Thursday, 9 April 2015

#BeerGardenLeicester: The Rutland and Derby

The beer garden testing continues, for your viewing pleasure. Next we went to the Rutland and Derby, as nominated by @coolasleicester and friends on Facebook. We used to go to the free quiz at the R&D every Monday. It is a fine pub, with nice quality wines and very tasty cocktails. I like it muchly, so I was pleased to pop along in the sunshine and see how everything squared up.


Size and exclusivity 
This is another beer garden which is surprisingly well sized. Not only do they have a decent area with picnic tables and a couple of comfy benches, there is also the upstairs terrace, which nearly doubles the size. It gets busy and full on sunny days, but it's usually big enough that you don't have to wait to get a table outside. You may have to fight for the ones in the sun though, and you just have to strike it lucky to get one on the upstairs terrace on the nicest days in the after-work witching hour.
Early Doors
This place gets it bang on. Correct orientation, first floor seating to get you away from the sun setting behind the city centre buildings, if you get a seat upstairs you will pretty much enjoy the sun from the time you leave work to the time you are done at the pub. The tables downstairs enjoy a decent amount of sun too, so you should be able to find at least a dash of soleil come 5pm.

Smarts
A beautifully presented beer garden. By far the most robust and solidly built picnic tables, all in pristine condition. Excellent rattan furniture, also kept neat. The whole place is always clean,well swept and neatly presented with nice chalkboards. A bit of a slight waver from me at the plastic plants on the table. Admittedly they stay looking neat with minimal upkeep, but I much prefer the real plants in the raised bed.
    Oh, and like the Soar Point, you'll have to live with the astroturf upstairs. I don't know why it's here - maybe the terrace is metal and would be clangy with everyone walking on it. It's not my favourite though. They do have a spiral staircase though, so I think that might cancel it out.
 
Wifi 
Wifi at the R&D is universally not good. They have a BT hub with the original password and there are tables inside where it doesn't work so don't hold your breath for wifi in the garden. I've very occasionally picked it up on the table nearest the door, but that's it. Has no-one heard of a signal booster in this berg?

British-Summer-Proof
Not too bad - they have decent brolly protection, but nothing else.
 
Furniture
As already mentioned, the picnic tables are lovely and solid, probably my favourite in the city. Everything is pretty much like new as the garden is obviously well cared for, even through the winter. Very impressive. 
 
Miscellaneous
The first beer garden we've visited where there are speakers in the garden which are on, which was lovely. However, I have to take a point off because while we were there, they played a Beautiful South song. That is all kinds of wrong.

Pub Dog
Sadly no. No critters. 

Edit 20/05/15 - They have changed the furniture upstairs to just picnic tables and so they can fit a lot more people in to the suntrap, which is awesome, so more points on the size and exclusivity but it is nowhere near as pretty as it was. Inexplicably, they have painted the wall a bright blue, which we are hoping is the blank canvas for some amazing artwork from a local artist - maybe they want to check out our awesome mosaic work...

The astroturf also remains so, while the garden now seats more people, which is great, it is nowhere near as pretty as it once was upstairs. A tonne of lovely planters on the wall would help, as would more fun touches - we were talking about 'hidden' gnomes in the space and so forth, but as it is, it looks barren and unfinished up there. Now the astroturf is a positive bane as opposed to the reasonable feature it was before. And so the mighty have fallen - in my humble opinion (but only upstairs, downstairs is still beautiful).


Second Edit: 07/07/15 - I've decided to add physical accessibility notes to each of the #beergardenleicester reviews. The Rutland and Derby's staff have confirmed that the downstairs terrace is wheelchair accessible.

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