Monday, 3 March 2014
Golden Eagle, Derby
The Golden Eagle in Derby is a pub which has recently re-appeared on the city's Real Ale Trail following acquisition by the local Titan Brewery, adding yet another speciality beer outlet to Derby's embarrassment of riches in this regard. The pub has had a somewhat chequered past of late, trading under names too numerous to mention, and with varying degrees of success. Now back to its original name, and also back trading as a thoroughly 'pubby' venue with the added bonus of great beer.
Sadly, not all micro-brewers approach the running of their pubs with such sensitivity and respect for the traditions of pub going. In their eagerness to ride the very crest of the current 'craft beer' fashion, the pub environment can often seem like an afterthought, or even worse, an ill thought out style statement where beer is king, often at the expense of the many social traditions which make pubs so unique and valuable. Often it's simply a case of 'over-engineering' a pub, stamping a rigid design and style on the space which leaves no room for the pub to develop over time as a true local.
The Golden Eagle has, in my opinion, been very well done indeed. Just the right blend of bright, colourful fixtures, set within an instantly recognisable pub interior. It's a bar which easily satisfies both the traditionalist like myself, and the more casual pub goer who perhaps baulks at the dark and unwelcoming interiors of some of our less well-managed drinking houses. I love it, and not just because space has been retained for a Darts throw. This to me is a great example of the kind of modernisation which many pubs clearly need, but without throwing out all the best of a pubs traditions and social heritage.
Derby Telegraph gives a good insight into how the owners see the Golden Eagle's colourful past as an important part of its successful future. The locals are back, and they've brought with them many images and artefacts from the pubs heyday.
Perhaps this included the lovely little Shove Ha'penny shown here, a classic of its type, crafted from a thick slab of Mahogany which shows clear signs of previous use (note the cut-outs on the right), though what use that would have been is not entirely clear. Coins are available for play from behind the bar, though these would benefit from a bit of smoothing and polishing to realise the potential of the board.
The reading and games table is well stocked with local interest, as well as Cards, a couple of vintage Domino sets, the Shove Ha'penny shown above, and a Shut The Box.