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.
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.
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.
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”