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Babington Arms, Derby

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user reviews of the Babington Arms, Derby

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

Standard Wetherspoons clientele. Like a holding pen for The Jeremy Kyle Show. Toilets up a steep staircase. Very good selection of real ale though. Lager on tap is generally stale as this company buys up barrels near the end of their use by date. That's why it's cheap. A lovely interior when it opened but now looking shabby. Try and avoid placing any body parts of the tables as they are likely to stick. The full English breakfast is usually very good.
Seafarer1966 - 10 Sep 2020 12:24
Standard JDW, been in worse.
Blastbeat - 24 Jul 2018 13:22
The term "avoid like the plague" has never been more apt!

Before the pub closing last night, I was completely flummoxed at MICE scuttling around the pub under the tables and chairs! Yes you heard me right!

After telling the young fellow behind the bar, his reaction was equally alarming. It went something like this: "Oh yeah we know about them, they come in from next door which is a restaurant.

"We have put plenty of traps down though."

I rest my case.
realalerules1983 - 22 Oct 2014 18:55
Return visit 7 years on and the beer quality (Pale Rider) was again superb, with lots of other micros if you like that stuff. Service quick and pleasant. Menu is less appealing since they put the huge calories content on the menu.
mtaylor40 - 1 Nov 2013 19:24
Another fine range of ales sampled although the Wetherspoons beer festival was on so there was nothing unexpected to try. Another good breakfast enjoyed by all of us. Always worth a visit.
Stamfordian - 24 Apr 2013 15:58
Don't let the fact that this is a Spoons put you off. If you like real ale/cider then go there.................Nuff Said! ! !
BeerGutt - 17 Dec 2012 13:42
Yes, it has its faults in standard Wetherspoon style but its reputation as probably the best W'spoons in the country for real ale is justified - a large selection, many local, generally stout/porter/mild are available and I have never been served a bad pint over many visits. A good breakfast is available and served with a smile. There is an on-screen beer menu giving all the necessary information on the beers available which makes a choice simple and the place is always worth a visit, especially when seeking out unusual ales.
Stamfordian - 3 May 2012 16:19
Lives up to its reputation as being the best Wetherspoons for real ale in the country. Over a dozen on offer last thursday, with Thornbridge Kipling in fine form. In an area away from Derby's best free houses and near the shopping centres. Well worth a go.
ahscum - 17 Apr 2012 18:06
As far as the beer range goes this has to be Wetherspoons top outlet but it is of course a Wetherspoons and comes with all the usual Wetherspoon isuues (too few staff;some dodgey customers in a vast drinking emporium). However, after a £3.10 breakfast we moved onto the beer and the range is impressive. Tried Stringers from Ulverston but there were beers from all over the place including quite a few local breweries. I just wish my local Wetherspoons could offer such a choice!!
mcroyal - 16 Feb 2012 12:56
Was has this cr*phole got a 7?? This McWhetherspoon is falling apart, the furniture has broken in areas and has been like this for years!! The ale choice is big, but every cask ale tastes average/poor. How can they consistently serve it so poor? Even the lagers don't taste right. What is going on? Only for the price conscious, don't go in anymore, Derby has much better choice.
ChineseForeverMore - 27 Dec 2011 22:02
very good Weatherspoons - just shows what can be done by this chain with the correct management.

mattyd6672 - 5 Jun 2011 07:53
Overall a good Wetherspoon pub. Beer was very good indeed (Thornbridge and Teme Valley tried) with enough serving staff and top up without asking. Beer choice was also very varied at about 14, most being small brewery offerings rather than the usual suspects.

Food was the usual Wetherspoon menu - some of it pretty basic but a good price. They were doing fine mid afternoon on a Tuesday in January - a good cross section of customers.
richhol - 25 Jan 2011 18:12
My first visit to Derby so started the crawl in here. Totally impressed with the beer choice - bigger even than the legendary "Welly" back in Brum. Tried a couple of pints - both in excellent condition. Can't remember what they were as the crawl went on into the wee small hours and the memory is not what it was. Suffice it to say that it's a bit better than the average JDW, and would definitely be on the list for any future visit to the city.
scoobybooze - 21 Jun 2010 16:46
The second establishment to be visited on a recent Derby scooping crawl, and a place which has been regularly raved about by fellow beer tickers.

Arrived to find a solid selection of 15 ales available, 10 of which I required; needless to say, I was mush impressed.

Unfortunately I became less impressed as we worked our way through the beers we needed ... to save time we bought four halves for the first round, all of which were at different stages of haziness and one of which had to be returned as it simply had not dropped.

The second round of six halves fared slightly better, with only two of the beers being hazy, but nevertheless I would expect better from a pub enjoying a reputation such as "The Babs" holds amongst ale afficionados.

