Friday 20th November 2015
I am on the road again and heading up to the West Midlands for the weekend. However on my way I have made this diversion to visit Northamptonshire’s first micropub.
I caught a train to Northampton and hopped on a bus outside, making a worrying eight-minute connection look easy. The bus took me to the bus station in this small market town and I soon found the pub after walking for under ten minutes.
If you are of a certain age you will remember seeing the name of Daventry on old radio dials. The massive aerial tower still overlooks the town atop a nearby hill. It broadcast in Long Wave which although it could be carried for very long distances, often gave very poor quality reception. The reason it was located here is because this is more or less the centre of the country.
The Early Doors is a welcoming pub found up an alleyway, of which there are several in the town. It is set in a modern building although I suspect the alley is older.
On this day there was some pleasant but unseasonal sunshine so I had to shield my eyes for a moment after entering. The pub is in a medium-sized room with the bar to be found almost opposite, slightly to the left side.
I noticed that the wooden-topped bar counter was supported with old door panels, also of wood. To the left of the entrance door there are very tall windows and inside there is a very comfortable looking leather sofa faced by a table with matching stools.
On the right of the door there are couple of tables with pews facing in from the window and loose chairs opposite. There is also a tall table with three stools facing it. At this end there is a nice white-painted French dresser that contains the tea and coffee making equipment.
The pub opened on Friday 27th February 2015 with an official grand opening on Monday 30th March, when lots of local dignitaries and local brewers attended.
Behind the bar today was Caroline Langlands, one of the owners along with Neil Hawkey, who is an electrician for Northamptonshire County Council. She explained that, with a few exceptions, most of their beers were sourced from a thirty mile radius.
The beers are served from a custom-built refrigerated cabinet behind the bar. The following were offered: Vale (Brill, Buckinghamshire) Gravitas (4.8%); Great Oakley (Tiffield, Northamptonshire) Wagtail (3.9%); Kendrick’s (Rugby, Warwickshire) Webb Ellis (3.8%); Gun Dog (Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire) Chilly Dog (4.8%); Phipp’s (Northampton) IPA (4.3%) and Oakham (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire) Car Thief (3.6%). That is a good local selection of beers that I don’t often drink.
Cider lovers are not neglected here as they offer the full range from Vale of Welton Cider, whose farm is at Welton, just north of Daventry. There was Rose Hill (4.8%), Black Jetty (4.8%) and Poachers (7.5%). Wines are also available. Additionally they serve Fentiman’s soft drinks and there are fruit juices offered. As alluded to earlier there is coffee and a range of teas. The usual packaged snacks are available.
I realise that you are unlikely to be in the Daventry area very often but should you be in these parts, this little pub is well worth a visit. The ideal place to break up a journey along the M1!
Early Doors, 3 Prince William Walk, Daventry, Northamptonshire. NN1 4AB
Tel: 07707 299959
Hours: Sunday-Monday: Closed; Tuesday-Saturday: 12.00-21.00
Daventry is well served by buses from Monday to Saturday. From Northampton Bus and Railway stations the services D1, D2 and D3 run every 30 minutes via differing routes throughout most of the day. Reduced service on Sunday.
There is also a 30 minute service to and from Rugby town centre and railway station Mondays to Saturdays. No service on Sunday. At the Daventry New Street Bus station I also observed buses running to and from Leamington Spa and Banbury.
After exiting from a bus turn left to a pedestrian crossing, use this to get to the car park on the other side. With the Waitrose store on your right, head for the top left-hand corner, where the HSBC Bank is. Bear left and cross Foundry Place into the covered Foundry Walk.
At the end, turn right into Sheaf Street. Continue along here until you come across the covered alleyway on the left that is Prince William Walk. Go along this and you will soon see the pub on the right. It should take just over five minutes to get there.