The Blue Boar had me well and truly fooled. Convinced it was an old pub, I was surprised when the lass behind the bar put me straight; apparently it’s only been open for twelve months and before it had been a solicitors office that had stood empty for ten years.
The second conundrum was; is it a pub or a micro-pub? It felt like a pub. The only thing that sort of made me feel it was a micro was the, on the same level behind a glass screen cellar. I’m firmly of the opinion that a proper cellar is a key arbiter in defining a pub from a micro-pub.
The second one is the toilets; the Blue Boar has a separate Gents, which is more than a single water closet, indeed there were two urinals, fashioned from aluminium kegs. Presumably there will be many of the more adamant real ale campaigners who will be thoroughly amused at being able to wee into half an old keg? The toilets were well presented and of a high standard of cleanliness.
The decor was pleasant in that sort of bare floor, plain wood, hop garland round the bar, old casks for seats and tables style that is the, no longer very original, signature of so many micro-pubs.
At 2.30pm there were eleven men in the pub, small groups and individuals, all supping beer and some eating the excellent value and very hearty Cheese Cobs, at two quid a throw. I saw an odd one drinking a bottle of Sam Smith’s, of which they had a decent range.
I didn’t think the beer selection was particularly scintillating, so I went for the most interesting option Titanic Kölsch, £3.30 a pint. It was nice, and I’ve got it down as NBSS 3.5 going towards 4 in my notes. I’ve just looked at the pub website, presuming the ‘real ales currently on tap’ section is updated, and I’ve no reason to doubt it in this obviously well managed little place, it seems like I went on the wrong day!
Reading the current list (22-10-17) was a bit like getting the one liner on Bullseye – Look what you could have won lads! Wilde Childe Instant Hobo (watch this Wilde lad, he’s turning out some real stunners in cask and keg), Vocation Chop & Change, and a NZ hopped ale from Dancing Duck; as well as several Leatherbritches brews, including the Blue Boar house Bitter which they brew for the pub.
Maybe we just got the choice of the lame ducks left over from the weekend on our Tuesday visit? Something that one of my frequent haunts rectifies by having a £2 a pint Tuesday, which is one way of increasing your turnover and not having tapped casks hanging about.
One element, that should be adopted everywhere, were the lined glasses. Like you get a full pint to the line, and a head. Thankfully, although the Blue Boar have taken on Sam Smith’s bottles, they haven’t adopted their sharp practice of a 5% surplus performance target! Top marks to the Blue Boar management here. I think Pubcurmudgeon said it was someone called Kieran Lyon of Thomas Lyons pub company, who also have The Ale Stone in LE2. No doubt that will also be a quality watering hole as well.
On balance, the Blue Boar is more Pub than Micro, I reckon. Much more pub than micro actually, and I’m sloughened that we hit it on what was obviously the wrong day to suit my tastes in cask beer.
Verdict – Proper nice little city centre boozer with a decent range of cask ales on. One of the three better establishments that I visted on a recent day trip to Leicester and one I would return to; often if I lived down there.