This week, Nottinghamshire County Council launched the ‘Best Bar None’ scheme, which recognises licensed premises that provide a safe and responsible setting for customers.
To be accredited, venues must meet a set of nationally agreed standards, including regular security reviews, good capacity management, proactively dealing with intoxicated revellers and providing a robust and effective proof of age policy.
I feel we’ve been doing this for years in Mansfield, resulting in a reduction of alcohol related violence year on year. In fact, Mansfield and Ashfield is now the safest it’s ever been at night time. But is the drinking scene the same as it used to be?
When I was 16 and had a part-time job in the New Cross chippy in Sutton, I vividly remember the opening of Gigolo’s over the road in the New Cross pub. I remember being intrigued about how the pub scene worked. I wasn’t allowed in, I was underage – though yeah, I tried!
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I went out for a proper night out in Mansfield. Starting off in The Red at 7pm and then heading up to Brunels and back down Stockwell Gate to my favourite pub ever, The King’s Head. I loved the ultraviolet tunnel that showed up every piece of dandruff anyone had on their shoulders. It was a black hole with no windows but I loved it.
Actually, Saturday afternoons in the King’s Head were epic. My brother Glyn and I used to go to the old Tesco for our ‘big shop’ on Saturday mornings and nip in for “one” on the way back. The amount of times we came out at 4pm with a by then defrosted chicken and pack of soggy fish fingers beggars belief!
I digress, back to my evening out. After the King’s Head, we headed to Traders on the Market Square, then onto The Swan and The Eight Bells. Staggering a little, we went up to The Horse & Jockey to stick ourselves to the carpet and headed up Westgate to Limos where my nights used to end, unless I forgot my tie, and then we’d end up in Valo’s.
Back in the late 80s, I remember how volatile it was, witnessing a fight in almost every pub. It feels much safer now, and that’s fact – thankfully fighting is rare and carries heavier consequences in 2014.
We older ones will always argue that our nights out back in the 80s and 90s were much more fun – maybe it’s because we were younger then.
But if you haven’t experienced Mansfield’s nightlife for some time, come and try it over Christmas. You may be pleasantly surprised!