When we launched the Queen of Bradgate in May 2014, it was our plan to bring the very niche world of Craft Beers to Leicester city centre and to combine it with a great selection of cask ales (up to 4 at any one time), outstanding cocktails, a superb menu of freshly cooked pub food and a weekly dose of live music, all served up in a cool but welcoming adult environment that gave more than a passing nod to eclectic reclaim.

So, how did we get to this point?

Well, the journey started in 1992, aged 24, when I launched the first Fat Cat Cafe Bar in North Wales, a chain that grew to 15 outlets from North Wales to South Wales, London to Glasgow and several stops off in between. Along the way we developed a sister concept in 1999 called Bluu that we expanded to 5 units (London, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow) before selling it to Marstons in 2006, with beautiful timing, at the top of the property market.

Then in 2007 I was one of the founding partners in a now small chain of pubs in Nottinghamshire called Moleface.

Fat Cat was unashamedly mainstream, selling Fosters, Kroenenburg and good food all day to the middle market of 15 UK town centres. Many of my peers today spent their University grants (they were the days) in Fat Cats, met their partners in Fat Cats and conceived their children after a night out in Fat Cats. That’s quite a public service.

Bluu was the Fat Cat’s cool as fudge younger sibling. It was all about late nights, cool cocktails, basement DJs and funky décor, with a fine dining restaurant bolted on for good measure and queues around the block to get in. Our first one was at 1 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch in that fancy London town. Cool really doesn’t get much cooler.

Moleface is our suburban alternative to city centre food and drink. Based in 4 great suburbs of Nottingham, the Moleface pubs serve up fantastic fresh food and a wide selection of beers, ales, wines and spirits to the great and the good of suburbia, with an exceptional Sunday lunch to finish off the week.

So that’s our pedigree, and it helped us to formulate the concept that came to be the Queen of Bradgate. We wanted to do something different again, not just for the sake of it, but also once again to be at the forefront of emerging pub culture and not simply to hop on the nearest handy bandwagon.

And for the record, we don’t serve Carling.

Matt Saunders, serial publican and fan of all things Leicester.

Since 2014