On Guildhall Lane in the shadow of Leicester, occupying the historic building that until recently was home to Taps is The Gadabout – one of the most recent additions to Leicester’s thriving bar scene. Taking their name from a colloquialism for a habitual pleasure seeker, they aim to be a mecca for just such people.
“It was slightly daunting taking on a building with such an amazing history in the city and clearly close to many people’s hearts” begins director Nicholas Ameer-Beg, “but we saw it as an honour to be the next custodians of a beautiful listed building and really wanted to do it justice, which we hope we have so far”
The refurb is spectacular, but sympathetic to the building, with a definite contemporary direction utilising bold colours and soft furnishings. It’s luxurious to say the least. “We spent around 10 weeks completely changing the decor, including removing the beer taps from the tables” explains Nicholas. “Upstairs you will find a very continental style bar with dishevelled walls against a backdrop of dark navy blue panelling and rose-copper gold mixed with wooden furniture. However, venture downstairs and you will be greeted by some amazing 17th century exposed brickwork tunnels where you can sit and enjoy a drink in plush soft velvet seating, mixing the old with the new to create a luxurious relaxing area.”
While Gadabout definitely impresses with it’s style, Taps stood out from the crowd because it offered a completely unique experience in the city. Does The Gadabout manage to do the same? “The idea behind ‘the gadabout’ revolves around travelling, exploring and to summarise, seeking pleasure’” explains Nicholas. “We want the bar to showcase what the world has to offer with the menu designed to bring flavours and cultures from around the world to life. We try to do this through our drinks in a fun and imaginative way such as our ‘elves, trolls…but never fairies’ cocktail which uses Reyka Icelandic Vodka to pay homage to the quirky Icelandic folklore”
The Taps aren’t completely gone though – although now it takes a very different form… “We are foremost a cocktail bar and our drinks ethos is to play with people’s perceptions of what to expect from a cocktail, a great example of this is our ‘me too’ cocktail which is a twist on a Pina Colada using Monkey Shoulder Whisky. This is the first draught cocktail in the Midlands – the drink is made fresh on site and then put into a keg, meaning on a busy night customers can get a delicious cocktail in a fraction of the time as all the hard work was done before they arrived.”
With new bars and restaurants opening at a breakneck pace in the city it’s becoming hard to make your mark and guarantee longevity for new businesses. While some may see it as a crowded market to be stepping in to, Sonny has a different perspective. “Rather than seeing it as ‘crowded’ we see it more as a growing community of vibrant exciting bars which offer people different experiences and we are thrilled to be part of this expanding community in this amazing city.”
The Gadabout is open now on Guildhall Lane.