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Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

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user reviews of Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A lovely old pub and whilst there was a reasonable number of ales, they weren't overly-inspiring when compared with what else Derby has to offer - ales were Brains The Rev James, St Austell Proper Job, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar, Bass, Purity Ubu, Robinsons Trooper, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Sharps Atlantic. No real cider was available. Thatchers Heritage had run out and not been replaced. With time ticking on, we spent very little time in here, as we could still fit in one more pub before our train home!
blue_scrumpy - 14 Jun 2015 10:47
Well, Lizzie is back ! Unfortunately she’s off on her globetrotting again in a few days time, so you need to be quick to catch her.

In other news they’ve started doing a range of specials for £4. The vegetable chilli was excellent ! Beer range remains as before, reasonable but a bit bland. At least they still do Bass from the jug.

Martinsh - 17 May 2015 17:40
One of oldest pubs in the City. Dates from 1530s, lots of tudor-style.cosy and comfortable. Interesting selection of ale, Draught Bass, Greene King Abbot, Marston's Pedigree, Sharp's Doom Bar, Skinner's Betty Stogs and Timothy Taylor Landlord, plus guests. Kept and served well.
Palealer69 - 15 Mar 2015 17:47
Just logging in again to report that the gorgeous / wonderful / charismatic Lizzie has now left !

Apart from that nothing has changed. I recommend their special mixed grill - excellent value at £5.95.

I will be back - once my broken heart has mended !!!
Martinsh - 22 Nov 2014 22:25
This is a great genuinely old pub – I try and make it here every time I visit Derby. Four interconnected rooms with low beams, and comfortable seating – all to the left of the main entrance. [ Kitchens and toilets to the right ]. It is said to be haunted, but I don’t know about that.

They have a range of 6 or 7 real ales available, but most of them are common ones like Black Sheep and Landlord. There are usually a couple of guests, but on my latest visit even they were from Moorhouses and Brains. [ Have been more unusual ones in the past ] Bass and Pedigree are available from the jug if that’s your sort of thing.

Food is available and I have eaten here in the past – but not for some time. From what I remember the meals are expensive, but really good and with large portions.

Unlike the Flowerpot, this place has atmosphere to spare ! It’s never been chock-a-block full when I’ve been there, but there’s always plenty of hustle and bustle around the bar.

Saving the best till last, I can report that this pub has easily the most gorgeous barmaids in town !

Oh, and I almost forgot, another place with pointless music playing – though quieter than some .

8/10 – beer choice could be more exciting. – otherwise excellent

Martinsh - 7 Sep 2014 23:51
Landlord £3.50 but not the most expensive I have had today. £3.60 in The Brewery Tap and only £3.20 in The Brunswick. I am a Landlord fan but the best pint of was the cheapest I had today. Very old pub here oldest in Derby I think. Good food. But not worth the trip unless its for the history.
allyboyy - 12 Aug 2014 21:02
£3.50 for a pint of Landlord bitter. Absolutely shocking.
Muzzy - 20 Apr 2014 12:51
Lovely old place in the centre but very disappointing choice of beers, many from the usual suspects at ordinary pubs like Doom Bar. I had Dolphin house beer from Nottingham brewery but thought it rather average in quality. There were 7 beers on tap and a couple on gravity I think.
Steamer1 - 6 Mar 2014 15:55
This ancient, multi-roomed pub near the cathedral always has several draught beers available including the Dolphin 1530 AD brewed by Nottingham brewery which is served straight from the cask and is very pleasant. For summer drinking there is a large outdoor area and there is live music at weekends. The food is good value. Although this place wouldn't be among my first choices in a city with so many excellent pubs but it is certainly worth a visit!
doctorpint - 25 Jan 2014 17:41
an incredible looking old building, complete with a wondefully claustrophobic layout that old pubs have. low ceilings, exposed beams and a huge array of bits and bobs on the walls and shelves. The snug room had a fire going and in the main bar area plenty of locals were having a decent time.

i noticed the food was well priced and judging by the portions coming thorough it was good value too.

i had a pint of the 'dolphin ale' which was served from a large jug kept under the bar, instead of out of the tap which was a nice traditional touch aswell.

