And a nice Shipstones mirror for Alan Winfield today, as I get even closer to the Stapleford home of the great man.


I’m sure Alan has done virtually all of Ilkeston‘s 30 odd pubs. Quite a few closures of late, including the Brewery Tap, a pleasant but quiet micro.

Last year I wrote;

The new Beer Guide entry is a Wetherspoons, rather than a micropub (that will probably come in GBG17)”. 

And here it is;


I doubt I’ll go in a cheerier pub all year. You’d think Nottingham Forest had just been relegated or something. A cheery English pub is a wonderful thing.

Hello Duck

It was St George’s Day in the Burnt Pig (and possibly other places), so I wished them a happy St George’s Day. That gained me no discount on the (already cheap) beer, but I felt better for it.


Apart from the name, this is nothing like your average micro.  There’s four rooms, one of which I never found despite my nosiness.


I did find a treasure trove of memorabilia to match the Red Lion or the Dew Drop up the road.

And here’s the secret spot they’re saving for Dave when he visits in the summer.


It was bustling, but I found a seat near the bar.  That’s my idea of heaven.

I had a Black Maria from Gaol of Wirksworth (NBSS 3.5), and didn’t even begrudge the handled glass.

A cacophony of noise and a really mixed crowd, with all the talk of pork pies and the Joshua fight, or “The Battle of Jericho” as they called it here.  They called the result right too.

As I took my glass back the landlord said “Bless ya Duck“.  I could have been in Stoke.

Perhaps the rest of Ilkeston was in Stoke, or their holiday homes in Heanor, as the main shopping streets were virtually empty.  They’d been packed on the Saturday I visited.

Quieter in the Observatory too, though perhaps a Spoons decision to remove Bass was to blame. Never mind, they’d added a terrifyingly large range that stretched to Plum Porter, Citra and Exmoor, as well as the Road Crew that a group of lycra-clad cyclists homed in on.

Crushed avocado bagel and black coffee for me.

The town had come to life over lunch, most of it marching through South Street to the tune of “Galway Girl”.


A stroll round the attractive southern suburbs of the Hallams set me up for a quick look at a possible pre-emptive in the Crafty One, and every great town needs a craft bar.

This was a curates egg, whatever that is. A bit bare boards, high tables and low benches, but pleasingly busy with another mix of society you wouldn’t see in North London or Cambridge. Perhaps they were all escaping the brass band, with The Beatles playing at sensible volumes inside.

The keg line-up was “The Usual”, but the cask from Pentrich was a revelation.  Cool, pale and very hoppy in the style of that Newby Wyke Yamato I loved.


The beer, decor and overall feel is much to Mrs RM’s taste, though thankfully she didn’t search for the light fitting like this in Ikea. We know where that leads.



  1. I have done all pubs in Ilkeston over the years and it is the town where my pub crawling started,i was challenged along with my best mate to do all pubs in Ilson,that is what we call it round here,44 pubs at the time and we did the lot,virtually all Shippos,Kimberley and Home Ales tied houses.
    People in Ilson call Stapleford Stabbo like we all do in this area,Ilson had a very rough reputation in the 80s but got over it and then Stabbo took the crown for being the roughest town in the Erewash Valley.

    That is a nice photo of the market place which i know so well,the white building on the left is the Sir John Warren pub an ex Kimberley house,the small building to the right of it is the Scala cinema,the next building is the Kings Head an ex Shipstones house,next to that is the Queens Council a pub that opened in the 90s,i have never seen shakers open and next to that is the Market Tavern another ex Shipstones house.
    Four pubs and a cinema on one photo,well done Martin.

    On another note Ilson is a half and half town Forest or Scum,where as Stabbo is a Forest town you will never see scum shirts in our town.
    You are getting very close to my home,only a 15 minute ride on the 15 and you are there.


      1. Even i car’nt do 44 pubs in one day,but we did do it over a few days as i was on a three day week and my best mate was on the dole.
        The Brewery Tap has reopened and is now called Legs,a classy name for a pub,i spotted Doom Bar in there when i walked past a couple of weeks ago,it may even get to GBG status in a few years time as there are lots of Doom Bar drinkers out there.


    1. Alan, I am intrigued by the split between Forest and Derby fans, what you say makes sense with Stapleford being closer to Notts. Where do the Notts County fans live?


  2. There is also a handwritten piece of paper taped to the seat to the left just inside the door in the Great Western, Wolverhampton that reads, “Dave’s Corner.” Is he everywhere?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The old CAMRA “Derbyshire Ale” guide was rather sniffy about Ilkeston, saying:

    “With few exceptions, most of the pubs in Ilkeston are basic boozers, and most of the beer is served by electric pump. Only a handful of pubs sell beer from Burton, and only one of them sells real, the great majority selling Nottingham beers.”

    Sounds like a recommendation to me, though 😀

    In those days, the star pub was Ward’s Durham Ox, which also used electric pumps. Happy days!


    1. I have been in the Durham Ox too many times to say with my mate and the wife,the Wards Bitter was great,but typical of the GBG all Shippos,Home and Kimberley pubs not in the guide and the one Wards tied house was,the same went for Long Eaton,lots of Home Ales Shippos and Kimberley tied houses and the one that got in was The Tiger a Marstons tied house.

      Derbyshire and Scum have always had a bee in their bonnet about Nottingham over the years because Derbyshire lost its last brewery in the late 60s Offilers and was well *issed off that Nottingham still had three,i have that Derbyshire guide take a look at how sniffy they are at the Erewash Valley towns which are in Derbyshire but are more connected to Nottingham,hardly any Bass or Ind Coope and good heads on all beers.

      Liked by 2 people

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