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The Boat Inn (Chesterfield)

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A pub with good atmoshpere, food and Real Ale, found in Cromford near to the tourist resort of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.

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      11.12.2003 23:59
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      It was raining one Friday night in mid November. It was raining so much, as our minibus was squelching through the Peak District, that we even panicked and started looking for an Ark. We didn't find one, but we did find a boat. What was better was that this boat served beer and was also holding a Beer Festival. Result! This boat was a pub and was aptly named The Boat Inn! ~~~WHERE IS IT? You will find The Boat in the centre of Cromford village near to the Market Place. Cromford can be found not far from the Derbyshire tourist resort of Matlock Bath and the administrative centre of Derbyshire County Council (Matlock) in the North of Derbyshire. Cromford isn't far from Derby and Chesterfield and is a good place to visit, or base yourself if you are touring the Peak District. The actual area of Cromford you need to find is called Scarthin and you?ll also find a rather nice second hand bookshop there too. You can reach The Boat Inn by car (via the A6 between Matlock and Derby), by train (the station is a few minutes walk away) and by some local bus services. If you are going by car you will need to park in the Market Place where you will see a sign for the pub! The best thing is to get someone else to drive, get dropped off outside and then you can have a few beers! We opted for the latter option? ~~~A BIT OF BACKGROUND. The Boat was originally built in 1772 under the orders of Richard Arkwright (the famous industrialist and Mill owner) as a place for his workers to drink. It is now a friendly village pub run by the White family ~ a place where you will find good food, good beer, good music, good atmosphere and (of course) Beer Festivals! If you go there you are assured of a friendly welcome from the Whites, their bar staff and their resident pets ~ Guinness the 3 year old pub cat (who sleeps on top of the fruit machine even when the music is pumping in the bar!) and Jazz a 9 month old Bearded Colli
      e (who?s a little young yet, but is well into training as a pub dog). The Boat is a pretty white building in a corner location, fronting directly onto the pavement. There's a rather nice beer garden to the rear that has some comfy garden furniture ~ they also have barbecues during the summer and the area is floodlit at night. ~~~WHAT?S ON! If you call in on a Tuesday evening you will drop on Music Night. They alternate between Folk nights and a themed night, which could include Jazz, Folk/Rock, Rock and Blues ~ or any combination of these styles. They cater for most tastes and the acts we?ve seen are good! We went in November for the Beer Festival and saw Congeroo (a Blues/Rock act). They also have a band on the last Friday or Saturday of the month and a quiz every other Sunday. Add to this a Restaurant (called Frets ~ another testament to the White family's love of music) and a function room (down in the basement where the beer festivals are held) and there is always some reason to visit The Boat. ~~~THE BEER! We went to The Boat to visit one of their regular Beer Festivals and also to present them with a certificate for our CAMRA Pub of the Season (for Winter 2003). This illustrates how good the beer (and whole drinking experience) is there! The White?s actively support the Campaign for Real Ale and Kev (the licensee) is also part of our Good Beer Guide Tasting panel (of which I am also a member ~ it?s us who write those "flowery" descriptions). The pub has four hand pumps serving a selection of Cask Ales. Marston's Pedigree (4.5% ABV) and Springhead Bitter (4.0% ABV) are permanently on sale. The other two hand pumps are dedicated to guest ales and they usually change around 5 times (per hand pump) a fortnight. We've also had some Cask Ciders there and can vouch for a good choice of wines, spirits and bottles. ~~~THE ATMOSPHERE. The Boat is a friendly vill
      age local and is a family run business with help from local part time staff. They also sponsor the Cromford Meadows Cricket Club who are mostly real ale drinkers and are all regular fixtures in the bar! What I really like about the Boat is that the regulars and visitors mix together well. We always feel welcome and don?t feel that we are encroaching into anyone's territory when we pop by for a drink. The separate restaurant area means that the smell of food is present but isn't overpowering ~ I don't know about you, but I don't like to go for a drink in a "foody" pub because I can't taste my beer properly for the aroma of vinegar and roast dinners! The Boat manages to keep these two areas distinct from each other so that you can enjoy both your meal and drink without being put off. It is a pub that has managed to stay part of the community while still tempting in people from the surrounding area. I thoroughly enjoyed the Beer Festival ~ they supported several local breweries (including a beer called Brewster?s Last Orders, named in honour of the pub dog who had recently passed away) and also had representatives from brewers around the country, including the Champion Beer of Britain (Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted ~ expect a review soon) 2003. I wholeheartedly recommend The Boat at Cromford. It's a good pub and a good place to socialize. When we left after the Beer Festival we couldn?t wait for our next visit. ...it was still raining, but we all seemed to have forgotten about it! ~~~PUB DETAILS, The Boat Inn, Scarthin, Cromford, Derbyshire, DE4 3QF Telephone: 01629 823 282 http://www.theboatatcromford.co.uk/default.asp

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