The Needle and Pin, Loughborough

You know how it is when you really want to visit a new pub in town. Something always gets in the way. Sometimes it’s something small like just being a bit too busy with various things. Christmas got in the way (they opened in December 2015). Sometimes it’s something big like eating and drinking on a New Zealand road trip. Bit of a #humblebrag, but it happens to be true!

Anyway, today was finally to be the day that I got to visit. But first, a bit of history on Loughborough’s newest pub.

The Needle is a reference to two things.

Firstly, to electrical devices that have needles, as many local residents will have known this property as an electrical shop. I certainly do although I don’t think I ever went it. Secondly, the textile industry that has played a significant part in Loughborough’s history. The family behind the pub have known the Towle and Swift families, which continue to leave their mark on the history of Loughborough and Charnwood in the textile industry.

The Pin again refers to two things.

Firstly, the pins on a plug, again linking to the previous use of the property. Secondly, the textile industry, big users of pins (safety or otherwise). And of course, a pin is a brewing term for a 36 pint barrel of beer (4.5 gallons).

Upon entering, you feel like you are entering a local terraced house. If Sean is in (owner/landlord as well as owner of local brewery Wicked Hathern) then he gives you a cheery greeting, a bit of chat, and plenty of information about the beers available today. Several pumps of hand pulled ale, and a couple of fridges full to bursting with excellent bottles and cans from familiar names such as Thornbridge, as well as some rarer items. Sean’s range of Wicked Hathern ales is also available. And it’s not just beer, they have several ciders and perries, as well as wines from Rothley wines and soft drinks too.

Downstairs is the small bar area with a few tables and benches and stools. Upstairs there are more tables, as well as a good old fashioned record player and a stack of vinyl. With one simple rule – if it goes on, it stays on – classic vinyl for the win! Keeping with the local theme, they also have a last orders bell that was made at Taylors bell foundry just around the corner.

History lesson over. Let’s talk food and drink.

Food first. This is a micropub, far too small for its own kitchen. They have various snacks available – decent crisps and nuts, not just a packet of Golden Wonder salt’n’vinegar or some KP Nuts (although they are technically local, as they come from Ashby).

If you want hot food, you are welcome to bring it in. There are lots of nearby establishments (Pizza Hut is the next door neighbour), but if you are looking to support another small local business, then The Hog Stop just over the road are highly recommended. This is a large American smoky slaw, slow roasted local pork with apple coleslaw and BBQ sauce.


Now the really important bit. Beer.

First up, one of Sean’s, ¬†a Wicked Hathern Dovecote Porter, with hints of liquorice and coffee and a touch of smoke.

And then, a pint of Winter Range – Pale from Cloudwater Brew Co, a well rounded pint with good hoppiness:-

A lovely little micro pub. I’m going as far as saying it’s my new favourite pub. I predict plenty more visits and plenty more reviews to come!

MOFAD approved!


The Hog Stop, Loughborough – full of porky goodness

From the lovely people behind Loughborough’s first Mexican restaurant, the Cactus Cafe, and our first Australian restaurant, Moomba, we now have The Hog Stop – a cross between an Italian porchetta truck and a Great British hog roast.

Served from an old bus stop (converted into a small kitchen and counter with a few seats outside), or their dedicated catering trailer which can be found around the town on market days and at various other events, this is a simple, but brilliant, concept. Great food, no frills, very tasty.

Local pork is slow roasted overnight and served in a choice of rolls and with five different flavours to choose from:-

English – apple sauce, sage and onion stuffing and crackling.
Italian porchetta – garlic, fennel, rosemary and chilli.
American smoky slaw – apple coleslaw and BBQ sauce.
Jamaican jerk – scotch bonnet pepper sauce & banana chutney.
Chinese 5 spice – hoisin sauce and Asian leaf salad.

There is also a beef brisket option, with red cabbage and horseradish slaw.

This is the large (there’s a smaller one too) American smoky slaw, which was utterly delicious. This is what slow roasted pork should taste like, not that sticky gloop that often passes for pub pulled pork.

Definitely MOFAD approved! See you again soon!