THE ORANGE TREE - LOUGHBOROUGH
Located on the edge of the small town centre of Loughborough and just about 1 km from the main campus of Loughborough University, 'The Orange Tree' is part of a small chain of bars based in the East Midlands region.
As you walk in through the front entrance you will immediately be struck by the quite modern art deco feel to the place. Frankly I think it looks a little tacky but it seems to do the trick for most. There are a few sofas located in the front windows of the building and they are so comfortable that you could easily fall asleep on them after a few too many beers.
Music is played into the bar throughout the entirety of the opening hours. The choice of music is usually quite mellow rock type music, and this is pretty much in line with the general relaxed and chilled out ambience of the place.
On weekends, the bar is extremely busy and it can be quite disconcerting. During summer months the beer garden is generally opened up which can free up valuable socialising (drinking!) space. If you are not one for busy bars then it is best to go during a weeknight when it will always have enough customers for there to be an atmosphere but not busy enough for it to become claustrophobic and make it so you have to wait far too long to be served.
Throughout the day food is served and while you would not describe it as a gourmet menu, a good selection of standard bar foods are available which is always a fine addition to a nice bar. You can buy snack type things such as sandwiches or something more substantial like a veggie burger for example.
The one potential negative for the bar is the cost of drinks; When I last visited friends in the area (mid 2007) it was roughly £3 a pint for standard lager/bitter drinks, and I am pretty certain that the prices are similar for bottled drinks too. Now for some people, this would end the debate as they simply refuse to pay the prices but for me it is personal preference to pay extra to drink in a bar with a nice atmosphere with a more respectful clientele than to pay £2 a drink and be living in fear of some moron that has had too much to drink starting a fight with me.
The target market for this bar is not entirely clear. The OT has a mix almost split down the middle of locals and students and they seem to get by together in harmony. I get the impression that perhaps it is more afluent people that drink here but I wouldn't necessarily be sure - there is some ill feeling between locals and students and frankly I think that some students drink here because they know they are not in danger of being abused and get branded a 'tax dodger' or the like.
If you are ever in Lougborough for a night out then this place is a nice starter bar or alternatively if the night is going to be a more calm and relaxed affair then this is a great place to spend an entire night. On a separate theme if you are looking for somewhere to take a girl/guy out for a drink without the formal feel of dining in a restaurant, then this is a great choice.
Loughborough LE11 2TP