Wednesday, 8 April 2015

#BeerGardenLeicester: Cafe Bruxelles

The search for Leicester's best beer garden continues with Cafe Bruxelles. Currently, I'm afraid this is not a strong contender, however a new manager had started literally 5 hours before we visited, so watch this space - I'm expecting great things to come and some really exciting changes, not least in the beer garden department.

Cafe Bruxelles is an old favourite of mine, with its fantastic painted, domed ceiling and vast selection of beers, it is well worth visiting the interior if you have never been before. But if you follow the signs you can find the 'Secret Garden', through a dark corridor, up some industrial metal stairs and out into...



Size and exclusivity
The courtyard. It's a good size, with room for plenty of people, and very few people seem to know it exists, so you're pretty assured of having it to yourself. Secret garden indeed.


Mmm... Industrial.
Early Doors
There is a small early afternoon window where the sun shines brightly into the courtyard. It's long gone behind neighbouring buildings by the time the working day is over, however. Maybe stop by and make the most of 241 mains on a Tuesday for your lunchbreak on a sunny day.

Smarts
It feels like a cross between a zombie apocalypse bunker and a Deep South prison exercise yard, on account of the chuffing huge brick walls. There are a few hanging baskets and a couple of trees which have been put out in an attempt to make it slightly homelier, but it needs so much more.
   And, bizarrely there are about a million chairs stacked up around the perimeter. This means there are far too many chairs for one beer garden. It's all a bit odd. If you like novelty, this may appeal to you. Or not.

Wifi
Bruxelles have their own wifi, grab the password from the bar. I very occasionally got a connection that worked while we were sat eating outside. Not great to be honest.


British-Summer-Proof
There are umbrellas over the tables, but they're covered in lichen. Ick. So you can stay a bit dry, but I'd probably go in to be honest.

Furniture
As I have mentioned, there are ALL the chairs. The actual chairs and tables for sitting are OK, they're in need of a bit of a clean and a little TLC but it's all pretty OK.

Miscellaneous
It might be a good place to ride out a zombie apocalypse, unless the zombies do that human mountain thing to cross high barriers like in World War Z. Otherwise, there are no exciting miscellaneous features to speak of.

Pub Dogs
No animal life of any description was available during our visit.

Having scored the main Bruxelles Secret Garden/Bunker, I am inclined to briefly score their seating out the front as well. I think it might score better. Admittedly this is now stretching the definition of beer garden to "anywhere outside a pub that you can have a drink" but you know, all beer gardens are created equal and all that.

Size and exclusivity
Little, just four tables, and facing on to the High Street, so not in the least bit exclusive, but a nice spot for people watching if that tickles your fancy - always an excellent pastime in Leicester.
 
Early Doors 
Absolute winner for afternoon sun. This is the perfect spot for afternoon drinks and squeezing every drop of evening sunshine out of your day.


Smarts 
It's nice enough - the furniture is clean and smart and the frontage of the building is very pretty. It's a front patio, roped off with a few wind breaks, but saying that it is tidy enough to be comfortable.

Wifi
Pretty decent coverage outside the door here. Not too bad, much better than out the back.

British-Summer-Proof
No cover, no heat, no mercy.

Furniture
All neat, clean and well maintained - nice and smart just like the interior of Bruxelles.

Miscellaneous
No hidden extras, it is what it is.

Pub Dogs
Nope.

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