Ibstock is another one of those former mining towns near to the National Forest that specialises in working class pubs with salt of the earth people.
It’s a proper blue collar kind of place and the pubs reflect that but in an era of gastro (pubs that is not enteritis) it’s a welcome throwback to find pubs where locals come out in force and wear their colours with pride.
There weren’t any Leicester City shirts when I walked into 151- The Whimsey Inn LE67 6LH but a big St George’s Cross flag (you might see it in Russia this summer) adorned one of the walls and I’ve not seen that for quite some while.
It’s a boozer that, from the outside, looks like two semi-detached houses knocked through and joined together, so I was intrigued to see it inside.
As I entered the atmosphere changed from loud banter to dentists’ waiting room and it was almost as if I was being tested to see what beer I chose…
However, a pint of Pedigree (Marston’s) at £3.25 does the trick in these parts and there were plenty of ‘nods’ and ‘alright’s’ as it became clear that my Brummie tones were only here for the beer.
Actually, that’s being a bit harsh as everyone was friendly enough and was happy to direct me to the toilet when requested and one of the punters even held the door open for me when I left.
I really like places like this as, once you are in the door and minding your own business/accepted into the fold, then the locals are usually absolute diamonds.
It was noticeable of the people I saw leave no one was heading to their cars, which is a sure fire sign that this is a good local boozer serving its community and the mix of father and son, Hi-viz jacket, middle aged couple, old boys, very friendly bloke who moved from his bar blocker position, were all in a very small area meaning they were all eavesdropping each other and the banter was increasing.
The Leicester City flag leaves you in no doubt that this is a pub where they like to party like Jamie Vardy and the electronic scoreboard with the dartboard as well as a pool table in the backroom ensure there are some lively times in here I would imagine.
As it was, at around 6pm on a Thursday, there were enough people in to make an atmosphere and there was plenty of thoroughfare of people popping in on their way home from work to show that this place is ticking along nicely.
Ibstock is having a huge amount of housing stock built on the edge of town so the potential is there and this place was clean, tidy and has clearly been spruced up in the not too distant past and definitely had plenty of TLC showered on it.
There were TV screens up, Central News was playing and it reminded me why I watch the news less and less in the current era.
F****** Brexit! Whichever way you voted, and it was a monumental decision, it is now boring the pants off me. I felt like putting my foot through the TV screen as yet another ‘economic expert’ made a gloomy prediction about the future whilst the likes of Nick Clegg join the House of Lords rendering any views from the public irrelevant as they will generally block what they want anyway…
A rare bit of politics there folks but not to worry normal service is resumed as I’ll soon be talking about eighties music, sport and Bass!
On reflection, I thought putting my foot through the TV screen wasn’t the best move to ensure I stayed ingratiated with the locals of The Whimsey so I just read the local CAMRA mag instead (The Half Pint – very good it is too)
I’d like to come to this place on a Friday night as I reckon it would be a hive of activity and whilst I probably won’t show up at noon on Sunday to watch Blues play at Villa I reckon Leicester home games on the box are a riotous occasion.
An excellent local boozer demonstrating how nearly every local in the East Midlands has at least one ale on and drinking it is a sure fire way to break down any barriers as Pedi is the unofficial language of the East Midlands.