The Tap At The Top Of The World

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Climb the heights of Bolsover’s infamous hill and you’ll now find more than just the historic castle and a ubiquitous Wetherspoons (Plus a few more great pubs too). Perched on its peak is a new micropub, the Byron Tap. Over the past few weeks, excitement built as progress was shared on-line, showing the once vacant premises, being transformed into a modern but friendly bar, offering both keg and cask beers. The name of the venue was inspired by a piece of local history, as owner Chris explained: “There used to be a brickworks in the town called the Bolsover Brickworks and they used to make Byron bricks. I’m going to have a little story up explaining the history and connection”.

The new venue was already busy when InnSpire editor Chris Fox visited on Saturday 12th August just after the opening. A friendly welcome was offered from owner Chris Christopher who looked far from daunted despite this being his first time at the helm of a pub. A Bolsover born and bred resident, you could see straight away Chris had put his heart and soul into the project. The reward for months of hard work and let’s not be bashful, it’s brave to open any new business in these difficult times, was a microbar packed full of people, keen to try something different in the area. The place had a great vibe with lots of lively conversations and warm hellos. Microbars and traditional pubs are great meeting places with new friendships quickly made. Real community hubs and such early strong support was comforting to see.

My companion Julia was particularly taken with the display of Bullseye Bully crisps. Something we’d never seen before. You really can’t beat a bit of Bully. Prints and artwork on the walls gave points of interest and the decor was classy but comfortable. Bonus points from Julia for a nice and clean toilet too. You walk into an open bar area with an additional snug room to the right of the door. There’s even an upstairs but we didn’t venture up there, this visit.

For those who like craft beer, there was two keg beers on offer from Thornbridge Brewery: Green Mountain (4.3% Vermont Style Session IPA) and Lukas (4.2% Helles Lager – Gluten Free). We also noticed the increasing popular Cruzcampo (4.4% Spanish Pilsner-style Lager) which Julia enjoyed.

It takes just over half an hour to get from Chesterfield Town Centre to Bolsover on the 1 or 1A bus (Clayton Street). Even better the bus currently only costs a couple of quid each way. Introduced to help with cost of living pressures, the Government fare cap scheme, “Get Around for £2”, helps save on everyday travel costs. Plus, it means more money towards beer. In fact, it’s possible to get a bus from Chesterfield to places from as far afield as Buxton, Clowne, Matlock and Bakewell for just two of our British pounds (£2 each way but £4 to Buxton and back is a bargain for sure). Just imagine all the great pubs you could visit. The scheme runs until the end of October 2023 so there’s still time to jump on a bus and get exploring.

Bolsover seems to be a town on the up. Despite the sad sight of a few closed shops and pubs (One disappointing being converted into apartments just across the road from the Byron Tap), there’s a good range of shops and hospitality venues. Add, the Castle which is interesting way to spend a couple of hours and an Artisan Markets on the first Saturday of every month (7 October 2023, 10:00am – 3.00pm), its definitely worth that bus trip. We’re already planning our next visit and to quote Jim Bowen we thought the Byron Tap was “Super, smashing, great!”.

THE BYRON TAP: STATION ROAD, BOLSOVER, CHESTERFIELD S44 6BE

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN INNSPIRE MAGAZINE.

AUTHOR/INTERVIEW: CHRIS FOX