treasure chest. GOOD FOR: Food. Utterly wonderful food. Service: we get double helpings of those post-food warm wet napkins to clean down our mucky chops.

BEST QUOTE: “I don’t do poppadoms. They’re like elephant scabs to me”

THE CRICKETERS:

Our last pub, our final hurdle, our stagger – literally – to the finish line. The Cricketers always seems like the last of the rough Beeston pubs, since the demise of The Prince of Wales and The Royal Oak. But it’s actually alright, good value beer, lively atmosphere (the England match is now in full swing, with England a goal up). Our table is a bit shaky and we’re lucky to catch our drinks before they spill on the tartan carpet, but y’know, horses for courses. The football finishes, stupidly loud music kicks in, and we finish our drinks. And with them the Great Beeston Pub Survey. GOOD FOR: Pool, proximity to Sainsbury’s, sport, hearing loss.

BEST QUOTE: Not a quote, but an anecdote involving one of our writers and a famous comedy sidekick. See the back page for more….

CONCLUSION: We’ve got a fine set of pubs. So fine, we’re now existing on a diet composed solely of Lucozade and Rennies.

LB, WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM ROOPAM, JOHN AND DARREN.

Dry Pub Crawl

I heard my Beestonian colleagues organising an epic pub crawl. Start at 3pm, they said – drink a half in each of the massive number of pubs, they said – wear matching t-shirts, they said. I cowered further down in my seat at each suggestion.

It’s all familiar, of course – I drank pints at Newcastle University in the 80s, after all. I remember the bravura, the ability to chat to strangers, repeated conversations feeling really funny. This continued in my work: hard play, hard approach to life. I remember (sometimes rather scarily) piecing together the fragments of incidents over the next few days to make sense of them: ‘she said WHAT?’, ‘he did WHAT?’, ‘I went WHERE?’ All great fun. But I often found it pretty competitive in some sense.

Nowdays I don’t drink. I stopped a few years ago when I considered my responsibilities outweighed my need for dizzy times and woozy sleep. It was hard at first, going against the grain of ‘normal’ expectations, suddenly aware of how much we are bombarded with invitations and coercion to participate. However, giving up sits comfortably with me – I don’t like any section of society asking me to conform to fit in. You might think a sober existence is really boring – but I think it’s quite rebellious!

But it’s difficult to enjoy the loud tutting from the bar staff when ordering two hot chocolates during a quiz night in a local pub

Even though I don’t drink alcohol, I do enjoy going out. I really enjoy going out. Being a bit older, I’m not good at late nights – but I love having a laugh, a gritty conversation, a bit of art, a bit of politics and a bit of gossip. I also like being around other people while they chat and drink and enjoy themselves.

So…why must I drink diet coke, sugary cordials, one of the stupid sodding fluorescent flavours of J2O or bloody Eisberg (or equivalent), in order to participate? There are ‘no alcohol’ beers, but every one I have tried had a horrible aftertaste – I think this is because I never liked beer in the first place! The choice in pubs is better than ever, of course – tea and coffee is freely available, though caffeine is not ideal late on (and what is the point of decaffeinated for goodness sake??). But it’s difficult to enjoy the loud tutting from the bar staff when ordering two hot chocolates during a quiz night in a local pub recently.

A quick poll of Beeston town centre pubs shows that most offer at least one alcohol free beer. I could not find one that offered alcohol free wine; in fact I was treated with derision in some pubs when I asked. I buy my wine to drink at home from a very successful Manchester company called The Alcohol Free Shop, which has been quietly winning all sorts of awards simply by looking for adult alternatives to alcoholic drinks – usually great tasting ‘proper’ wine which has the alcohol carefully removed, leaving a delicious ‘grown up’ product. They continue to expand their great range of products – with some excellent ‘no alcohol’ ciders and spirit substitutes.

It would be fantastic to find this sort of product available in Beeston’s great pubs – not just for Dry Januarys, but also for drivers who want to drink something interesting and people who want to cut back a bit without compromising on taste.

Meanwhile…when I met up with the other Beestonians during the crawl I spent a very amiable hour over a diet coke. There was no evidence of matching T shirts or pint drinking, merely a good natured celebration of our hospitable community. Excellent!

KA

Booze of the World

Often, the best way to take the pulse of a town is to check out its pubs. The health of these is the health of an area: if they are boarded up, run down, or too terrifying to enter, it’s a safe bet that the surroundings aren’t going to be great.

On that basis, Beeston is in rude health. We’ve long had a strong reputation for pubs: Beeston has often been mooted with having the highest density of drinkeries in the UK. We’re right by the source of the best water for ale in the world: the beer that the Trent is brewed into is world renowned. Of course, the only way to prove this is to go out there and get some hard-core journalism done: to visit every pub in Beeston to give a comprehensive picture of how we’re doing. You might have spotted us a few Saturdays ago, first strolling, then staggering, then crawling between pubs.

