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Pub Visit - England

Pot Hole 1jFriday 5th January 2018

Bob Thompson

Allestree is most northerly district of the City of Derby and is close to the boundary with the Amber Valley Borough Council. Like many suburbs it was once a country village yet these days it is basically a large housing estate surrounding the old church of St Edmund.

Pot Hole 2It’s just over two miles from the city centre and incorporates the campus of the University of Derby which was founded as Derby College of Technology in 1960. Brian Clough and his son Nigel have both lived here.

Because of the outwards expansion of Derby during the 1960s Allestree ceased to have its own council. In 1968 was incorporated as a ward of the Borough of Derby, which itself became a City in 1977. The subject of this article is situated within the Park Farm Shopping Centre which was built in the 1960s. A pub, the Park Farm Hotel, was part of this development. Sadly, it closed in October 2003 and is now a fitness club.

However it wasn’t forgotten. It had a basement bar named the Pot Hole. Fast forward to 2017 when Tim Dorrington, the owner of Littleover Brewery (founded in 2015), along with two associates Tony Myerscough and Ady Stewart, applied to Derby City Council to turn Unit 17 into a micro-pub.

Pot Hole 3Permission was duly granted and the unit that had been empty for two years after its last use as a dry cleaning shop, was leased to them. So Tim, who had retired from Rolls Royce after thirty years, began the second incarnation of the Pot Hole. The former shop of around 77 square metres was internally rebuilt to fulfil its new function.

The grand opening was at 12.00 on 16th November 2017 and the small pub hasn’t looked back since. It was an extremely cold evening when Linda and I entered the warming surrounds of the pub. Tim was manning the bar and we selected a cask beer from the five available.

Pot Hole 4The main entrance is set on the left of the frontage. On the same side of the room there is a long shelf with a stool. This leads to the varnished wooden bar counter with its six prominent hand pumps. There are also shiny wooden floor boards.

At the rear on the right is the corridor to the men’s and ladies’ toilet facilities. Here there is a small drinking area along with the enclosed cool room. In the right corner there is a sign (see above) from the original Park Farm pub which was salvaged by the Shopping Centre management when it closed down

A long upholstered bench runs along the length of the right side. In front of it are four tables with associated loose seating. To complete the seating there are two tables in the middle of the room with separate chairs and stools. The walls a bit bare but the pub had only been open less than two months when we visited, so I’m sure this will change.

Pot Hole 5Up till now the pub has sold six cask beers. Tim told us that he would probably run with just five for the quiet months of January and February. No problem, as most micro-pubs offer less than that!

Normally there’s one beer from his own brewery, Littleover. It’s named after the south eastern suburb of Derby where Tim hails from. Although the six barrel (bbls) plant is to be found a bit closer to the city centre, in the Rose Hill district.

Unfortunately it was not to be, as there was no representative from the home side. Never mind, as the selection was still very good. There was: Maypole (Eakring, Nottinghamshire) Celebration (4.0%); 4Ts (Warrington, Cheshire) Pale Ale (3.7%); Springhead (Laneham, Nottinghamshire) Blind Tiger (4.5%); Lincoln Green (Hucknall, Nottinghamshire) Tuck Porter (4.7%) and Deventio (Darley Abbey, Derbyshire) Cleopatra (5.0%).

Pot Hole 6For those who prefer the fermented juice of the apple they offered: Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Family Reserve (5.0%); Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Black Dragon (7.2%); Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Apple & Blackberry (4.0%) and Cockeyed (Collumpton, Devon) Monkey Mango (4.0%).

There is no food apart from snacks in packs. Other drinks available are wines, including Prosecco, some selected spirits with mixers and other non-alcoholic offerings.

We thought this to be a great new addition to the micro-pub empire and would recommend anyone visiting the beer metropolis of Derby to make the 10 minute bus ride out to Allestree.

Important Information:

The Pot Hole, Unit 17, Park Farm Shopping Centre, Park Farm Drive, Allestree, DE22 2QQ
Tel: 07749 857879

Hours; Monday-Wednesday: Closed; Thursday: 14.00-21.00;
Friday: 14.00-22.00; Saturday: 12.00-22.00; Sunday: 13.00-18.00.

Buses to the pub are operated by the TrentBarton bus company which has the strange policy of naming its bus routes rather than using numbers as the rest of the world does. As a result this is the “Allestree”. The route starts at Albert Street in Derby which is a few minutes walk from the main bus station.

The route runs via Kedleston Road to the University then does a circuit around Allestree. This is operated both in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. Because of the lack of route numbers these are not suffixed with the normal A and B variations, so they are the blue route (clockwise) and the green route (anti-clockwise). Confused, you will be?

The green route is better, getting to the Park Farm Shops stop in 10 minutes. The blue route takes 15 minutes. Frequency Monday to Saturday is every twenty minutes, every half hour from 19.00.
This applies to both routes so there is 15 minute service through most of the day.
On Sunday both routes are every half hour.