Which is the best pub in Leicester?

While you’re here, why not check out the Leicester Happy Hour Directory?

There has been much consternation in Leicester’s beer-drinking social media circles over the last 24 hours. A poll in the Leicester Mercury picked 19 pubs, seemingly out of thin air, and asked which of them was the best pub in town. There were a huge number of glaring omissions from the list. The best of a bad bunch, one of the only serious options on the list so currently at number one, Tonne, is not actually a pub, but a bar. I checked all over the internet and cannot see them call themselves a pub anywhere.

I think it’s fair to say that whoever wrote the original poll is not a dyed in the wool pub-goer.

So, this being something of my specialist subject, I decided to create my own poll. It has over 50 pubs and took me about 15 minutes to pull together. I am not declaring this comprehensive – I already realise I have missed off the Dove in Evington for example, so feel free to add other pubs in the comments below.

If you want to read more about my thoughts on pubs, scroll on past the poll, but if you’re only here for the clicking, here it is… (I’ve also taken the liberty of entitling my poll ‘Which is’ rather than ‘What is’ the best pub because it feels more comfortable grammatically.)

Edit: I’ve had to take West End Brewery out of the vote as someone’s taken it upon themselves to cheat. Thanks to Josh, the owner of the West End for pointing out the discrepancy to me. WEB were on 26 before interference by my count. If your vote is for them, please now add it in the comments below with a logged in profile, not an anonymous one. We value honesty here at Extreme Housewifery, and I can see your voting times and IPs!!

EDIT 2: I deleted the poll because there was no way to close it.

View the results here

What makes a pub?

The concept of definition has been the interesting thing for me. As I mentioned, I would not have put Tonne on the list because they are a ‘craft beer bar’. Calling yourself a pub is pretty much number one on the list of how to be a good pub. For that reason I wasn’t going to put Firebug on the list either, but once Tonne were on there it only seemed fair.

The real ale crowd were up in arms (and rightly so) that many of our finest real ale pubs didn’t make the cut on the Mercury’s version. The Blue Boar, The Two Tailed Lion and The Real Ale Classroom were all notable in their absence. Well kept beer is perhaps number two on my list of things a pub should have. I’m going to stop writing that mental list now, because it is going to get complicated.

Duffy's Sessions live Irish Music at Duffy's Bar Leicester
The Duffy’s Orchestra – part of the beating heart of that pub

It is clear from the voting so far on the newspaper poll that a friendly environment, an affordable pint and occasionally daytime karaoke (yes, it’s an alarmingly widespread phenomenon here in Leicester) are all valued highly by the general public outside of the real ale drinkers. I have no doubt that a good selection of gins, pool table, showing Leicester City or Tigers games and a well made cob are also valued.

What makes a good pub for you? Whatever it is, recent CAMRA research showed that the Great British Pub is a vital hub for wellbeing. Regular pub goers are now shown to suffer less from loneliness from other folk. It looks good, it tastes good and by ‘eck, the pub does you good. So whichever venue you prefer, let’s all agree that pubs are a good thing and support them by stopping in for a swift half whenever we can.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

11 thoughts on “Which is the best pub in Leicester?

  • I’m going to go with Knight and Garter because unfiltered Budvar.

  • Such a great city for pubs, and thankfully loads who welcome families with kids in the afternoons. For me, Dover Castle gets my vote – I can’t think of anywhere more friendly and welcoming (or hilarious)!

    • Ah, I still remember our night at the Dover fondly Jamie!

  • Last Plantagenet now closed. Had to take beer back in The Dove on the last two visits so wouldn’t worry about missing it off.
    Pubs will always be different things to different people .

    • Has it already shut it’s doors? I knew it was going, but not when.
      Sad news about the Dove, that’s not great to hear.

      I think the diversity of what pubs offer is one of the things that makes them great. That’s why it’s so difficult to choose one on the list!

    • Love this and absolutely agree, different things to different people.
      Some great pubs on this list (some bloody rubbish ones as well) but apart from my obvious bias I have had times when 4 or 5 of these have been my faves, Craddock, Parcel Yard, Globe, K&G, Western & Old Horse have all floated my boat for a period of time.
      Leicester has some magnificent venues, just try and visit as many of them as you can.

  • Astute observations Laura. We have some great Pubs in Leicester. A warm welcome goes a long way to making a pub good in my book.

    • Thank you – yes, general friendliness is probably my bottom line. Even if I’m on my own I’m more than happy to visit the Blue Boar, Duffy’s, the Real Ale Classroom, The Two Tailed Lion or West End Brewery (in alphabetical order to avoid bias lol) because I know I’ll get a friendly welcome and more than likely have someone to chat to, even if I’m just irritating the bar staff.


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