This isn’t the first time: four years ago The Beestonian, then a fledgling magazine, took a look round and printed up the results. We’d expected to register a decline, all these years over. We were surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

You’ll find the results inside. Pubs are famously under a hell of a lot of pressure, with greedy Pubcos and loss-leading booze in supermarkets just two challenges pubs must counter. How they do this was the most revealing part of the survey: rather than stay the same and slip into decline, they’ve diversified, changed what they offer and created a much stranger estate of boozers than ever before. Very few pubs are just straight forward pubs anymore, and the imagination, entrepreneurism and sheer verve of some were inspirational, and testament to the spirit of Beeston. We even found a new, albeit micro, pub had opened.

Also within you’ll find pages stuffed to the margins with stories, news and all things Beeston. This town does not sit still, making our mission to celebrate the place one we never take lightly. So if you see one of the team at the bar while reading this, they probably won’t say no to a pint. Cheers!

LB

The 2016 Beeston Pub Crawl

THE MARINA BAR

We start at 3pm. Five of us meet by The Trent under glorious sunshine. It’s not possible to get closer to the edge of Beeston than at the Marina and it’s a bit of a gem. This is the only pub in Beeston in which you feel like you’re on holiday. It might be something to do with being surrounded by mobile homes and static caravans, or its proximity to water. Its décor is nautically themed; ship’s wheel mounted on the wall, the bar studded with port holes. The weather tempts us out onto the waterfront terrace, to look over at Clifton Grove and the fields. This bucolic joy lasts all of thirty seconds, before a hail-storm appears and forces us back inside, but the barmaid runs out to dance in it. Respect.

GOOD FOR: bhajis, cheap ale, raffles, great location.

BEST QUOTE: “I did a Beeston pub crawl once. Ended up stopping traffic outside the Charlton Arms”. – Barmaid

BOAT AND HORSES:

We’d heard a lot of good stuff about here: renovated after being a bit tired for years. Sunday roasts are to die for apparently. But this is Saturday, and we’re here for beer, and a good choice is presented to us. Another great summer pub: the hail eases into sun so we sit in the beer garden. An indie band rehearse in the spacious function room. The staff are really welcoming, there is a huge heap of vinyl to browse and buy, and the beer is decent. We’re almost tempted to stay for more than one half, but time is moving on, and our mission can’t slacken off.

GOOD FOR: Beer, food (so we hear), rehearsal space, people with kids: the vast garden can distract them while you focus on drinking the ace beer.

BEST QUOTE: “There is a real problem right now, and the reason that I refuse to buy balloons. That problem is a paucity of helium”. – Tom Roberts

JOLLY ANGLERS

We’ll be honest. We were a bit nervous going here. We’d heard rumours it was a bit rough, a bit unfriendly. But journalism has to be fearless, so we ventured in, Bernstein and Woodward watching over us. And we’re glad we did. The beer was decent, the welcome friendly and the place a smartly turned out, light and airy surprise.

GOOD FOR: Football fans, especially Forest; the 18 bus (between every hour and every six weeks, depending on the vagaries of Trent Barton).

BEST QUOTE: Our notes don’t show any, but we all recall something amusing was said about crisps.

 

THE PLESSEY CLUB

We’re joined by another, ahem, surveyor, Chris at this point. We were enthusiastic about it in our 2012 survey, and do like to drop in when we can. A sprawling venue with snooker rooms, meeting rooms and a full on bar. Talking of fans, a massive one hangs from the ceiling, making you feel in a bizarre cross between a 1970’s Working Men’s Club, and Singapore Raffles Hotel, about a century ago. Dead comfy, warm, utterly unpretentious, with cheap beer. It’s a shame we have to move after a single drink. We urge you to give it a visit.

GOOD FOR: Value, space, lack of pretension, fans of fans.

BEST QUOTE: “I want to get a mollusc hip-hop band together, and call it the Wu Tang Clam’. You had to be there.

THE VICTORIA

Victoria! So sang the Kinks after a brief visit to Beeston in the sixties. Over the years many more have sung its praises. Traditional décor, sublime food and a colossal range of beers, whiskies and obscure New Guinean pineapple liquors (probably). It was seen as the only really decent pub in Beeston, and attracted people from miles around to try its burritos and beer. The Vic continues to do great business and good food, which we sample (journalism is tough, we indulge so you don’t have to). Its success has spread through Beeston: the stripped down focus on good beer/good food has travelled well and changed Beeston boozers for the better.

GOOD FOR: Train spotters (engines hammer constantly), foodies, CAMRA types, good staff.

