Warning: Nottingham Forest fans may be offended by content
Leicester was much as I expected yesterday, and I didn’t think I’d find much surprising in my last Leicestershire pub for the season. I think I may have found a classic rural local in the Plough at Bruntingthorpe, in Harborough District.
The large triangular stretch of nothingness between Lutterworth, Oadby and Market Harborough doesn’t have a lot going for it, apart from those funny village names the county specialises in. Willoughby Waterleys and Smeeton Westerby sound more like the names of the Masters of the Hunts that undoubtedly provide the village highlight round here.
But the customers in the Plough at a quarter to five are much more your village tradesmen, and they provide the buzz, humour and beer turnover that makes the Plough so good.
The layout is perfect. Four separate drinking areas (though the one below was more of a furnace), including one distinct one with skittles.
It’s some way from your typical country foodie pub, and feels very reliant on beer, Carling or real ale. Whatpub tells me it’s just cobs which sounds perfect to me.
A chatty Barmaid served a pretty perfect Bass with a tight head in an immaculate glass. It was as good as the Black Lion in Leighton Buzzard, NBSS 4.5. All I want for Christmas, Mrs RM, is a return trip, just to check it wasn’t a fluke, but this wouldn’t have been a peak turnover pint.
When Bass is this good, I despair at the lack of promotion outside the East Midlands. I’d guess Bass was the most popular beer from a reliable range alongside Abbot, Tribute and Theakston; the sort of selection I often read described in derisory terms in local CAMRA newsletters.
It feels very homely, reflecting it’s conversion from a row of cottages with their own features.
I suspect it could hold most of the small village (though there is a second pub) in bench-seated comfort, though no doubt some folk would consider the decor a bit tired. The Notts County memorabilia is worth a look, and extends to the Gents urinals.
I suffered for that Bass photo – the fire was the hottest since the Dead Poets. I fear my Bass obsession is going too far now.