Leicester pub saves disappointed gin fans

By Conor de Smith

Leicester pub The Black Horse has rescued gin fans left disappointed by the cancellation of Leicester Gin Festival.

The festival, scheduled for November 9 and 10, was cancelled after the organiser went into administration.

The Black Horse, Aylestone, has announced that it will now hold an event of its own on the same dates.

Those with a ticket to the festival can get a G&T and a talk with one of a number of distillers that will be at the event for free.

There will be more than 100 gins at the pub’s gin festival.

There will also be live music and food available at the traditional pub.

Dry Dock pub in demolition danger

By Jack Gabriel

Student regulars have spoken of their dismay after learning that one of Leicester’s most iconic pubs is in danger of being demolished.

Last week it was revealed the Dry Dock could be knocked down to make way for a large student accommodation block.

The boat-cum-pub is popular with young adults and students and the news has not been well received by a number of its young regulars.

 

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HAPPY HOUR: The pub at a typically busy time

 

Chris Clarke, 20, said: “I’d be absolutely gutted if they knocked it down.

“Me and my mates always go in after our football games and training.

“It has everything we like. It’s spacious, good music, pool tables, and generally a good atmosphere when it’s busy.”

Another student, Harry Dovey, 19, said: “I’m hopeful the University will see sense and keep the pub as it is.

“I know other students feel the same way, because it’s very popular given its closeness to the universities in the city.”

The landlocked pub is also popular with both Leicester City and Leicester Tigers fans on match-days, as it is located closely to both team grounds.

John Godrich, 58, said: “I usually go in on a Saturday when there’s a home game for City.”

He added: “I hadn’t heard about the plans, but it would be a real shame to see it go because it’s been there for as long as I can remember.”

Blueprints to build modern accommodation for students in the Freemen’s Common area were originally proposed in the summer, as part of a £500 million expansion project after the University of Leicester.

In a July press release, the University of Leicester said: “The next project to move forward will be the redevelopment of the Freemen’s Common site, adjacent to the central campus.

“The existing student residences at Freemen’s Common are coming to the end of their lives.

“This presents an exciting opportunity for us to look at this area as a whole and how it could be redeveloped to provide a better range of accommodation.”

The development proposals are part of a ten-year vision for the university, and despite their eagerness to accelerate the project, there won’t be calls for last orders just yet.

Feature: Irish pub O’Neill’s reopens after revamp

One of Leicester’s best known pubs has reopened after a major revamp. Reporter Simon Sansome popped in to sample the atmosphere.

Andy Hazel Assistant Manager

O’Neill’s pub in Leicester has been around for ever. Most people living in the city would have walked past the pub or popped in for a pint and a meal. The Irish themed pub sits on Loseby Lane in the beating heart of Leicester. While the whole area has been renovated to a high standard, O’Neill’s used to look like it was lagging behind, with its dark wood, old man-style watering hole and out-of-date menu. They needed to do something to bring this once-loved pub back to life.

The renovated O’Neill’s feels cosy, welcoming and is open for business once again. They are offering an updated food menu from stone baked pizza to tapas and 21-day aged steaks. A new cocktail drinks menu and a range of crafted beers and ciders means there is something for everyone. O’Neill’s has also reached out to the younger generation by offering a new range of Churro doughnuts and dipping sauces.

To celebrate the renovation O’Neill’s launched a VIP night, with samples of the new menu on offer and entertainment with break-dancers, magicians, live music and stilt-walkers.

Long gone are the dark corners and flooring. Brighter lighting helps to create a more relaxed environment.

It still plays host to sports TVs but it is a more comfortable environment with better furniture, menu and, for me, better burgers.

O’Neill’s has welcomed many new and old punters through the doors since the revamp.

Dr Troy Levers, 55, International Law Lecture at Leicester University, said: “I like the environment, the pub feels cosy, the décor has been well done and makes people want so socialise.”

Joanne Gravett, 24, journalist, said: “The food is really tasty, we got VIP treatment and liked the people on the stilts, we took a photo standing under the people on stilts it’s just fun.

“I would recommend O’Neill’s to my friends and family.”

There is also a small private room for hire for a group of 10 people closed off from the bar for private meals and meetings.

Jo Blockly and Dawn Julian said: It’s a massive difference.

“It feels so much bigger, brighter and looks a lot cleaner and not closed off as it used to feel.”

Andy Hazel, Assistant Manager, said: “We have invested a lot of money to give the pub a fresher feel and changed the menu and introduced new music into Leicester by having live bands with good food.”