BEST QUOTE: “I work in Philadelphia sometimes. A really good place” – Chris. “I like Philadelphia. Well, the cheese” – John

THE QUEENS

It’s Possibly Beeston’s remotest pub (apart from The Nurseryman that doesn’t count). We arrive at 6:50. The A-board outside proclaims “DISCO: 7PM”. Ah. Karen, our teetotal correspondent, and Ric our foot-blistered distribution chap and anagram wizard join us. It’s a small compact pub, well priced and, being on the first floor, has a pleasantly detached quality. It was bombed in WWII after the Luftwaffe got it wrong and missed Boots, but was swiftly rebuilt, and has steadily gone about its business since. To our surprise we have another drink. This might be down to the hammering rain that has appeared, and the seemingly huge distance to our next pub. Or it could be down to the disco starting, and the older members of the party finding Sabrina’s ‘87 classic ‘Boys Boys Boys’ is provoking some beer-inspired toe-tapping. But into the evening, and the monsoon, we must go. ONWARDS!

GOOD FOR: Disco fans; nostalgia, mountaineers.

BEST QUOTE: During a heated discussion on how this might be the highest pub in Beeston, Prof J (co-founder of The Beestonian and geography academic) decides to settle the matter once and for all “Right. I’m off home and getting my GPS’. He doesn’t.

THE MALT SHOVEL

We arrive soaked and drunk. Will this dampen our critical faculties? NEVER! Roopam, our correspondent on all things parenting, joins us for a night off from parenting. Tom is effusive about the burgers here, but we’re still too stuffed from the Vic to try them. It’s a decent pub, handy for the town centre and the beer is good. Chris is particularly complimentary of the American IPA. The wallpaper, a giant ancient map of England, particularly pleases Prof J.

GOOD FOR: Burger fans, map fans, being near to Sainsburys.

BEST QUOTE: When Roopam arrives, and walks over, Prof J gives her a startled double-take. “You look after my kid.” Roopam runs a local nursery. She replies, “Not tonight I don’t.”

THE GREYHOUND

There has been a lot of uncertainty about the Greyhound over the past few years. However it recently was taken over by the dedicated Rob Balmer who is working hard to bring it back to its past glories. It looks like he’s off to a flying start: the place is busy. We’re fittingly joined by our music editor Lulu. She is a massive fan: while we have a good amount of places putting on live music, no one does it quite as loud, so rocky, as The Greyhound.  We salute you, Rob, and all that rock hard with you. Especially the bloke in the denim jacket at the bar, which has the word ‘FISTULA’ stitched on the back.

GOOD FOR: Rock Fans, live music fans, people who would see watching X -Factor as less preferable than eating their own feet.

BEST QUOTE: “WHAAAAT? WHAAAATTTT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU. WHAAAATT?”

RYE

Is the erstwhile Belle and Jerome really a pub? Since its new incarnation last year, with a stronger focus on the evening market, we reckon so. Plus, we’re on the menu. Yes, really. A piece about the etymology of Beeston that our history editor Joe wrote a couple of years ago now adorns the menu and the walls. We like that. We don’t like the realisation that we’re only half way round the survey, and are having difficulty pronouncing words of more than three syllables. Craft beers and good wine mean this place isn’t cheap, but you’re drinking quality here. It’s well lit, the DJ spins some decent choons, and the staff are cheerful. I pass my notepad round for everyone to write a comment in. The following comes back: “Classy” “Aye yai lai Rye” “FEELS LIKE LONDON” “I like bricks” “DJ TASTIC” “I‘m underdressed” “I feel WEIRD”. That and a drawing I can’t describe, but is elaborately attempted nonetheless.

GOOD FOR: Sophistication, good booze, late nights (license until 1am); you can go back in the morning and try the Eggs Hemingway.

BEST QUOTE: “Craft ale. Craft ale. What is craft ale? Until that question is answered, I will have another.”

POTTLE OF BLUES

The last thing we expected when planning this survey was a new pub. Refurbs, yes. Closures, definitely. But an actual NEW pub? That bucks all trends. Admittedly, it’s a micro-pub, and right now only fits a couple of dozen. It is the ultimate pragmatist in what a pub should do: the beer drops straight from the cask, the staff are ace and it’s more like someone having an open-house party than a pub. The tininess encourages chat and before long you’re all pledging lifelong friendships. It has been only open a week when we visit, but is rammed. As we’re now a burgeoning party of 9, our collective entry is tight, but somehow we manage our halves and pottle on to the next pub.

GOOD FOR: Ale fans, friendly people.

