Sunday, 18 November 2012

Cherry Tree, Leicester

The Cherry Tree is a pub I hadn't been in for around 30 years! It was never on our circuit of drinking pubs, even though we used nearby boozers such as The Salmon, and the Highcross Street duo of the Hat & Beaver and Red Lion quite regularly in those days. I think the only reason I went there at all was that it hosted the Merry Cherry Folk Club in a poky room upstairs. It may have been the M&B Brewery logo which put us off at the time, though I'm pleased to say that these days I'm much less fussy about my beer choice where good pubs are concerned.

The position of the pub today is remarkable in that it stands in the shadow of the mighty Highcross Shopping Centre. The city council's pride and joy, and Leicesters very own contribution to the relentless homogenisation of our once distinctive towns and cities. For many people it seems, the Highcross Centre represents a kind of ideal in shopping, eating, and drinking. All the usual chain stores, cheek-by-jowl with the safest, most familiar food and drink brands, all together in one bland, temperature controlled 'space'.  There's absolutely nothing to distinguish it from any other shopping centre in the country, and certainly little there to indicate you're in Leicester!

Which makes the position of the Cherry Tree, and some of the other non-chain pubs in the area, so very important (as indeed is Leicesters excellent, and nearby, outdoor Market). The Cherry Tree is 'very' Leicester indeed. Friendly, traditional, full of character, and characters, and unlike the multitude of bland chain bars and pseudo-pubs clustered around this part of the city, there's a Pool Table where league matches are played, and a Darts Board which judging by the numerous league fixtures lists pinned up in the bar, gets quite a hammering throughout the week. Sadly, many of the proper 'locals' pubs in this part of town have gone for good now, most notably from the perspective of this blog the Hat & Beaver, which had Table Skittles as I recall. All the more reason to visit pubs like the Cherry Tree whilst they're still there to enjoy.

A Wooden Spoon for Dominoes dated 1975 hangs above the entrance to the bar.

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