Cooper’s Tavern – Northern Traditions Alive & Well

A cosy corner of Burton that is quintessentially Northern.

Mary Bagley has been the lady behind the taps of The Coopers Tavern for the last 10 years and she’s certainly not in the habit of letting her standards slip.

coopers-1Part of a long lineage of pubs that look like houses, The Coopers is emblematic of the ingrained nature of the Northern drinking culture. The gorgeously domestic pubs are settled deep within the suburban sectors of the city, allowing thirsty industrial workers of yore to nip in to the boozer on their way home from work.

The interior has been well looked after over the years. Unlike other boozers of it’s lineage, it’s resisted the allure of modern accoutrements such as glitzy advertising signs and flashing quiz machines. It’s staunchly loyal clientele have ensured that the decor has remained more or less the same for the last forty years – without any pretension.

coopers-2Landlady Mary has been serving pints for the entirety of her working life and managing Public Houses for nearly half that time.

Her experience shows in the cleanliness of her establishment and the variety of quality ales on offer. Her staff have also been well trained, treating each pint with the deference and respect that it deserves. As with any good drinking establishment, it’s the smaller details that make this place a real cut above the rest.

coopersFrom the immaculately kept paved beer garden, to the embroidered cushions dotted around the the booths and seating areas; every inch of The Cooper’s Tavern is given a personal touch that you simply wouldn’t be able to find in a chain-run establishment.

Unlike the brash eagerness of a newly opened bar, with it’s attempt at trying every little gimmick and fashionable trend, Mary has had the time and experience to simply know what works and what doesn’t. 

Slowly introducing weekly live events like Acoustic Sessions on the weekends has kept the house busy during quieter times. whilst the bar has also started selling locally made Pork Pies – a nod to the great Northern tradition of pie-making, whilst also a cheap and efficient way of keeping punters well fed between pints!

The Coopers has won several CAMRA awards over the year, quite deservedly.

It represents what is good and wholesome about English pubs – proving that, if done well, the traditional English Public House is far from a dying industry.

Derby Inn – Real Cider & Real Food

An unexpected surprise – the re-opened Derby Inn is a joy.

Closed for about a year, as ownership of the traditional pub was shifted, it’s now the home of Wentwell Brewery – a local two-man microbrewery. 

derby-innIt’s the story of small, traditional pubs up and down the country. People stop coming to the pub to watch the game, they stop buying pints and, little by little, the pub starts bleeding money.This was certainly the case for The Derby Inn as they slowly died out of business in October – after the previous owners left for greener pastures. However, salvation was at hand for the humble pub as local Burton real ale brewers, George and Walter of Wentwell Brewery.

The purchase of The Derby Inn made Wentwell Brewery the proud owner of three establishments – informally known as micro-pubs. Upon taking on the place they did very little to revamp the interior design of the place. Even since opening in October, the rustic, home-made feel of The Derby Inn has been a joy to visit. Akin to a fledgling Cricket Club that is just finding it’s feet, the pub is refreshingly barren of the modern day distractions that serve to cheapen the pub going experience.

derb-innYou’ll find no garish jukebox here or obnoxiously branded slot machine. What was once simply a forced decision, based on a lack of funds, has now become a purposeful stylistic choice. It is, admittedly, refreshing to step into a bustling pub on a Saturday afternoon and not be instantly assaulted by the blast of manufactured pop music.

the-derby-innYou won’t find any television here, something die-hard pub goers may well object to, however the lack of football is also a pleasant distraction. It all adds to an heir of traditional sensibilities, which is not something that you come across very often without also being tarred with the ‘hipster’ brush.

The Derby is a pub that is lost in time. It’s charmingly basic bar is served with Wentwell’s fantastic selection of ales. whose traditional flavour notes and characteristics perfectly match the peaceful vibes that echo throughout the place. The publicans here serve guest ales from all around the country, so you can easily spend several hours here sipping gorgeous ale and enjoying some peaceful conversation.

I know, from the reception that it received from my fellow members, that the re-opened Derby Inn has definitely struck a chord with the town’s real ale drinkers.

All it needs to now, is convince the rest of the town of it’s authenticity – and we’ll have a regular drinking spot for years to come.