The pub also suffers from a near-terminal dose of SIS ('Spoons Interior Syndrome'), with dingy lighting and dark wood everywhere, eliciting a rather shady, seedy atmosphere - not helped by the usual JDW core clientele / Care in the Community-types sat around us gumming their way through the "food" served in here.

All in all, a typical Wetherspoons raised above the mire by a keen focus on Real Ale but let down (at least on this visit) by condition of said ale.

For the record, we sampled the following - a fair testament to the cask focus:

Newby Wyke - 2nd Refit, 5.2%
Falstaff - Siren, 4.2%
Falstaff - The hind of Ceryneia, 4.7%
Cottage - Phantom, 5.0%
North Cotswold - Shagweaver, 4.5%
Burton Bridge - By George, 4.3%
Oldershaw - Blonde Volupta, 5.0%
Magpie - Snowdrop, 4.3%
Zululand - Zulu Blonde, 4.5%
Wentworth - St. George, 4.5%
All_Hail_The_Ale - 4 May 2010 13:12
It's a spoons with a beer menu on the wall which is a great innovation. Apart from that it'd just a good town centre spoons pub.
PerivaleElvis - 1 May 2010 20:32
Another good selection of beers available when visiting Derby for the recent beer festival. Always one to call into and difficult to leave. Always first class service from the staff.
gillhalfpint - 14 Feb 2010 18:14
As always, a wide variety of ales on offer. This is one of the few JDW pubs that I always go out of my way to visit when galavanting around the country.
xh558 - 12 Dec 2009 23:11
There is no such thing as a great Weatherspoon pub, this is the usual soul less place that they specialise in... was passing through derby and sadly ended up here... locals not at all friendly either!
utopiannightmare - 28 Nov 2009 12:58
An average wetherspoons pub.I don't like wetherspoons pubs and this one didn't change my mind.Locals are mad.I went outside for a smoke,when a man sitting outside asked me to stop smoking.Where did he want me to smoke-the train station.
JOHNNYDORSEY - 4 Nov 2009 11:11
great pub this and first one on our wander..nice beer me dad said and manager knew wat he was on about and a nice screen displaying wat beer he had on behind bar
graybagsinburyonceagain - 12 Oct 2009 16:10
Like most Wetherspoons pubs this is a former shop converted to a boozer. Great range of ales on offer, plus a good range of lagers and ciders. Turkish Efes pilsner is available in 500 ml bottles for £1.89 at the mo. Very refreshing. No beer snobbery (i.e. like at the Flowerpot where lager drinkers get sneered and snorted at by the old hippies).

Marvellous manager who takes no rubbish off anyone and deals with pond life immediately (and lets face it most Wetherscums pubs attract their fair share of society's lower cases).

Steak night on a tuesday is great value and the food is excellent for the price.
Seafarer1966 - 16 Sep 2009 13:50
This has to be the best "spoons" pub for real ale choice with a LSD board showing the beers available along with colour grade so you know if they are light or dark beers. Enjoyed 4 of their ales on our visit in April.
gillhalfpint - 10 Jul 2009 15:56
Probably one of the better Wetherspoon establishments though some of the more inebriated Derby folk tend to congregate near to the front but the rear part is quieter. Getting served can be a bit dog eat dog at times but the beer selection is varied and the quality very good.
anonymous - 9 Jul 2009 18:16
VERY good Weatherspoons (recently rated 3rd best in the country). Currently holds the Derby CAMRA pub of the year award. Go in there for the ale! They have 17 handpumps, and a large LCD screen tells you what each one is, where it comes from and what type it is (light/bitter/porter/stout etc)
jarofporter - 29 Mar 2009 02:56
Pleasant and welcoming Wetherspoons, with an excellent range of real ales (including many I previously never heard of such as a tasty Middle Mash from the Berrow Brewery). Usual range of cheap food deals, but thankfully they let you choose any real ale with the Curry Night specials. Nothing special architecturally, but first rate.
rpadam - 28 Feb 2009 17:07
jdw comment:
The site of this Wetherspoon pub was once part of the gardens immediately behind the long-demolished Babington House. This 17th-century mansion was the home of the Babbington family, whose coat of arms depicted two baboons on a large beer or wine cask."
***
This is the more modern of the two JDWs in Derby, and has a more relaxed, "pub" fell about it. It is situated more to the southern end of the city centre, off st.peters street. It has a folding door frontage, which can be opened in in the summer. There is also a small outdoor seating area at the front.
***
The inside is mostly table seating, say for around 100-150, with a long bar along the right side. Our visit was on a saturday afternoon. The place was very busy but bar service was prompt. There were 12 cask ales on, and all different! We didn't try the meals in this instance, but the ales were in good form.
***
verdict:
not so interesting structurally as the Standing Order pub, but a friendly pub with good ale & service. A bit untidy when we called, but I think this was because it was extremely busy.
A 7 from me.

