LEICESTER PUB CRAWL – “Can one desire too much of a good thing ?”


Another Pub Blogger Crawl, another opportunity to whine about too many handpumps.

A Tuesday in Leicester, comparing notes with Old Mudgie of Pub Curmudgeon fame, Richard of Beer Leeds fame, and Paul Mudge of Stafford, which is fame in itself.

Historians may one day be interested in this annotated itinerary, and wonder about the deviations we made.  Thanks to Leicester CAMRA for producing an excellent leaflet.


We arrived in town just as Shakespeare was being relieved of his duties. Even Pub Curmudgeon wasn’t up to the challenge of auditioning to be his replacement.

At least Shakespeare left us with a catalogue of clichés for me to weave into my Blog. That’s me with an English Lit “O” Level Grade C and a vitriol for the Bard’s farces.

I bet the Mercure Stage Hotel in Wigston has seen dramatic farce over the years, but we got a dull “Crossroads” experience. Slightly over my budget, but worth it for free parking, six pillows, decent buffet breakfast, and challenging craft beer range.


2017 in Leicester, folks

BRAPA assured us Leicester was a dour, miserable place.  Not my experience, but then I was last here the night they narrowly avoided relegation by winning the Premiership.

We noted the grumpy Stagecoach Bus (£4.20 Day Ticket) drivers, unresponsive to our cheery “Thanks mate” as we jumped off near the Barley Mow.


After annual trips for pub ticks and the odd gig, I thought I knew Leicester, but even on this fairly tight crawl I found new gems.


Richard was struck by the contrasts. Imposing buildings and Marco Pierre White gastronomy rubbing shoulders with rundown housing and buildings with tree growing out the top.

For logistical reasons, we were making the Ale Wagon our first stop.  I’d wanted to do it last to ensure there were old codgers in there (apart from us).

Pleasingly, there were already ten blokes in there at midday. Classic ’70s CAMRA “Workingmans boozer“.  It’ll get its own blog post, perhaps just for the loos.

Note starting on pints

By a distance, this was my Pub of the Day.  Not one Mrs RM was sorry to have missed though, tucked up at home with a four pack of Elvis Juice.

The next six hours saw seven more pubs of varying character but pretty uniformly average beer.  That first Hoskins HOB was the only beer topping NBSS 3, though none of the beer was bad, as Pub Curmudgeon noted here.

We followed a classic Blokes Boozer with the Bowling Green, a cheap and cheerful Student Dining Pub.

Mudgie had to fetch the beer mats


Being a student pub there’s beer pitchers. Not quite as attractive as the tubes in Cuba. But then this is Leicester.


No-one asked for a pitcher of the Dark Vader, oddly, but that  wasn’t bad, and nor were the Fish & Chips.  Not much ale being served though, even with CAMRA discount.


Pub 3 was the obligatory micro, only open since June ’16 and already in the Guide. The Blue Boar was unusually pubby though, and the  chunky cobs/barms/rolls (delete according to preference) hard to resist.  I didn’t rate the Titanic Kolsch quite as high as some.

Everyone looked like us though.



Sadly skipping BrewDog, we made the famous Globe, where again the gorgeous interior topped the average Everards.



Here Mudgie delighted in taking back a tired Old Original, with other beers not much better.


At the time the Guide above was produced, this would have been a busy pub selling two beers, now a quieter one selling more wine and coffee than an overambitious cask range. Still, the random bloke demanding when NEXT shut provided a highpoint.


Not much time on the crawl to appreciate Leicester’s culture, though I did divert the group via the Castle ruins (and a dead end) to Pub 5.

GBG regular the Black Horse was added due to fashionable 4pm opening at the West End, and I made it a runner-up for Pub of the Day.

Not just for the art, or Edna the Pub Cat (top), or the classic  blues soundtrack.



The chatty landlord recognised us as ne’er do well pub tickers and sympathised with the “Quantity v Quality” dilemma. A proper boozer, just a bit quiet, until our table started to argue about “Big towns without railway stations“. One for Tom Irvin, that.


