Enough of the Retired Martin love-in, let’s get back to the hard yards of Retired Martin travelling to unassuming Northern* towns and finding pubs unexpectedly closed.

27th October 2022.

Proving Chesterfield‘s northerness, they don’t yet have parchment, and have maps painted on the side of the houses leading west towards Chatsworth House, which is where I always imagine that scene in Pride & Prejudice where the bloke jumps in the lake (must read the book).

Chesterfield has long given the ticking “community” some difficulties with maps and labelling. One year a pub will appear under “C” for Chesterfield, the next “B” for Brampton or “W” for Whittington Moor. It’s the way the CAMRA’s massive HQ play little games with us during cross-checking.

The A619 takes you out through “smart” Chesterfield, all bridal shops, Northern** Tea Merchants and Italian bistros.

Brampton seems to have dozens of pubs that sound like they should be in the Beer Guide (Tramway, Crafty Dog, Tap House), but it’s the Anchor, set back from the road, which is new in. I’ve never noticed it before.

What was once, I guess, a Marston boozer is now a home for craft (the fridge, rather than the pumps).

Along with tasters and beer pretension, my bugbear is Halloween tat. Get the cobwebs off the pumps !

Lovely looking pub, bench seating and sofas, “Handbags and Gladrags” on the stereo (not Rod’s version, mind).

There was no-one behind the bar, and I had to nip into the kitchen to attract a mortified barperson (“Oh my GOODNESS, I am sorry, OH !, I am so, so sorry, you don’t know how sorry I am” to serve me a stunningly good Thornbridge Porter.

I guess 16:30 is not the Golden Hour here. Since I’m coming back at the end of December with the rest of the tickers, I’ll leave it there for now.

Another 20 minutes through suburbia to the third of my Chesterfield trilogy, one of the duller of my mile walks in 2022. This is probably the highlight, the point at which a well-dressed lady shouts “You’ve dropped something“. It was a tissue; that’s how exciting it was.

Even the 3D Google Maps image can’t really redeem it; perhaps we can get Duncan to swim along Walton Dam to reach Maggie May’s.

Maggie’s is one of those new micro cafes in a small suburban shopping centre that have so delighted pub tourists in the last 5 years.


Well, that makes no sense, even by the standards of 2022 opening hours lunacy.

I sigh, check my map, assess my bearings, and then note a second Maggie Mays, a few feet away beyond the Post Office. The cafe closes, the cafe-bar opens.


It may look quiet, but back at the end of October we were literally sweltering in temperatures of (checks notes) 12 degrees, and the outside drinking areas front and back (plastic grass and flowers) were busy.

I stayed inside to watch the cricket. Blimey, England openers get younger by the week.

The alternate title for this post would be “Madri, Mocha and Misunderstanding“, as Maggy May doesn’t seem a cask stronghold, but CAMRA’s GBG selection process has turned up another gem, the Landlord test passed in style. Cool, crisp and foamy (NBSS 3.5+). Lovely staff as always, a community asset.

Back in town, the market square looked magical.

But that crooked spire ? It’s not really crooked, mate.

*Any new readers should be aware that I get to define “the North”, not Pub Curmudgeon or a journalist.

It starts at Stoke, and definitely includes Chesterfield, even if they do call you “m’duck” here. Something to do with the price of a bag of strawberry bon bons, from memory.

** Told you !


  1. Coming from the North West, I always define The North as running along the traditional southern borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire, so including cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Stoke is the Midlands.



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