Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Unicorn Inn, Lutterworth, Leicestershire

The Unicorn Inn is an old favourite of mine from when I lived in South Leicestershire in the late 80's. Pubs like this are often described as being 'Basic', or 'No-Frills'. I think this does pubs like the Unicorn a great disservice.

I was in what I would describe as a basic pub today. A recent bland identikit refurbishment of a historic village local. Pointless vintage items dotted around the pub, none of which have any connection with the village or its community. 90% of the space given over to dining. The main attraction in the token bar area was the plasma screen showing sport. Lighting too low, noise levels too high, beer range very average. There was little sign of anyone being there to mix socially or step out of the cosy comfort zone of their own social clique. Basic, boring, and sadly all too common. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

The Unicorn is a genuine town centre locals pub which has changed little over the years. It doesn't need to because what it does, it does so well. The owners, staff, and locals are a friendly bunch, happy to chat, and welcoming to visitors like ourselves. The bar is a regular meeting place for people who still appreciate the true value of pubs as neutral venues to mix socially, drink good beer, and play the kind of games which have been enjoyed in the area for generations. There really is nothing basic about this pub at all. It's a fine, unpretentious pub, and I love it!

Table Skittles and Darts are the principal games played at the Unicorn. The pub field several teams in the various local skittles leagues, including Mens, Womens, and Mixed teams. The skittles fixture list can get so crowded at times in the Unicorn, that a second table has been set up in the lounge for additional games.

The trophy cabinet in the bar of the Unicorn is quite large by necessity, and crammed with silverware from many years of success in the various games played at the pub.

This photo in the bar shows the team of the long closed Engine Inn, Ullesthorpe near Lutterworth, winners of the Ullesthorpe & District Darts League (1951-52)

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