CHELSEA_on_tour - 6 Jan 2014 13:50
stood at the bar for 15 mins no sign of anyone to serve us so we lefted on leaving we noticed the staff were all outside watching the tv in the beer garden/carpark
hairyhelmet - 5 Jun 2013 18:52
Beautiful old pub with lots of tiny rooms running off of the flagstoned main corridor in from the street. Range of beers are mostly regional and national brands such as Pedigree, Bass, Doombar and Tribute although two beers from Nottingham Brewery were also available. Beer quality was very good, and though we did not eat the food did look nice.
ahscum - 11 May 2013 13:02
A fine establishment with a good range of ales and those we tried in excellent condition. We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to choose between the pump and the jug for Bass and Pedigree but were still undecided on the best method of serving these when we moved on: the jug for me but others disagreed. Next time we are in Derby we may make a beeline for Ye Olde Dolphin and drink until a final decision is made. Which may mean a very long stay. But we are prepared to suffer for our art.
Stamfordian - 24 Apr 2013 16:30
stopped off mid-arvo for pint and a bite with the Marzipan Haters, and although we,d missed the lunchtime rush, there were a few punters about.both the food and the beer were first-rate,and well priced.{tho' coming from brighton & hove up here for the week, everywhere seems cheaper!} part of a very good crawl
darkman1828 - 17 Nov 2012 11:42
Fabulous historic pub with wonderful interior. Beer, IMHO, is generally fine with some pints being excellent and others only so-so.
doctorpint - 19 Sep 2012 20:14
You must visit this little pub for the interior alone - it is the city's oldest pub and has a couple of rooms in the traditional (and genuine) olde-worlde decor. Real fire and a nice beer (Wylam Ales). Staff were friendly and it was a very enjoyable visit overall. Try the snug bar - it's very cosy.
mcroyal - 16 Feb 2012 13:26
A number of smallish rooms and a 'history' make this place worth the visit along with some decent beer as well of course. had a pint called Mandril not sure who brews it but it was a drinkable enough beer.
anonymous - 16 Jan 2012 16:15
Visited on recent crawl around derby, liked this place with all its little rooms, the beer from Tower Brewery was excellent, will definitely visit when back in derby
boroboy23 - 8 Nov 2011 12:39
Plenty of ales and rooms to savour your choice. Clientele mixed with a few suits frequenting because of the nature of the businesses in the area. Worth a visit definately!
ng10 - 10 Aug 2011 09:36
Lovely old fashioned pub. Black and White beams on the exterior, mostly stone decor on the interior. Beware the low ceilings and beams and the slightly bumpy passageway. A pub that must be visited for historical reasons if nothing else.
The beer is alright, rarely anything really special and the quality is sometimes lacking. The food however is fantastic and if you are hankering after a mixed grill or nice piece of steak this is the place.
ChickInThePot - 6 Sep 2010 02:20
Classic unspoilt pub on CAMRA's National Inventory of pub interiors. it's adequately described below, and was my favourite pub of the day. Of particular note for me was the splendid wood panelled snug room behind the bar which has a centre circle from the old Baseball Ground. A low ceilinged corridor between this and other rooms is another of the many points of interest. A good beer range too makes this unmissable if in Derby. The one to head to in my book.
Carlurmston - 21 Aug 2010 11:00
A great pub, very reminiscent of York. Decent amount of choice, Bass, Black Sheep, Landlord and maybe 3 others. Place did smell of vinegar but that didn't really bother me. Lass at the bar was friendly. Beer was in good condition. All good!
dynamiteninja - 2 Jun 2010 13:00
I concur with previous reviews. Very unusual layout and a tiny bar - it really does smell of fish and chips. Bowled straight to the bar and was disappointed with the range - how does a pub like this get into the GBG when the Old Silk Mill just around the corner doesn't? Landlord, Adnams Bitter etc were all available, the only interesting beer on was Foundation Stone from the Lymestone Brewery - my pint was OK, but my comrade reported that his was unpleasant. We quickly supped up and left. I'm marking this pub down 2 points because I cracked my swede on one of the low beams - no warnings or anything. Fortunately I was relatively unscathed but didn't exchange any pleasantries with the bar keep on departure.
Sharp - 13 Mar 2010 12:00
Overpowering smell of vinegar and chips, a bit scruffy, average ale quality, average ale choice!
MOGWIE - 26 Feb 2010 16:23
oozes character.
lots of small rooms, some with open fires.
beer good, but a little pricey.
think the food is served in a separate room.
an 8 again from me.

reynard - 6 Jan 2010 12:10
The Dolly may be the oldest pub in Derby but that is no excuse for gentlemens toilets that smell like a midden or are they trying to go for the 16th century theme pub? If so please make the prices reflect that (as in a groat for a pint) while on the price of beer, hey they don't all carry flintlocks and wear tri-corn hats do they!!
HMSpubcrawl - 17 Oct 2009 09:58
crackin little pub which reminded me of york..lovely ale and e dad said it was one of the best basses hed tasted in a long while
graybagsinburyonceagain - 12 Oct 2009 16:17
Nice old boozer. Drank on and off in here for years.

