Wednesday 4th December 2013
This is a very interesting collaboration between a local micro brewery and an existing well-known pub. The Anchor Inn is long-established and is noted for its food, which is served in the very large lounge bar, which is more or less a restaurant. This is on the left of the entrance, yet should you decide to turn right you will enter the former tap room (public bar), now promoted as the Duck 'n' Dive Real Ale Bar.
The local brewery involved in this venture is the Dukeries Brewery, which has a five-barrel capacity plant located just north of the town. It brewed its first beers in October 2012.
The bar opened in its new guise on Saturday 30th November, a mere five days before my visit. The pub is situated on busy Eastgate, just five minutes walk from the town centre.
The area around the town is known as the Dukeries after the large number of Dukes that had stately homes the area. There were four in number and in some cases their estates joined upon one another. They were south of Worksop, which is said to be the gateway to the Dukeries, but I have never heard of this title previously.
Yet I do know that there was once a railway station on the East Coast main line called Dukeries Junction that closed a very long time ago. It was a mile south of the town of Tuxford and the station of Tuxford North, now also closed. So that's the background to the rather unusual name of the brewery involved with this story.
I can find out very little regarding the history of the pub but it certainly looks old. There is a mention of it in a directory of 1832, although it is very possible that the present building is newer, being constructed on the site of an earlier inn. I think its position is significant as it is to be found on the old road from Sheffield to Lincoln and more than likely offered stabling and accommodation to travellers. Although there was mining going on all around the town I would guess the pub pre-dated the first explorations.
Back in the Anchor Inn; after I'd warmed my hands by the coal fire, I perused the beer list and it was very extensive with the following available from the home side (Dukeries): Baronet (3.9%); Ray of Sunshine (4.2%); Mining Stout (4.5%) and Gunsmoke (5.5%).
Guest beers were Oxfordshire (Marsh Gibbon, Oxfordshire) Winters Inn (3.7%); Milltown (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) Sterling Gold (4.3%); RAW (Staveley, Derbyshire) Blonde (3.9%) and Black Iris (Flowerpot pub, Derby) Amber (4.5%).
As can be seen, a good selection of beers from Dukeries and further afield. I had never tried beer from the local brewer so had Baronet and I thought it was a wonderfully good example of a tradition English bitter.
However, what ever I thought of that beer was eclipsed by Mining Stout which was one of the very best stouts I have ever tried. It was nicely balanced with a good kick of bitterness in the finish; quite superb!
I wished I could have stayed longer as the pub is very welcoming and the beer range was excellent.
The Anchor Inn, 60 Eastgate, Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 1RF. Tel: 01909 477807
Open: Monday-Tuesday 17.00-23.30; Wednesday-Thursday 12.00-23.30;
Friday-Saturday 12.00-24.00; Sunday 12.00-17.00, 19.00-23.30
Food is served: Monday-Tuesday 17.00-20.30;
Wednesday-Saturday 12.00-21.00; Sunday 12.00-17.00
The Anchor is around ten minutes walk from Worksop railway station. Note that this station has its own bar so leave enough time to visit it. Please see article on The Mallard. It is the terminus of the Robin Hood Line from Nottingham via Mansfield. Trains run hourly Monday to Saturday. It is also on the cross country line from Sheffield to Lincoln via Retford. Trains also run hourly on this line from Monday to Saturday.
Sundays are quite problematical as there is no service on the Robin Hood line and the frequency is only every two hours on the Lincoln to Sheffield line with no trains at all before 14.00.
Worksop is well connected to surrounding towns by bus but there is a much reduced service on Sundays.