BEST QUOTE: “Oh hell. I best get the jugs out” – Jen the landlady upon seeing us all enter

 

THE LAST POST

Ah, the Past Lost, where you can easily lose all memory of your prior existence after a few ales. It’s a Wetherspoons but perhaps the one closest to the heart of ‘Spoons Head Honcho Tim Martin. He was once a resident of Beeston and according to local legend, came up with the concept of Wetherspoons after an unsatisfactory night at The Durham Ox. “I could build a better pub!” he apparently exclaimed. I relate this tale to the straggled army of Beestonian surveyors as we nurse our admittedly cheap drinks. By now, nobody really knows what we are drinking. It’s bizarrely quiet, but a member of staff reassures us: “You should see it at breakfast”. We collectively know that won’t happen, especially tomorrow. We’re late in the day, well behind schedule, and taking casualties: designer Dan, who makes our mag look pretty, and draws The Beest, has to retire. This is not good.

GOOD FOR: Cheap stuff. It’s a chain, but it’s reliably ok. Early-door drinkers. Ah, it’s a ‘spoons. You know.

BEST QUOTE: “Tim Martin came up with the idea of Wetherspoons to build the best pub in Beeston.” “When d’ya reckon that will happen?”

THE CROWN

Like supine royalists, we bow down to The Crown. Once such a chaotically mad pub, it threw out its brewery and crap landlord and replaced them with just what Beeston needed: an indie that gave a damn about its clientele. While the Vic gave Beeston inspiration to make pubs better, the Crown stuck a rocket up its arse. A success from day one, it has never not been anything other than excellent. It’s packed when our team stumble in, and it’s hard to read the subsequent notes we took. But if we need to convince you to go down to The Crown, then you’re probably not really into pubs anyway.

GOOD FOR: Come on now. If you like pubs, you’ve been to The Crown. 

BEST QUOTE: “Muaghh. Arghhh. Ahhhh bah hum gahhhh” (according to our notes).

THE WHITE LION

Our notes are sparse now, as holding a pen became too challenging. Yet we salute the White Lion for many reasons: it is the most excitingly diverse pub in town. Under the exuberant stewardship of landlord Sergio, it has become a pub like no other: part art-gallery, restaurant, grill, cinema, story-telling centre, Hungarian night club, poetry venue, and much more. Things are looking tight. Prof J has deserted us just 7 hours after he first threatened to do so. The rest of us are by now decidedly shaky. Cocktails are ordered, despite our rules to just have a half in each pub. It’s late. We have to press on. Yet as we suck on our straws and let fine tastes flood our gobs, we seem to forget this.

GOOD FOR: You name it. It’s both cosmopolitan in outlook – where else can you get a Hungarian starter, a Brazilian main and a Portugese custard tart in one meal? Sergio is one of the nicest people in Beeston, and the staff are similar. Just go there, ok?

BEST QUOTE: “What’s Portuguese for ‘help I think my liver just melted’?”

THE STAR

It’s nearly midnight. We have four more pubs to do. We have failed, but manage to cross The Star off, by a whisker, ordering a round just on the clang of the bell. Numbers are hazy now. I try a head count but find this isn’t ideal when you’re seeing double. After a huge refit The Star became very much a fixture of Beeston. Damien, the guy behind its rebirth, has a knack of taking old pubs that have long stumbled by, and turning them into something ace. Fans of Stapleford’s Horse and Jockey will know what I mean. We’re big fans.

GOOD FOR: Ale, beer gardens (claims to be the largest in Beeston), the Tardis (it’s similarly massive inside); Austin (Beeston’s most prolific barman: he’s wowed the crowds at The Vic, The Crown and now here, over the years).

BEST QUOTE: “So let’s all set up an off-shore tax haven on Barton Island.”

….and that’s it. We simply can’t finish off, so The Cricketers, The Bar, The Chequers* and The Hop Pole can’t be surveyed.

We are a ragged bunch as we are turned out onto the cold streets. Someone suggests further drinks at their place, and some hardy boozers obligingly follow. However I have a book of notes to get home and transcribe and I can barely feel my legs. The one thing we do all agree on though is that we are dead lucky to have so many pubs and of such diversity and quality. We failed to get to four pubs. Many towns feel lucky to just have four pubs, let alone four more than can be visited in a nine hour trip.

As for the missing pubs? Well, we’re just going to have to soldier on and do them for our next issue. I know, I know. This journalism thing is just dedication and hard work, isn’t it?

The Beestonian does not condone irresponsible drinking. No animals were hurt in the making of this survey. If anyone has seen the bits of our party we lost between The Crown and The White Lion, please bring them back to Beestonian Towers after giving them a good hose down.

*The Chequers is in Chilwell, we know. However we decided to use it to replace The (technically in Beeston) Nurseryman, as it has more contiguity with Beeston. And we’re lazy.

 

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