Secret Drinker reviews The Plough Inn at Horbling
Walking into the Plough Inn was like taking a trip back in time. A time I miss.
I’ve always promised myself I’d never become that tiresome old idiot who tells young people that things were better when I was their age.
Mostly, because I’m boring enough. But also because it’s complete nonsense, as anyone who can pay their bills, chat to their mate in Kuala Lumpur and place a bet on a Swedish third division match they’re streaming, all from a pocket-sized device, will tell you.
But the one thing I totally and unwaveringly hate about this world of TikTok, Facebook and YouTube – even more than that bloke and his two sons with their viral dances – is the way social media has transformed the good old pub. Now we just sit in our own enclaves, faces illuminated and pouty, oblivious to the real fun we could be having.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at The Plough Inn in Horbling. In through the door and every single punter in there was around the bar, most standing in a crescent around the pumps and others sat on the tables closest.
Conversation flowed and the laughs were loud, to the point one bloke had to ask his pals to reel it in for a second so I could get through to the bar.
“What brings you here tonight?” asked a guy in a flat cap.
At first it felt this was his way to figure out the stranger’s back story, but in reality it was just an in, his way to strike up conversation and have a few laughs.
The Plough Inn is a no-frills pub which has – and I can’t emphasise how nice this is, as readers of my trip to a certain swanky bar will know – seemingly done little to modernise its decor.
The wooden tables, chairs and stools, simple colour schemes and blackboards promoting the B&B services, quiz night and live music make the place look how pubs did long before my generation was old enough to be left in the car with a pop and crisps by our parents.
Even the prices appeared to have fought off modern trends as signs offered Sunday lunch for £11 (£7 for OAPs and kids) and three Corona for £6.
A little nosey around unearthed more than I was expecting. The place is a TARDIS with plenty more seating, a tucked away lounge area and pool room.
The Plough Inn is a village pub in the old, traditional heart-of-the-community sense; a place that didn’t have to change with the times because good booze and good conversation will never go out of fashion.
In fact, the only other person I saw use a mobile in there had the good grace to combine answering the phone with a fag break outside.
As the photographs will give away, I found myself looking for a pub to grab a drink one evening in that bizarre period of time between Christmas and New Year, when some people have all the time in the world and others have none at all. Thankfully the locals here made that time.
A couple of nearby places were shut, presumably for a well-earned rest after a hectic festive schedule, and I nearly missed the Plough, tucked away down a dimly-lit side road, as I drove past.
But on this night the stars aligned and I managed to find a treat I didn’t expect.
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If you’re ever passing the Plough Inn at Horbling may I offer you three pieces of advice; 1 drive slowly or you may miss it, 2 go in for a drink, and 3 spend less time being a hypocrite using your handheld device to take photos and make notes and more time chatting to the lovely locals.
The Plough Inn, SPRING LANE, HORBLING, NG34 0PF.
DECOR: A traditional village pub, just as village pubs used to be, emphasised by old images of Batemans deliveries and Horbling Auxiliary Hospital workers on the wall. It has a timeless charm. 3/5
DRINK: A pint of Angelo Poretti lager (ABV 4.8%). It looks and sounds like Lidl’s take on Birra Moretti, but this Italian brewery has been going since 1877. A solid pint. 3/5
PRICE: The pint and a Pepsi cost £6.20. We’ve all spent more than that on a terrible, tiny wine. 3/5
ATMOSPHERE: A place full of fun and laughter. A brilliant village pub vibe. 4/5
STAFF: The couple behind the bar were chatting away, smiley and jokey. They must have had more arms than an octopus as the crowd round the bar kept them busy. 3/5
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