The Blue Boar, Maldon
Now, given that it was one of Father Brown's hangouts, we wouldn't be the first people to think of (and raise a toast to) G.K. Chesterton every time we enter into a pub of this name. But this late mediaeval coaching inn, filled with brasses and all manner of ageing trinkets, set in a particularly agreeable bit of this town centre filled with pubs and churches, would almost certainly have taken his fancy just as it as taken ours. It boasts "fine wines and real ales": while we didn't try the former, the latter are present in abundance - with up to 12 ales, straight from the cask, just like at a beer festival, on tap, fresh and alive. You should get a good (and seasonal) selection of the local Farmer's Ales - brewed out the back - but also some other highly drinkable stuff (a couple of types of Adnams when we visited). There are two bars - one a bit more raucous, in a good-natured way - and the other a bit quieter and probably more geared towards eating. Unusually, there are also two courtyards, an internal, paved one, and an external, greener one. We also hear that events of various kinds sometimes take place upstairs. Friendly staff, and a decent crowd. What's not to like? It's a hotel, too.
Silver Street, Maldon, Maldon, Essex, CM9 4QE
How to get there