Classic Pub of the Year: Great Food Club Awards 2020

Winner

The Black Horse at Aylestone, Leicestershire

Finalists

The Green Man at Ropsley, Lincolnshire
The Geese & Fountain, Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire
The Stamford Arms, Groby, Leicestershire


The winner is The Black Horse at Aylestone. It’s a wonderful surprise when The Black Horse suddenly appears when you walk around a suburban corner in Aylestone. The joy continues when you walk through the front door.

For us, The Black Horse is exactly what a ‘real’, ‘proper’ or ‘classic’ pub (whatever you want to call it) should be. It’s well cared for, friendly, cosy, unique, laid-back and serves unpretentious homemade food alongside good cask ales and real ciders. The homemade fish and chips with mushy peas we ate here was spot on.

Mini fish & chips at The Black Horse (the chips came in a separate bowl and aren’t pictured)

The Geese & Fountain is a village pub that works hard to offer something different and of high quality. The beer selection is ever-changing and seriously good, and the food is locally sourced, homemade, pleasing and hearty. If this was our local, we’d be ecstatic.

On our visit, we enjoyed choosing from a selection of 40 local sausages and around 30 ciders during the Geese & Fountain’s Sausage & Cider Festival.

The Geese & Fountain offered 40 types of sausage at its Sausage & Cider Festival in October 2019

The Green Man at Ropsley also ticks all the ‘proper pub’ boxes. It’s a superb asset to the village and simply a great place to be, especially in the warm and buzzing bar on a Friday night.

Local sourcing is a high priority here, and when we visited, it was a pleasure to wander in and eat a delicious Lavinton Lamb burger.

The Green Man’s Lavinton Lamb burger

The Stamford Arms is a large, bustling, well-run pub with a big menu and friendly staff.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.