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               The Crooked Spire                                                               The Rutland                                                                     The Royal Oak    

Now that Chesterfield FC have moved to their new ground, the ultimate visit has to be the Derby Tup, 387 Sheffield Rd S40 8LS (01246 454316), which is very close to the ground, and will be crowded when there is a home fixture. The Tup has been, for many years now, somewhere that friends of mine have always gone to before matches in Chesterfield, even before the ground moved, and is now a Tynemill (Castle Rock) pub. You can walk there via the places I shall come to next, or catch a number 25 bus, which takes you straight there.

There is a small room to your left as you go in, which used to benefit from many visitors when it was a non-smoking room, but now that the (not so) new law banning smoking has come into force, it doesn't have the same attraction. Though not the most comfortable of rooms, the main bar, with its wooden tables and chairs, is a better place to drink and chat. Oh yes, of course there are many beers to chose from here, definitely a place to visit if your main aim is to drink fine ales before or after a match.

However, if you are coming from the station, you need to follow the path and walk towards the centre of Chesterfield (watch for the Crooked Spire and go over the footbridge/road that crosses dual carriageway). Just by the crooked spire, okay, by the Church of St Mary's and All Saints, is The Rutland, 23 Stephenson Place, S40 1XL (01246 205 857), a pub that appears to have improved over the years since I've been visiting. There is a large main room, with plasma screens to keep you in touch with your sport, and wooden tables and varying levels of comfort in your seating.

I recently drank a few pints of Peak Ales Bakewell Best Bitter there, a fine local bitter, indeed, they do have many Derbyshire and Yorkshire beers on regularly, including my friend, Paul's (the brewer at Bradfield Brewery) Farmer's Bonde, and one of my favourite pale bitters, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. The lad and lass behind the bar were great workers and friendly too, not scared to top up rather lively pints, thus with big 'heads'! It also sells reasonable food, not cheap, but with a good menu. I shall continue to return here whenever visiting Chesterfield.

Through the Shambles and toward the market, you see some of older Chesterfield, with some very interesting buildings, not least the Royal Oak, 1 The Shambles S40 1PX, which also sells local ales, appearing to belong to the same owners as the Rutland. It is closed evenings Mondays to Wednesdays, but open all lunchtimes, and even has a special number to book a place to eat, their 'reservation number' being 07827 922817, the last time I ate there it was very good. This is the oldest pub in Chesterfield, being the amalgamation of two 12th century buildings, once, 2 butchers shops I believe, and is known as the 'resting house' of the Knights Templar, though I'm not sure what they were doing in Chesterfield during the 'crusades', seems a long way from the action (Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python anyone?).

The building is very interesting, I love the outer of the 2 buildings that make up the Royal Oak, it oozes history, and there's lots of it here. With frosted and leaded windows and a high timbered built roof, not a ceiling as such, and the need to go out of the pub to enter the larger stone floored bar to reach the toilets, this is more than just an interesting building. In addition, you get more of the local real ales, Bakewell Best again, for example, good traditional home cooked food (eg bangers and mash and proper chips), friendly service and a great atmosphere. The Royal Oak has been sympathetically refurbished and is a delight to visit.

Leaving the town centre, you should aim for the Chesterfield Arms, 40 Newbold Road S41 7PH (01246 236 634), a larger corner pub owned by Everards, with a young enthusiastic couple as publicans. The Arms sells good beer, including a wide range of local ales, and decent food at very competitive prices. This is a regular winner of local CAMRA awards and, in addition, you can cut through from Newbold Road towards Sheffield Road and the Derby Tup before attending the new stadium. Back to the very beginning of this page...