Leicester bar relaunched to specialise in craft beers

Phil Hewitt & Liam Watson The Obar.jpg

Independent pub and bar group The Orange Tree has revamped its Obar in Leicester, to turn it into a bar specialising in craft beer.

Relaunching today, the bar in Braunstone Gate now has one of the most extensive craft beer selections in the city, with over 20 different bottles, 14 beers on draught and two ales.

The range includes beers brewed by local breweries, as well as craft ales and beers from as far away as Iceland and the USA.

At the same time, the bar has been given a facelift and begun offering a new bar menu created by the Smokehouse restaurant above The Obar, which opened permanently earlier this year having initially launched as a pop-up venue.

Phil Hewitt, general manager at the Obar, said: “The craft beer we’ve been offering upstairs in the Smokehouse has been going down a treat, and in general terms craft beer has been rising in popularity, so we decided to give the Obar a fresh look and introduce a wider range of craft beers.

“We believe we’ve created something different – not just for Braunstone Gate but for the city of Leicester too.

“We plan to rotate the beer we offer, as well as feature guest craft beers, so that we can serve a dynamic range and appeal to all tastes.”

Phil has been working with chef Liam Watson to source beers that complement the food being served at the Obar, as well as beers that are likely to be popular with punters.

The venue has introduced four house beers from London brewery Meantime, a rotating selection of up to three local cask ales and a range of imported American keg beers.

It will serve a wide selection of imported and home-brewed bottled craft beers from Europe and the US, including brews from the likes of Camden Town Brewery, BrewDog, Crafty Dan, Innis & Gunn, Blue Moon Brewing Co, Goose Island, Brooklyn Brewery, Anchor, Founders and Sly Fox.

It will also serve Orchard Pig Explorer Cider, produced in the West Country.

Director Ben Hings, who runs the group with Gareth Smith, said: “Innovative flavours of beer developed by breweries have become very popular with beer connoisseurs and bar-goers in general, and we’ve worked hard to create a range that we hope will appeal to drinkers in the Braunstone Gate area, and will also encourage people to come from other areas of the city to try the craft beers.

“After getting fantastic feedback last year when we opened the Smokehouse as a pop-up venue above the Obar, we launched the restaurant permanently earlier this year and it’s now become a popular place to eat in the city.

“As a natural extension, we’ve recently begun offering lighter, smaller meals from the Smokehouse menu downstairs at the Obar and the new range of craft beers we’ve introduced fits very well with these dishes.”

The Obar was opened in 2001 as the Orange Tree Group’s third venue. The company also operates The Orange Tree in High Street, Leicester, The Lansdowne in London Road, Leicester, late-night venue The Basement in Wellington Street, Leicester, and The Orange Tree and The Kelso in Loughborough, and The Orange Tree in Nottingham.

The Obar at 59-61 Braunstone Gate is open from 4.30pm to 2am daily.

Pictured: general manager Phil Hewitt with chef Liam Watson at The Obar

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