28 May 2008

Things to do in Newark on a green and hazy night – Part 1

As you’ll be aware from Dubbel Buffle, our recent two day jaunt to the Newark Beer Festival was marred somewhat by the condition of many of the beers on offer; fortunately however, we were ensconced in a town with a healthy selection of interesting pubs offering a varied selection of real ale for us to finish off with each night.

In the course of two nights we managed to take in four of these establishments, each of which offered their own little quirks…

The first night saw us hit the Rutland Arms Hotel, a decision heavily weighted by the fact that this was also our accomodation!

I rather liked the place; it’s a 16th century Grade II listed coaching inn, replete with courtyard to the rear (now an outdoor seating and off road parking area) and stables converted to a games room with pool table. Inside there’s an unusual medley of old features and more modern “improvements” – the rather unsightly bar being a case in point.

A Marston’s tied house, we were expecting little excitement from the ale selection; we’d ascertained that 3 handpulled cask ales were available – Pedigree, Mansfield Bitter and a guest, also from the Marston’s portfolio. To our very pleasant surprise we found that the guest was Okells Dr Okells IPA, and that the condition was very good.

It transpired that actually Friday night is, yes, Karaoke Night and, galvanised by a couple of pints of the Okells and inspired by the vocal talents of the locals, Dubbel and I delivered (perhaps a slightly over generous term) a somewhat ludicrous and very drunken rendition of Ebeneezer Goode.

The local crowd were a colourful bunch, with a real spread of ages - all very genuine, down to earth and certainly up for a laugh ... probably a good thing really!

We somehow finished the evening with myself behind the bar pulling the final round and demonstrating to disbelieving bar staff that a full and creamy head can be achieved without a sparkler.

All in all the Rutland is a decent, unpretentious establishment which offers real ale enthusiasts visiting Newark an affordable place to stay with a (very good) cooked breakfast in the morning, at least one ale worth sampling and friendly, easygoing staff and punters; the team there have our respect and gratitude.

Part 2 will follow tomorrow…


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