Pub 6, the West End Brewery Tap was a bit Brewhouse & Kitchen, though with a pleasing influx of youngsters that kept the homebrew tasting fresh.  A cider press being set up at the bar was intriguing, if a bit of a cliché.

I failed to steal the Bass sign, but I did get free comics.



Across the Soar for an unscheduled half in the Criterion.  The beer was cheap, strong, but not especially cool.


Here Richard stole Mudgie’s Bombay mix, but Mudgie soon had something to celebrate.

For ten points, what was it ?


Scarily, it was almost dark by now. Where had six hours gone ?


Richard took his 3,750th picture of the day outside the King’s Head, which should have been a highlight.


Sadly, another Black Country Inn with more handpumps than customers. Again.  I finished on the craft keg. I won.

Leicester 2017. Great company, a pub cat, varied architecture and pubs, some decent beer, just a few too many handpumps.

As Craig Shakespeare wrote in “As You Like It“;

I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it



44 thoughts on “LEICESTER PUB CRAWL – “Can one desire too much of a good thing ?”

  1. I forgot about the Bombay Mix, I honestly thought it was complimentary and never realised Mudgie had purchased it with his own money. But what was he cheering about? I remember it, but have honestly forgotten what was the source of his great pleasure?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was only £3.60 for a pint of Blackjack 6.8% so I reckon it would have been £1.50 a bowl. Interestingly, my notes, before I was properly informed, says – nice touch with complimentary bowl of Bombay mix on tables!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Shocked no Richard the Third gags despite the company!? Was in Blue Boar on Sunday and beer quality was very good there as was the gorgeous aroma of the fresh hop vines. Converse of big towns with no station is small towns with more than one station. I bid Ardrossan (3 stations).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d no idea what the last one was going to be like. I just knew I had found a good one. It doesn’t matter what game you’re in – if you find a good one, stick with it! Guess that’s where I differ from an out and out pub/beer ticker.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s closed since March and up for lease. Owned by enterprise. There were a few rumours but looks like no ones interested in taking it on, yet. Rent and conditions are unrealistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just out of curiousity what is your definition of a big town with regards to railway stations? 100,000?

    I like the Secret Roof Terrace at the Black Horse. 🙂

    And with regards to the fellow pouring the beers at the King’s Head; what is it with those toque like hats?


    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was surprisingly (don’t tell the wife) a good time. I enjoyed it more that I thought I would, owing to the fact I had to squeeze a day of work in whilst there.

        It was primarily a sister-in-law, with dinner with one of her sons (plus his wife and two sons) at a nearby pub one night. The pub was good by Canadian standards. Even had my current favourite bitter on draft (keg, not cask of course). A tad pricey, working out to roughly 6 pounds a pint with tax and tip; and to be honest I prefer the flavour of the bottled version which I have at home – but still good and very nice bangers and mash for dinner. 🙂

        To probably give out too much info the sister-in-law is the widow of my wife’s oldest brother who died of cancer last year in his 70’s. She recently moved into a condo by the water on the south-east side of Victoria. Very nice area. We went for a four mile walk our second night there; first along the water and then back along the road with a view of some lovely (and expensive!) houses. We walked to the pub the first night for dinner, just over a mile. Basically where she lives is like living in a village next to a large metropolis. She just sold and downsized two months ago and where she is now is a perfect fit for her.

        Ok, that’s enough babbling. In short; good company, good beer, good food and it made my wife happy. 🙂


        Liked by 1 person

  4. That about sums up Leicester for me for the last 40 years. ‘Beer’ pubs have come and gone, but there’s never been the kind of momentum for a truly vibrant growing beer ‘scene’ that nearby Derby, Notts, or even Loughborough have had. Even little ole’ Hinckley challenged Leicester for a time. Considering it’s on my doorstep, I find I’m rarely in Leicester for beers these days, it’s not a patch on Stamford!


    1. That’s harsh. I’ve no time for “beer pubs”, the Real Ale Classroom and Blue Boar (and that place next door) seemed about as crafty as you’d need, but you can have a good night on the beer with music in The Musician and a curry on London Road. Not enough Bass, of course ;-0


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