Bit of a cheat, putting a pub in my Top 100 (373) when I only had a pint of water and Si’s dregs (which would make a great name for a beer).

But Makeney’s Holly Bush could just serve Peroni and you’d still want to drink there.

All very well you having Bass beermats…

In case you’re paying attention, I did drop Si and Mark at the Spotted Cow (aka Spotted Calf café) in Holbrook, which you’ll recall I’d ticked off a week (77 posts) ago.

To be honest, it seemed more pubby on a Saturday afternoon than on the Sunday, and Si failed to annoy a Twild.


There’s another pub in Holbrook I may have mentioned before.  Soon, I will attempt to capture the magic of the Dead Poets for you. Honest.

Magic awaits
GBG stickers, including rare 1982 “includes Holland” edition

The Holly Bush has a similar feel to the Poet’s, from pashminas to poodles to Pedi.  It really is a village pub, not a museum piece.

Oooh, craft sneaking in

The snack board says “Classic” as much as the beer list.  If I hadn’t had that pie in Bargate I’d have succumbed to the “Snack Special“.

Proper food

On a previous visit I remembered a packed pub and a marvellous conservatory,

Potential for distraction by table football

so well done Mark for nabbing the best seat in the house, next to the serving hatch.

Magic view
Not for any of us, sadly

It was just wonderful, and not at all preserved in aspic like some of those National Trust pubs can be.  Actually, the best comparator for any of you unlucky enough to live in the South would be the Queen’s Head in Newton, but that’s just a bit more aware of its legendary status.

Easy to get lost


We were joined by a normal looking couple who seemed a bit scared by our intense pubby conversation, or perhaps it was BRAPA.  Speaking of whom, I didn’t see him sneak any food into the pubs. Hope he’s alright.

The natural froth on the lads’ Pedi settled, they sighed contendly, I sneaked a sip of their dregs and judged it “lovely”.


Not that Mr Coldwell will ever be convinced, mind.

10 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS – THE HOLLY BUSH, MAKENEY

    1. LAF,
      Fantastic indeed.
      My four days in Derbyshire last month didn’t allow for the pubs between Derby and Matlock and so I shall probably be back quite soon.


  1. Good pub, in an often overlooked part of the country that people either never go to, or at best by-pass on their way to somewhere else.

    I’m not too sure about being convinced, maybe more curious? The last time I had ale from the jug was donkeys years ago in that pub that was the inspiration for Emmerdale Farms Woolpack. I’m wondering just what jug dispense brings to the drink? What’s the optimum time for it being stood at the back of the bar? Or is it just poured into the jug on demand and then decanted into a glass (seems unnecessary if that’s the case). Or is it just harking back to the days of yore, providing a comfort blanket to those who don’t want to see old ways disappear?

    If it’s the latter I can quite understand. If it’s the former, I still don’t get what it brings to the beer tasting experience?


    1. We did an experiment at our recent (well, March) beer festival with some regulars and staff, as we unusually hand some handpulls in operation (usually 100% gravity). 4 glasses of Oakham Citra, one each of gravity, jugged, hand pulled sans sparkler and hand pulled avec sparkler. The jugged one came out on top! It aerates the beer in a similar manner to the sparkler, creating a better aroma, but crucially without knocking all of the condition out of the beer and without making the texture too smooth. I can imagine it wouldn’t suit every beer, though. Also it’s a bit of a faff, especially when it’s easy enough for us to pour straight into a glass, so we wouldn’t normally bother unless something is super lively or needs to be served from the bottom row – or if Martin turns up and asks for it specially, of course!

      We visited the Holly Bush last year whilst avoiding the lunchtime rush at Crich Tramway Museum, and of course had the jugged Ped. The barman went to the cellar for it and it looked as though he brought about half a gallon up. It was unfortunately a bit lacking in condition, but tasted great, better than I’ve had it in years. The loaded chilli chips nearly defeated me, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s really interesting, Proves Martin does know what he’s talking about sometimes 😜. My theory is that all the Marston’s Fastcask products have to lack condition – where can it come from?

        Liked by 1 person

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