Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Compendium of Darts Images

Whether played casually between friends, or more competitively at league and cup level, Darts is still probably the most popular game played in Britain's pubs and clubs. It's certainly the one most widely found and undoubtedly the game most strongly associated with the pub. But even Darts has followed the more general decline in pub games, and is not nearly as popular as it once was.

There seems to be an increasing number of pubs where the Darts Board has been unceremoniously ousted from the bar, often in favour of an extra table for dining, or simply because a Darts Board just doesn't fit with the clean, bland lines of the most recent off-the-peg refurbishment. I must say, I find it hard to warm to a pub without a Darts Board. Removing a sociable game like Darts from the bar seems to send out the message that customers are welcome to eat and spend, but the old-fashioned pastimes of social drinking and games play are not what this pub is about. That's not my kind of pub, and in many cases it pushes the limits of what I consider a pub to be!

Thankfully there are still plenty of pubs where the Darts Board is still an integral part of the bar furniture. Where the importance of a social game has not been forgotten, and 7 feet 9.25 inches of clear space has been set aside for the Arrows and Oche.

The wood panelled Smokeroom tucked away at the back of of the Seven Stars pub in Derby is a space largely devoted to the game of Darts. There's really only room for a single table in this diminutive room, because anything more would get in the way of the Darts throw, and after all, there's plenty of other seating in the pub. The walls are home to the various fixture lists, and an array of silverware displayed higher up on shelving.

The Olde Hare & Hounds in the village of Anstey, Leicestershire, features regular quiz nights, and is a real hotbed of local rugby support. It's also a thoroughly traditional local, and features the traditional gaming interests of Darts, Dominoes, and Cribbage. The Ladies Darts Team play in the Whitwick Winter League, whilst the men play a mostly social game on Tuesday evenings. In-house competition includes the coveted Duck Award for an individual who has failed to win any matches throughout the season!

The Malt Shovel Tavern in Northampton is perhaps best known for beer, bands, and huge collection of Breweriana. The pub stands in the shadow of the massive Carlsberg beer factory, which itself stands on the original home of the Phipps Brewery, soon to be resurrected at a nearby site in the town. A Darts Board is squeezed in amongst the fascinating collection of brewery memorabilia.

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