Unfortunately part of the Derby Ghost Tour. Expect to see unknowing victims of fraud led round this and other Derby pubs to be regaled with tales of heinous crimes and ghosts. Utter garbage actually but nobody has had the nouse to take legal action against the founder....and we all know who you are....formerly selling records on the market and now drving a very expensive car, appearing on Sky tv, and being promoted by Derby City Council tourism dept. at council taxpayers expense. Some people rob banks RF but you created Derby Ghost Tours. Charlatan.
Seafarer1966 - 16 Sep 2009 14:03
Tried to get a pint in here on Saturday afternoon. The beer festival was on in town so you would have thought they would have put some extra staff on. Two staff on, three deep at the bar, not good enough.
ROBCamra - 13 Jul 2009 15:26
Always call in while doing a crawl of Derby and usually leave as they only have mainstream beers on, and as I am doing a crawl I want to be able to cope with whatever other pubs have to offer. In April I was pleasantly suprised to find a Tollgate and a Wincle beer on. It was great to find a seat in this lovely old pub and finally enjoy a beer or two here.
gillhalfpint - 10 Jul 2009 15:48
This is an attractive black and white timber-framed Tudor-style pub close to Derby Cathedral in the City Centre.

It's Derby's oldest pub - 1530 AD - a fact of which it makes no secret, judging from the blackboards outside.

It's an old highwaymans' pub apparently - a framed print in the Offilers Lounge tells us that Dick Turpin allegedly stayed here where he had "an illicit affair with the inn's young and beautiful landlady".

The pub interior is a typically cosy wood-pannelled interior with etched leaded windows and a low beamed interior. There's several rooms either side of the entrance and an upstairs restaurant.

( Surprise, surprise !) - several ghosts are said to haunt the pub and local Derby Ghost Walks start here.

There was a good range of real ale available on my visit, mainly mainstream. Sod's law being what it is, on the date of my visit, the only beer that I wasn't familiar with - Nottingham Legends - wasn't on. However, both the TT Landlord and the Deuchars IPA ( 2.85p and 2.75p respectively ) were on form. Adnams and Black Sheep were also on.

The pub is listed in the 2009 GBG.

There's an outside drinking area at the side of the pub and a beer festival planned for July.

You should make the effort to do this one when in Derby
JohnBonser - 8 Apr 2009 13:59
Any pub fan who visits Derby MUST visit here. Traditional unspoiled place with a flagstone floor and an open fire. Nice range of ales (though only one or two are guests, the others being from big commercial brewers). Has a lovely little snug in the middle.
jarofporter - 29 Mar 2009 02:39
The dolphin is an attractive old coaching inn, sitting close by the cathedral.
It is noted to be Derby's oldest existing pub, dating back to 1530. It is said to be haunted, and is included in the Derby "ghost walks".
Enter by the front entrance and you encounter a stone slabbed passageway leading to the main bar with two rooms, a small snug with an open fire, and then on to the outside beer garden at the rear. The bar rooms are smallish & cozy, retaining much of their original features. Some parts were in need of a clean though, as noted by others.
There were three cask ales on. Abbot, Pedigree, and a regional. This seems to be quite a reduction from previous comments! Theres a menu with snacks and mains at quite reasonable prices.
With me, this scores well for its cask ales, meal prices, and historical aspects, i.e. the "olde englishe" factor.
so an 8 from me.

reynard - 6 Feb 2009 13:34
Well worth a visit if you are in Derby. Enjoyed a very nice ale in here which was obviously well kept. The building is very old and has a great feel to it. A cozy little pub which I will look forward to visiting again.
DixieLand - 10 Jan 2009 13:58
Oldest pub in Derby centre I think. Black & White timbered building with several small rooms. The beer quality is good and they have a decent range of beers from the national brewers and large regionals. If you want new and interesting micro brewed beers go to the Flowerpot or the Babington. If you want a well kept pint, sitting on an old settle, whilst reading your paper, then come here. I do regularly.
ROBCamra - 10 Dec 2008 14:49
Probably the most characterful pub in Derby, with a great selection of guest ales. Food range is limited but good value.
daveinbrum - 17 Aug 2008 15:06
Ale 9/10, Food n/a, Atmosphere 9/10, Overall 9/10.
glendavis - 16 Aug 2008 16:32
Beer usually good but disappointed this week by small and unimaginative food portions.
histman - 27 Jun 2008 19:14
Very characterful pub. Quite touristy for such a non-touristy place. Well kept beer (I forget which) and fine, filling food. Well worth visiting.
JonW999 - 10 Jun 2008 22:37
Not much more to add to other comments - age oozing out of every pore here, managed to get into the snug for the first time ever on this trip. Excellent range of ales, although not the best in the city as some here would have it. Always worth your time to wander in here for a quiet pint or enjoy the packed later evenings most nights of the week.
Gristy - 13 May 2008 00:45
All the signage points to this being the oldest pub in Derby dating back to 1530 and the cobbled corridors and low wooden doorways back up the claim. Its a nice looking pub with some decent beers and a cheap menu. It does come across as a bit touristy though, with the eating area being named the 1530 AD Restaurant and various advertisements for ghost walks and the like. There was also a notice about a spiritual medium appearing every Wednesday, I was there on a Wednesday and the next event was advertised as two weeks later, unforeseen circumstances maybe!! Its definitely worth visiting though as it oozes history. The serious beer tourist will also visit the Old Silk Mill across the road and the nearby Flowerpot.

