I can’t say I’m a big fan of pandas. Very fussy eaters, hopeless at reproduction and then we all have to worry about them because they look good as soft toys. Similarly I’m not a big supporter of saving crap pubs from extinction.
However there are few greater joys than seeing a pub coming back from the dead, returning to greatness or just doing what it does so well. Strolling in the Peak District tropics along the Monsal Trail heading to Litton it was difficult to imagine there was much wrong in the world. It’s a long time since my mate Andy and I knocked back fizzy pints in the poly bar at 18p a time but good drinkers are always good to walk with. (Included in that description are Mrs WM and Mrs RH our walking companions for the day. He says in fear of his life.)
The Red Lion at Litton has had its patches of ‘less than wonderful’ but with a new tenant at the helm for the last 3 years it’s back to being pub perfection. A former regular greeted us from the other side of the bar, happy in her work. This was going to be a good lunchtime.
Abbeydale’s Absolution was in top form, and Peak Ales’ Bakewell Best Bitter & Hartington Bitter from Whim were just as good according to the rest of the gang. The nosebag was perfect with my Derbyshire meze of local pork pie, chips and salad providing a solid day’s calorie intake.
The Bull’s Head at Youlgrave has over the last 8 months been closed, open, closed and open. Thankfully it now has permanent tenants. In just a short time it’s become the hub of the village. A place to go for a pint and a chat if that’s what you want. Music nights, fundraising quizzes, and tenants who care about the people in the village. Of course it helps that the beers (Marston’s family including Wainwright’s and Shipyard) are consistently good and the food is spot on.
And last of all a pub that’s never failed to impress…The Crispin at Great Longstone. I’ve never been a big fan of Robinson’s but of late they seem to have made an effort with Trooper (thanks to Bruce and the boys) and my pints of Double Hop IPA were well up to scratch. Also it has very good food and a recent refurbishment hasn’t changed the character of the pub. All of this fades in comparison to the landlord. Over the years he’s never failed to welcome us and chat when folk are ready. I can think of few pubs where the welcome is so good and so sincere.
There’s nowt so good as a good pub except perhaps a very good landlord/landlady.