The sign of a good pub is often down to the gaffer and so I found out when I revisited 64 – The Station Inn LE67 8RE last week.
I last blogged about this place back in 2017 https://lifeafterfootball839.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/on-track-for-success-in-swannington/ and it hasn’t changed a jot, but that is no bad thing.
A Thursday evening in Swannington in sub-zero conditions isn’t the recipe for a buoyant boozer, but this place is bucking the trend.
I’m not sure whether it was curry and pie night or the fact they heard I was coming but I reckon there were over 50 people in this place at about 8.30. Bearing in mind this is a local boozer, that is no mean feat.
I’ve been in here about three times in the past 12 months but, even though he was busy, the gaffer made a point of acknowledging me and asking me how my daughter was getting on with her gymnastics.
That is some memory and there isn’t a Uni degree in that skill but it goes a long way towards making people feel welcome.
Which is why there was a massive group of sixty and seventysomething females playing darts in the bar whilst a large group of husbands and partners watched on nursed their half pints, crisps and orange juices.
The pies had finished but the lounge was also packed and more male orientated with a group of thirsty and fortysomethings playing pool, drinking and exchanging raucous stories with a really good atmosphere throughout.
This gaffer once ran one of Britain’s roughest pubs (as it was featured on Sky) in Saltley not far from the Blues ground, and has made this place a thriving little goldmine by knowing his audience and creating a good local atmosphere where anybody is welcome.
Sky Racing was on in the background in the bar and punters were friendly with an atmosphere that suggested it was warming up as opposed to winding down for the night.
I’ve been in here on another occasion where there were just a handful of punters in but the gaffer is consistently friendly and genuinely interested in your conversation.
Swannington isn’t a huge village so the fact two pubs are surviving is a real coup. With a gaffer like this selling good beer as the Pedigree (Marston’s) was spot on and a lively atmosphere then this place is set to stand the test of time.
With Whitwick and Coalville as its near neighbours then there is plenty of competition but The Station Inn is firmly on track.