Julian and I were back in Dereham for our second day of visiting all the pubs in the town, starting this time with the Railway Tavern. I understand that this venue is usually decked out in English flags, but it’s hard to tell at the moment as all the pubs in Dereham we visited were getting ready for the Coronation on Saturday.
And the man himself. The pub has been trading as a licensed premises since the 1840s and is now free trade, although in recent decades it’s been part of the Bullards estate, then Watney Mann, then Chef & Brewer before becoming part of Brent Walker. There was a large fire at the pub in 1989, but Brent Walker reopened it the following year.
The origins of the pub name aren’t difficult to work out, it’s located where the cursor is on the above map from the late nineteenth century. That loop section and the spur to the left aren’t there any more, although Dereham railway station is still there just off a little to the north, but it’s today part of a preservation railway.
The set-up of having a fish and chip shop inside the pub isn’t unique, but it’s certainly rare and it’s something that I very much approve of.
The bar area and the seating section to the front of the pub.
There’s another seating area to the back and they have some substantially sized televisions going on, with a strong reputation for sporting events. During a previous World Cup they even constructed their own grandstand arrangement in the garden.
I went for half a pint of the St. George’s Ale from Wolf Brewery.
It was lively but tasted acceptable, not much going on there though in terms of flavours. I’ve struggled with Wolf Brewery beers recently, but perhaps I’ve been unfortunate.
I don’t know where the street sign was from…..
The landlord was in the press a few weeks stating that if road works limiting access to his pub weren’t taken down by Easter then he might well close permanently, but they seem to have been removed now and hopefully his trade will start to pick up again. We were the first drinking customers of the day, or at least appeared to be, when we arrived at 13:00, but the fish and chip shop section seemed to have been busy.
I noticed that there were signs for a free pint of Heineken Silver, so I decided to sign up. As Julian noted, I’ll likely be getting marketing messages from Heineken now until I remember to turn them off.
I can say that Heineken Silver to me tastes dreadful, lacking in flavour, taste, excitement or indeed anything. To be fair though, I’m not their target drinker. But, I feel that it was priced fairly in this venue, so all was well. I’m surprised that Heineken haven’t sent some branded glasses, they’ve even invested on a badge on Untappd which is rare.
The food then arrived and it was served as a decent portion with the batter having a freshness of taste, although the underside was a little greasy. It was priced at £8.20 for the fish and chips, which is a competitive price and it was a suitably filling way to start the day. Certainly very reasonable value for money and it was freshly fried after I had ordered it.
There’s a beer garden to the side and it’s evident that they have plenty of events here, so there’s something of a community feel. There were two real ales available and the usual line-up of lagers, but it seemed a reasonable choice and the service was always polite and efficient. The welcome seemed genuine and I suspect that they’ll have a very busy weekend.
I quite liked this pub, the food set-up is one that does appeal quite a lot, although it means they are a little short of seating space internally. However, part of the external area is covered and so there’s potential there to sit outside when it’s busy inside. The service was personable, the pub was clean and it was a suitably positive way to start the day.