For some pubs, such as the Castle & Falcon featured here, the gaming is more than just an element, it's pretty much the whole point of the pub. It's also a major part of why this pub in particular continues to thrive where others have struggled or even closed in recent years. That and the fact it's a popular, well run locals pub that's equally welcoming to visitors like myself.
In recent years Newark's pub scene has regained much of its former glory, to the point where it's now something of a beer enthusiasts destination with regular beer-themed festivals and events. Along with a handful of relative newcomers such as Just Beer and the Vaults, some of the older pubs in the town have been successfully reinvented as speciality beer bars. Great news for pub-goers, particularly given that some of the more traditional 'locals' pubs like the Castle & Falcon still survive largely unchanged, which means there's something for everyone, even traditionalists like myself.
The Castle & Falcon is a pub I've been keen to visit for some time, but the slightly limited opening hours have frustrated me on previous trips to Newark, Fridays and Saturdays being the only lunchtime opening. I eventually managed to pop in on a Saturday, and was warmly welcomed in the front bar where international Ladies Darts held sway on the television, not surprising given that Darts is probably the most popular game at the pub.
There are currently attempts to revive Cribbage play at the pub, but I'm pleased to say that league Dominoes and Pool are still going strong. The other major pub games league which features at the Castle & Falcon is the Newark & District Long Alley Skittles League, played at several venues in the town and further afield through the summer months. The alley at the Castle & Falcon is an outdoor one, as many are round these parts, albeit that most are in fact covered these days against the worst of the elements. The Newark Table Skittles league folded several years ago, but many of the pubs in the area still have a table available for play, though you may have to ask for it to be brought out of storage.
Newarks close proximity to the River Trent means that fishing is popular throughout the area. The corridor at the side of the pub, with its serving hatch (below), is devoted to the trophies and catch records of local angling competition.