reynard - 5 Feb 2009 14:07
Called in last month as I always do when in Derby and had a couple of beers to start the day's crawl round Derby. Managed to find 4 beers new
to me from the excellent screen showong beers on the pumps.
gillhalfpint - 17 Jan 2009 23:01
Best selection of beer in any Wetherspoons I've ever been in and it all seems to be well kept. At least I've never had to send a pint back and I've had quite a few in here. The foods not bad either for a Wetherspoons. The kitchen seem to understand that if you order a steak medium rare this is not code for "please cremate me".
ROBCamra - 9 Dec 2008 16:51
On the face of it, the Babington is just another of the bog standard plastic Wetherspoons, a rather dull and uninteresting former furniture showroom of little visual merit. The low ceilings, large open floor and standard Spoons livery including the ubiquitous bookcases, sofa area and historical snippets would ordinarily lead me to have a quick sample of the guest beers before moving on. Of course, having a quick sample in the Babbington is a major problem. The staggering line up of hand pumps (18 in all) dispense mostly guest beers with the 2 or 3 regular ’Spoons stalwarts (Pedigree, Abbot etc) pushed to one end and almost hidden from view as an embarrassment to the rest of the selection on offer. Just choosing what to have is a major dilemma but the choice does at least make up for any aesthetic disappointments. To make things a little easier, an electronic screen displays all the beers available along with additional information and ordering should be done by pump number rather than ale name. It is a shame that such a range is wasted in such a bland pub as no matter how spectacular the beer range is, it really needs the surroundings to compliment them and, to be honest, I would gladly trade an 18 ale souless plastic pub like the Babbington for one with more character and just half a dozen decent ales. Top marks must go for the effort on the Ale front and it must be considered a vital stop on any Derby Ale session but it is not a place I could spend any length of time, no matter how many treats they aim at me.
RogerB - 29 Oct 2008 23:27
Most Wetherspoons are much of a muchness but this one stands out from the crowd with an excellent range of beer at great prices.
daveinbrum - 17 Aug 2008 15:09
Ale 8/10, Food n/a, Atmosphere 6/10, Overall 7/10
glendavis - 16 Aug 2008 16:30
not loads of atmosphere but a great pub. best wetherspoons I've ever been in. Well done to all involved
Desertrose - 13 Aug 2008 20:41
Very, very good selection of ales but supping a pint of mild at 11am on a Sunday morning is probably not the optimum time to enjoy a good beer. Friend's brother said his pint was off but mine was well-kept. Friendly welcome, too.
JonW999 - 10 Jun 2008 22:30
Never thought id agree with anyone who called a wetherspoons pub good. I fact I said it would be awful before we went in but I had to eat my own words or is it drink several pints of very well kept real ale! Superb.
tributedrinker - 9 Apr 2008 14:37
Best wetherspoons pub I have every been in.
trains2064 - 21 Feb 2008 18:48
Best Ale In Spoons I've Found, Love the departure board of ales behind the bar!a very well deserved 10/10 without a doubt!!
fat_beer_badger - 3 Jan 2008 12:53
One of the better Wetherspoons I have come across, especially for their real ale selection. They have a massive 18 hand pumps with details of the brewery, strength price etc. shown on an electronic “blackboard”, like the Wellington in Birmingham (q.v.). Unfortunately they also ask you to order your beer by pump number instead of name which makes me feel as if I’m in a Chinese takeaway. The pub has a nice frontage with a few outside tables. Opens at 9am and with breakfast and a pint for around £4 you can’t go wrong.

Millay - 16 Dec 2007 21:16
This is definitely more for the ale drinkers than the place to start your night out. It's the other end of town to Standing Order, and away from the bars so you tend to find it's a bit quieter too. Apart from that it just seems like another Wetherspoons...
mat_tyg - 14 Nov 2007 21:09
Say what you will about Wetherspoons- and they do attract mixed opinions - the Babington presents probably the largest selection of real ales on one bar (excepting festivals). Up to eighteen in prime condition. The pub is pretty much bog standard as I believe it was a showroom but who cares; a pub is for beer!
Alerover - 12 Aug 2007 15:47
Of the two Wetherspoon’s pubs in Derby, I prefer the Standing Order to the Babington Arms.

For me, the Babington with its low ceiling, the dark wooden wall panelling and the lack of natural light make it rather claustrophobic. The plus side however are the 18 hand pumps … most of which dispense guest beers …Interestingly, the Wetherspoon regulars (the Abbott and the Marston’s) pumps are discretely tucked away at far end of the bar.