Millay - 27 May 2007 16:54
i agree with all comments but no children allowed in this day and age is a bit of a drawback. b4 any of you post comments about kids running amok disturbing your quiet my daughter has never done that and is well behaved. also as an ex landlord i know that beer drinkers on ave spend about 7:50 families spend on ave 35 so makes good business sense and might enable some of these small special pubs going
pissedagain - 12 Apr 2007 08:01
the best pub in derby - awesome history - awesome beers - i think they had 8 ales on last time i went -including black sheep, landlord, pedigree, duchars - incredible. awesome building too and the food is special.

timothy - 7 Dec 2006 16:22
I think I'm just going to end up re-itterating previous comments here but it's got to be said that Ye Olde Dolphin is probably the best real ale pub in the city.

The beers are well kept and there's always a small, but well chosen selection to choose from, including one of my faves, Black Sheep.

In the winter the snugg is, well, Snug! Especially with the fire roaring, it's toasty cozy.

In the summer, the little beer garden out the back comes alive, and they often have a BBQ too!!

It's a great place to go if you like to chat with friends over a quality pint, and even if you don't like real ale, there's the usual selection of stuff to keep everyone else happy.
0ddba11 - 1 Jun 2006 23:27
Definately the best pub in Derby, great selection of real ales, friendly staff, excellent menu, even a little beer garden round the back, if its real ales your after this is definately the end of town you want to be as its close to The Flower Pot and The Silk Mill, The Bless is round the corner which is also a decent pub if a bit studenty!
Flyssann - 1 Jun 2006 18:57
A real medieval pub, limited range of ales compared to many others in the city but still well worth a visit. Taylors Landlord was in good nick.
Rich66 - 25 Apr 2006 23:07
One of the only 'real' pubs left in Derby. Get yourself in the snugg on a Friday afternoon, and not only well you get a decent pint, you'll also get to meet some of the weird & wonderful clientel, who range from the quite & reserved, to the completely takes all sorts to make a good pub
FATBOY - 15 Mar 2006 18:53
It's all about the beer. A quiet unassuming old (with the emphasis on old, it's the oldest) pub, where you'll get a very good beer.
monteh - 22 Nov 2005 18:27
Lovely pub right by the Cathedral, regular guest ales, several good rooms with a nice fire. The steaks are excellent too, and there's a beer festival once or twice a year.
OldRogue - 22 Nov 2005 16:18
Certainly the nicest pub I found in Derby.
pubcollector - 25 Oct 2005 21:43
Big on olde worlde tourist appeal but could do with a brush up, its looking a bit tired inside. Food is excellent, beer range small but decent, large patio to rear, twice yearly festivals follow on a couple of weeks after the CAMRA festivals.
haddonsman - 8 Aug 2005 10:39
Quite busy at the time of our visit (Saturday 5pm)with food and drink, so the lone member of staff needed to be efficient. We were served promptly with Deuchars IPA (in order for us to check the quality in comparison with our own local - it was just as good!)
salamander501 - 23 May 2005 21:59
Lovely old pub near the cathedral, delightful exterior and interior. Fairly quiet when I was there early in the afternoon. Always real ales on, sometimes have their own beer festivals. The toilets were clean when I was there - a rare experience in English pubs!
Sigmund - 7 Mar 2005 20:12
Simply the best pub in the city centre.Well kept variety of real ales,atmospheric old coaching inn with bar,snug,and upstairs restaurant.Paved beer garden to rear,staging twice annual beer festivals.Derby camra pub of the year previous winner.
Andy - 23 Jul 2004 20:37
The Dolphin is the oldest pub in Derbyshire dating back some 400 years. It still has many of its traditional features including different serving rooms set around the same bar. During the summer months the beer garden is a great place to sit and enjoy a pint, especialy when they have there summer beer festival, and during the winter you can sit by a nice coal fire. The range of beers is very good as is the atmosphere. I highly recommend this pub.
Tom - 9 May 2004 16:52

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