I was in Derby last week and managed to get to a few decent pubs, most of them only a couple of minutes walk from the railway station.
I've been to Derby before, on the way to Burton-on-Trent, but a combination of a wrong turning out of the station and electronic ticket barriers meant I ended up trudging for a couple of miles on the wrong side of the tracks without finding any of them. Having learnt my lesson, I set off with a CAMRA guide to the pubs of Derby in hand, included in which was a map of the city centre.
The train journey from Manchester to Derby via Crewe and Stoke passes through some very pleasant countryside, fields of crops bordered by small lakes and streams. The square outside Derby station, with the Victorian Midland Hotel on one side, is quite impressive too, as is the row of terraced houses built for railway workers opposite. You can imagine how busy it would have been when Derby was a railway hub connecting the North West and East Midlands (the last direct trains to Manchester ran in 1968).
The Standing Order is not just the grandest of Derby's three Wetherspoon's pubs but also has one of the most impressive pub interiors I've ever seen, having been transformed from a former bank. The Draught Bass I had, the cheapest of the pints I drank in Derby, was flanked on the central island bar by beers from local microbreweries.
The Station Inn on Midland Road is more of a local's boozer than a destination pub, but stands out by advertising "Bass Served From the Jug". Although on entering, the barman asked me whether I minded one from a hand-pump and as it had been a warmish day I readily agreed to a cellar cool pint rather than one transported from a gravity-dispensed barrel of unknown temperature somewhere else.
The next two pubs I went to are within a few feet of each other on the corner of Railway Terrace and Siddals Road.
The Alexandra Hotel is a railway buff's pub, with train-related advertising in the bar, station signs in the beer garden at the back and a disused locomotive in the car park. It also had half a dozen cask beers on the bar, including a mild and a stout, and a 20p a pint discount for card-carrying CAMRA members.
The Brunswick Inn is a brewpub, owned by, but operated independently from, Everards Brewery, which is Derby CAMRA's Pub of the Year for 2016. Inside the triangular, brick building is a Victorian-style interior of red leather benches and wall-mounted lamps, and half a dozen cask beers from their own range as well as guest ales from other breweries.
All the beer I drank in Derby was in good condition and, at between £2 and £3 a pint before CAMRA discounts. pretty cheap too. As General MacArthur said, "I shall return".