I know that Wetherspoon’s get a lot of flak about the quality of service, which from my own experience in a number of their other outlets, is probably justified, but it certainly isn’t the case at the Babington because the staff are great and I have never yet had a problem with the service here.

steve2905 - 20 May 2007 18:34
Visited for the Mild Beer Festival and had a great time sampling the many milds on offer as well as a good breakfast to set me up for the day. On my list of places I must visit when in Derby as it the best Wetherspoons I know of for choice and quality of beer.
gillhalfpint - 18 May 2007 12:39
Visited Saturday morning on way to Derby beer festival and found this to be a great pub. I'm not normally a fan of Wetherspoons, but this is an exception, the best I've been in. An excellent range of beers, well kept and quick, efficient service from the staff.
Caraman - 8 Jan 2007 09:46
I went in this pub again recently and found it to be really changed for the better. I'd been in a couple of times a few years back and it was terrible. The staff didn't seem to want to serve you and the whole atmosphere was miserable. The service is now slick and the beer choice is huge (14 handpumps) and wonderfully kept. I've managed to tempt several friends back there and they all agree how it's upped it's game. Must be one of the best 'spoons I've visited.
chick - 28 Dec 2006 15:42
THIS IS A GREAT PUB!!! the best pub in derby, i dont know why its a weatherspoons, the chain connection dosnt do it justice, the best weatherspoons
Kenji_Muto - 13 Nov 2006 20:22
Visited on Saturday - excellent range of real ales on, many local (Derby Brewing Company, Tring) and the ones we tried were in good nick. A pretty good Weatherspoons.
Greenlightsal - 30 Oct 2006 12:14
Amazing 'Spoons - a bit like the Wellington in Brum in
a civilised and healthy setting. Beer quality high on my visit, despite my general view that a dozen or so handpubs is not sustainable.
mtaylor40 - 13 Aug 2006 23:19
Had the full range of Derby beers on, the ones I tried were superb. Don't know if it's the best spoons in the country, but it's certainly the best I've had. Had 17 ales on, food was fine both times I've eaten there
Sandalf - 9 Jul 2006 00:23
Visited this weekend - just your 17 real ales on tap, then...no pumps off or just for show, either, they were all on. All excellently kept, well the six we tried were, anyway! Not the greatest ambience, but with the cheapest pint at £1.29 when we're used to £2.50 plus in Reading, well worth the time.
Gristy - 30 May 2006 14:56
Widely regarded as one of the best Wetherspoons in the country, I think I counted 14 different ales on handpump. I was a bit unluck in choosing a pint of stout that had lingered a day or two too long. Unfortunately the stiff local competition and the fact that I don't really care for the Wetherspoon's ambience means I probably won't return in a hurry.
Rich66 - 25 Apr 2006 22:57
One of a couple of Wetherspoons in Derby. On my last visit, for lunch, we were informed that most of the menu was unavailable due to some (obviously horrendous) disaster in the kitchen.However it is a very comfortable pub, serving a good selection of interesting cask ales, there is limited seating outside. Well worth a visit.Oh! It's just a matter of minutes walk from the centre of Derby...hardly a "backwater"...enjoy!
budvar_1 - 23 Mar 2006 00:01
The problem is that it's at the wrong end of town for most pubs, but still it's hardly a long walk, 3 or 4 mins at most. It's a JDW so your usual JDW stuff applies, no music and daytime is full of OAP's and pissheads. That aside, it's a reasonable place, okay food and usually quiet for a swift pint or two. Fairly good beer choice. Perhaps more suited to a daytime drinking place than an evening.
monteh - 22 Nov 2005 18:20
Not in a backwater - right in the centre of the city. Serves two decent draught ciders alongside the fizzy stuff, several bottles including perry as well.

Probably the best Spoons in the country; twelve pumps serving wide range of beers, each week they showcase a particular brewery at the weekend and they run their own festivals as well as the JDW ones.

It's a low-ceiling building and does get smoky quickly; the rear area is no-smoking but has inevitable drift, savoid it by sitting near the front which is opened out in the summer.
haddonsman - 8 Aug 2005 10:24
I visited last year and it seems to be in a " backwater",not much you can say about spoons,the only thing I have against them is that I am normaly a cider drinker ,spoons sells Dry Blackthorn or Westons but only in bottles,there never seems to be a guest cider in any of them,quite small fo a spoons (as compared to the other one),beer good,staff freindly.
bagheas - 16 Jun 2005 19:53
Paid a visit earlier this month and was very impressed. Great range of Milds (about 8, I think).
Tried four and all were excellent. Although quite busy at the time of our visit (Saturday afternoon) the staff were prompt and courteous. One of the best Wetherspoons I have been to.
salamander501 - 23 May 2005 21:16

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