The beer garden is huge. It’s essentially about the same size as the pub itself. It used to be exclusive and known only to its regular band of fiercely loyal, super awesome regulars, but since Leicester’s first pub theatre, Upstairs at the Western, started up there it’s become much better known. But the vibe is still awesome and the people there are lovely.
Not a bad access to sunshine here, you need to pick the right table though to get maximum sun in the after work period, as it does get shaded behind the buildings. Once you’ve got it, it’s lovely and open to the sun.
I’m middling on the smarts here. It is essentially a big terrace, and is a little bit bare, but there are some nice plants and flowers like the clematis that is getting well established. The small courtyard is a bit more homely than the main open area, but it’s well sheltered and comfortable, so although not the prettiest it’s definitely not unpleasant to sit out in.
The wifi does not reach to the garden. End of.
Not very weatherproof unfortunately, when it rains you have nowhere to go but back inside, as the smokers in the garden corridor testify when it is raining. However the walled exterior does protect you from the wind a little bit and that seems to be particularly important this year.
Picnic tables and plant pot ashtrays, all in a decent state of repair, all told. They aren’t particularly visually exciting, but they do the job you need and are pretty well maintained.
The X factor for the Western’s beer garden is the local factor. The people who frequent the Western and the staff are all absolutely lovely. You basically cannot help but get talking to someone new there and it is always fun, sometimes slightly crazy but definitely always worth it because you’ll definitely find someone with a great story to tell.
DING DING DING! Winners! We have pub dog. This is Connie and she’s beautiful and friendly. I knew the Western would score highly in the pub dog category and that is one of my favourite parts of this pub. They’re inside and they’re outside, there are dogs. Marvellous.
Edit: 24/05/15 – Bonus miscellaneous points added for an outdoor bar in the beer garden that we enjoyed on Friday!
Edit: 04/07/15 – I’ve decided to add physical accessibility notes to each of the #beergardenleicester reviews. The Western gets a big tick – flat, stepless access and friendly to wheelchairs or people with mobility issues throughout.