The Orange Tree has always been a favoured after-work haunt for my friends and I so I was not at all surprised to hear this nomination coming up again and again.
Size and exclusivity
It’s a great size, and it does get very full! Be prepared for standing room only on a really sunny day, or on a hot summer’s Friday or Saturday night. Everyone knows it’s here, everyone knows it’s comfortable and everyone is on it. A good size for the pub, but not in the least bit exclusive as one of the main city centre oases.
The sunshine ratio is not bad. Throughout the day the sun in the garden is amazing, really warming and beautiful. However it does start to dip about the time when offices start to kick out their workers, so you’ll have to be quick to get one of the tables that stays in the sun for longest. By about 5pm or so though, it’s pretty much all over and you are in the shade.
Cosy, slightly unkempt garden chic which could not be more centrally placed on Leicester’s High Street. There are plants, a grape vine that is getting better established each year, the odd choice of blue and yellow paint on the back wall of the pub bringing colour and interest. Plus it’s long and thin enough to sort of have a little air of mystery about. Are your mates out there? Did they get a table in the sun?
No wifi. The wifi does not work outside. Ever. The perennial complaint against the Orange Tree.
Good news for BT customers though, when I checked it looked like there was a hotspot nearby so you might be able to jump on that. I am not a BT customer, so no wifi for me as ever.
Edit: 04/07/15 – I have been informed by the pub that they do now have wifi in the garden, finally! Too late to improve their score, but at least you all know for when you visit!
This is one area where the Orange Tree really excels. You have your permanent covered area, with wall heaters which keep you both dry and toasty. Large outdoor heaters are also available for chillier nights and the biggest pub umbrella ever can also be put up to provide shelter from those April showers for more punters when necessary.
It is just about possible to overwinter in the Orange Tree’s garden…
You will get the odd splinter or flaky paint on you, but to be fair, the furniture is much more regularly maintained, varnished and cleaned than it used to be so it does look in a little better nick than previous years. Whether you’ve brought down a bunch of mates to fill one of the extra long picnic tables, or just want to cosy up with your nearest and dearest on one of the small cafe-style tables, there’s something here for you.
Thankfully because the garden is so busy, the super-loud, rickety extractor from the kitchen (and the noise from the kitchen generally) tends to get drowned out by the hubbub of conversation. It can be a little annoying when you just pop by in a rare moment of afternoon quiet though.
No dogs. You might see the odd pigeon though. And come September, the wasps are all over this place.
Edit: 04/07/15 – I’ve decided to add physical accessibility notes to each of the #beergardenleicester reviews. The Orange Tree’s garden can be accessed via the back gate, which backs on to Freeschool Lane, however there is no disabled toilet and there are both stairs at the back of the pub and a step up from the street to enter via the front door so this pub may present difficulties to people with mobility issues or who use a wheelchair.