Beer Blog

The Bowling Green, Leicester


A new entry into GBG2018 and the main reason we were here. So that Martin Taylor could ‘tick’ it off his list, obviously. If this is a GBG pub then I’m glad I don’t have to go and ‘tick’ all ‘more than 4,500’ of them (that’s how many it says there are on the rear cover of GBG). Exactly how many ‘more than’ 4,500 is, I’m not entirely sure?

If you read the GBG2018 entry for this apparently part original, part modern pub, it says, the landlord is an enthusiastic cellar man committed to serving top class beer. My York Brewery Guzzler was at best, just, 3 on NBSS. I wouldn’t normally choose something local, to me, when I’ve travelled, but the rest didn’t quite do it neither; Adnams Broadside, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, Robinson’s Dark Vader, and Hobgoblin. The choice was a bit like one of those ‘Real Ale’ bottle packs you get given at Christmas from people who know you like beer, but they don’t know anything about beer, nor are they inclined to look further than the nearest supermarket.

This surprised me as it was obviously a student pub and quite busy too, probably because of the student deal on drinks and food. They did a CAMRA discount, but apart from our drinks, I didn’t see much real ale being supped. If you’re thinking it doesn’t look busy from the photos, that’s because most of the punters were sat in the long narrow part beyond the bar, and I didn’t think anyone wanted to see photos of ‘a typical modern town pub’, so I just photographed the more characterful bits.

The menu had similar discount deals, buy two meals at reduced price and different offers on different days, sort of thing. They’d run out of jacket potatoes though (seriously)! I reckon Walker’s must have commandeered Leicester’s entire allocation of baking potatoes, leaving a city centre boozer without this most basic of British staples. I had to have Chicken Chili Noodles instead, which were very nice, but a bit pricey for what you got at £7.79. Pubcurmudgeon enjoyed his steak though the aroma of which made me wish I had chosen the same.

My first impressions, scrawled into my little notebook, based on the ale choice, what I saw around me, and the missing menu items, says, If this place is in GBG, makes you wonder what the rest of the pubs round here are like?

I might be being a bit harsh here because to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with the pub, if entering through an olde worlde frontispiece into a bog standard long modern town pub, complete with all day TV, pool table, and a very staid selection of ales, is what you want. The inglenook fire place in the front room looked very original, indeed impressive, even if the fire itself was an electric one. The toilets were good and the staff pleasant and efficient, the decor pleasant and the whole place clean and tidy. Whilst hovering between the inglenook and my seat at table #3, in the front window, waiting for our food order, I was told the pub was part of the Stonegate Group. If you’d covered the branding up I’d have been convinced I was in a rogue Wetherspoon’s which had procured Sky TV.

Verdict – Would have gone to Wetherspoon’s if I’d known in advance about the very average beer selection and the absence of jacket potatoes and limited replacement healthy eating (low fat) options on the menu.


4 replies »

  1. I had a busman’s holiday too and went for the Robinson’s Dark Vader, which was a comfortable NBSS 3, but nowhere near as good as it had been in the Brewery Visitor Centre the previous week.


  2. It was only recently rebranded by stonegate back to it’s original name. For many years it was The Polar Bear and was a yellow scream pub, £1 a pint nights etc
    It’s location right by DMU means it can’t be anything other than a student pub really.

    Liked by 1 person

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