I WAS pleased to receive an e-mail recently from a couple wanting to visit Ashbourne for a few days and looking for recommendations for good pubs and good beers in the town.
I gave them a few pointers and a week or so later received a follow-up message, expressing very positive feedback.
In particular, and I part-quote, “we enjoyed the Blue Monkey ale in The George and Dragon, we loved the Smiths Tavern as well, great ales and a friendly pub dog, but the highlight was The Horns.
“They had perfect Pedigree and intend to get more guest ales in. Good atmosphere and friendly staff.”
They tell me they hope to return again in the near future, which is great.
This is just the response we want from visitors to the town and one that we hope every pub is striving for.
I want people to regard the town as a destination for both a shopping and tourist experience, with the added bonus of knowing they can get a good pub visit wherever they choose to go.
I am delighted that the Horns got a good mention as Ben and Christina look to establish themselves after their recent takeover – we need all the pubs in town to try to raise their game all the time and that will surely help the overall economy in the town as people make it a destination of choice.
We have to compete with the likes of Bakewell where, every time we visit, the town is packed. But in my opinion, the pubs there are disappointingly ordinary, although they do offer beers not seen very often in our town.
Uttoxeter is of a similar size to Ashbourne and has some slightly different shopping options, but again the pubs there are nothing more than OK.
If Ashbourne’s pubs are regarded as the best in the area, this would offer people a different reason to come here instead and put money in the town’s coffers rather than elsewhere.
I appreciate that the heavy presence of Marston’s in our town does somewhat limit the broad range we would hope to have from more pubs with a free choice, but within that, each pub should see if they can regularly offer different styles of very well-kept beer such as mild, stouts, porters etc that would make people even more interested in coming here, as well as making it a bit different now and again for the local drinkers.
Until next time, cheers everyone.