Pub visits this week 3
On Saturday this week I’m with Dan for a quick pint in Fagan’s (featured here), a fantastic pub that’s more than the sum of its parts. The welcome is warm and the beer is just fine. There’s a large group of men and women on the next table staging a cheerful soft homophobia competition. Watch your backs around The Gays, and all that.
“That’s just really big-headed,” points out a woman who is clearly the most sensible one at the table. “It’s exactly the same as assuming all women want to sleep with you.”
An hour or so later I’m breaking one of my own Rules of Pub. We’ve walked all the way to the other side of the city centre to put some gig posters up at the Rutland Arms (featured here). It’s busy inside, my legs ache, and the only place to sit is on a sofa. Sofas in pubs are clearly an abomination in the eyes of God. It’s a mark of the Rutland’s indisputable excellence that it’s still an indisputably excellent pub despite having a sofa in it.
The Rutland Arms was also the venue earlier in the week when I met up for a chat with Chris. Chris emailed me a few weeks ago, after reading Get to the pub.com, for some advice about the new pub he’s opening.
Yes, you read that right. Someone asked me for advice. And about something with quite a lot of money riding on it. Chris has very sensibly been talking to people who are already in the business but enlisted me to give a punter’s perspective.
So we sit over a pint or three and I do my best to sound like I know what I’m talking about. Get some beers on from Dark Star, Marble and Brewdog and you’ll show ale lovers you’re serious about sourcing the finest tipples nationally. At the same time, make a big deal of offering local beers from the ever-growing plethora of excellent breweries dotted across South Yorkshire and northern Derbyshire. In a small, one-room pub, don’t bother with live music: you’ll put off more people than you attract. Nobody’s really put off a pub by fruit machines, are they? Or by people eating dinner? Decor, pricing… we cover a lot of ground.
In a few weeks’ time, then, the Dronfield Arms, in Dronfield, will be opening its doors for the first time – informed, perhaps, by some of my input, for what it’s worth. In the meantime I’d like to throw this one open to the floor. What would you have told Chris in my situation? Post a comment below and let’s discuss it. I’ll pass it on.