Ashby De La Zouch is a honeypot on a weekend and there appears to be no problems with pubs shutting in this Leicestershire town.
It’s got around 14,000 inhabitants and houses are going up at a rate of knots so expect plenty more potential customers in the next decade.
However, despite its proximity to the M42, Ashby doesn’t have a rail service so, on a weekend, it is too far away to travel economically to any of its bigger neighbours such as Nottingham, Derby, Leicester or even Birmingham.
So, a bit like a smaller version of a Shrewsbury or a Hereford, as it’s cut off from big cities, most of the locals still go out for a drink in the town centre and this makes for a cracking atmosphere and the need for bouncers of a weekend in some boozers.
I have even seen them on the door of 178 – The Shoulder Of Mutton LE65 1AF on occasions of a Saturday evening but, when I popped in at around 5.45, there were none to be seen at this most flourishing of Spoons.
It is similar to many others, and I mean that in a hugely positive way, but there is more of a town centre feel to this place and it is usually quite lively.
To be fair, I have been in here before and it is virtually impossible to get a seat at whatever time or day you come and Ashby is hardly under resourced with boozers.
Ashby De La Zouch is a parochial place but still has niche shops on the High Street which is no bad thing. If you look on their Wikipedia page it is claiming such luminaries as Dan Petrescu (lived there when played for Sheffield Wednesday apparently), Chris Bart-Williams (lived there when he played for Nottingham Forest) and Niall Mackenzie (a Grand Prix motorcycle racer who has now retired to Ashby).
So, from that little lot there is actually no one famous from Ashby apart from people passing through or retiring here, but that will probably suit the locals of Ashby just fine.
Although I should mention that fictitious character Adrian Mole moved to Ashby and his fictitious girlfriend Pandora Braithwaite was named as MP for Ashby. Author of Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend, was asked to open a building at Ashby Grammar School as a product of that link…apparently Dan Petrescu was busy that day.
However, people in Ashby know how to have a good time and this place is heaving on a Friday/Saturday evening.
Take the Saturday I was there and it was clearly just after a recent beer festival of some description as I had a tremendous pint of Mr. Feathers (Uiltje Brewing Company) from Holland for £2.15 and it was excellent.
The place was buzzing in usual Spoons style although slightly more girls on the lash, boys on the lash but it also contained the usual families eating food, couples eating food, old boys, old girls, old couples and just about every demographic you can think of in Ashby in a fantastic mix of pub life.
And fair play to Wetherspoons as this old boozer – dating from 1757 – was shut down until they rescued it and renovated it and has turned it into arguably the most popular boozer in the town.
Yes, there is a wait at the bar but people were good natured and Ashby is a party town so you expect pubs to be busy on a Saturday evening.
There were definitely a lot of people here warming up with cheap booze for an evening ahead but the beauty of Wetherspoons is that they appeal to most people and this is a cracking boozer packing them into Ashby De La Zouch.