Editor’s blog: Three beers for the creative Orange Tree team!

Published on October 17, 2014

By Matt Wright

Left: A taste of the new beer selection at Leicester’s Obar and Smokehouse restaurant

The Obar and its first floor restaurant The Smokehouse, situated on Leicester’s Braunston Gate, are run by The Orange Tree Group, who operate seven East Midlands venues in total and opened their first pub/bar – The Orange Tree – in Leicester in 1997. Last night The Obar & Smokehouse unveiled their craft beer selection – and what a great selection it is: eight lines of carefully chosen, inventive ‘craft’ keg beers (for ‘craft’, read ‘artisan’ or ‘interesting’), 23 varieties of bottled craft beer, three cask ales, a local cider (Finbury’s Rutland Cider) and several UK-brewed craft lagers. They’ve gone the whole hog and bravely removed all their generic lagers (Becks, Budweiser and the like).

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How I wish The Obar was my local! I take my hat off to the The Orange Tree Group team for splashing this venue with a large dollop of their very own brand of laid-back, quirky, yet – and this is the crucial bit – always professionally done creativity. This professional feel also radiates from the staff, who are friendly, clearly well trained and passionate about what they do.

And of course The Obar isn’t just about the beers, although the new selection has transformed it into arguably the leading craft beer venue in Leicester. Upstairs is the excellent Smokehouse, run by talented head chef Liam Watson, which serves slow-cooked, authentically smoked dishes like 14-hour smoked pulled pork.

If you haven’t visited The Obar and its Smokehouse restaurant yet, I urge you to check it out. It’s relaxed, comfortable, well designed and now has a fantastic beer selection to match the excellent food. I feel so chilled out when I’m in there that it’s one of my favourite venues anywhere.

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The Smokehouse at The Obar is part of the Great Food Club network and offers members a free bottle of craft beer when they dine – more here.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. 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'.