If we look at the ever-changing face of the great British pub, there's one aspect that might be considered something of a constant (alongside the beer of course!). The most successful pubs are the ones that have always adapted to suit the changing needs of their customers, often closely reflecting the social trends and fashions of the time. A notable example of this is the way that pubs have adapted to service the prevailing modes of transport. The famous coaching inns which served the needs of travellers and the early postal system eventually gave way to a network of railway and station hotels, which in their turn were largely superseded by the 20th century roadhouses that sprang up to accommodate the new trend of motoring.
More recently, station bars, refreshment rooms, and other railway pubs have been reappraised by enthusiastic pub operators. Neglected for years, these pubs which are often quite grand affairs, are being lovingly refurbished and re-established as important refreshment stops for both passengers and locals, often with a firm focus on the current trend for real ale and craft beer. There have even been a few micropubs established at rail stations. The pub adapting and changing once again for modern needs.
The Station Hotel featured here is one of the most recent examples of this, a neglected pub in the very heart of Hucknall town which has been comprehensively refurbished and reopened by the local Lincoln Green Brewery as their flagship taphouse.
The team at Lincoln Green can see the potential of a pub like the Station Hotel where previous operators have clearly failed, served as it is by both the nearby rail station and the excellent Nottingham Tram network. They also appreciate the undoubted heritage of a pub like this, a genuine Victorian hotel which thankfully retains a multi-room layout that includes a large function room and several letting rooms. A proper locals pub, and with the excellent range of beers on offer a true destination pub too.
In addition to the pubs separate public bar and lounge, the Station Hotel features a games room equipped with one of the most traditional of all pub games. Anthony Hughes is the owner of Lincoln Green Brewery, and the driving force behind great pubs like this and the Robin Hood (and) Little John in Arnold, another revitalised pub which has already featured on this blog. He's also a born and bred Northamptonshire man, and recalls playing Table Skittles as a lad in his fathers village local. The games room at the Station Hotel presented the perfect opportunity to fulfil a dream and install the local Northamptonshire game in one of his own pubs.
The table is a vintage 1950's W T Black & Sons model, originally from the closed Royal British Legion Club in Hillmorton, Rugby. Skittles tables like this can be found throughout Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties, but I've found no evidence for the game in the counties of Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. Long Alley and the associated indoor game of Devil Amongst The Tailors are local to the Nottingham area, so this table is unusual, quite probably unique to the county, although they do pop up in unusual places in private hands. The boxwood pins and cheeses are kept behind the bar if you fancy a game.
The Lounge Bar (below) has a lovely old piano, and like it's sister pub in Arnold, piano singalongs are planned. There really is no excuse for twiddling your thumbs in the revived Station Hotel!