One of the best pieces of news we’ve head recently was that Tonne in St Martin’s Square will be reopening. Yes, one of our favourite bars in Leicester before Covid struck is now set to reopen this month.

A favourite with craft beer drinkers and in a lovely spot in the heart of St Martin’s, Tonne has been taken over by the fabulous team from The Gadabout Bar. We caught up with Nic for this week’s BID Spotlight to find out about what we can expect from the reopening, what’s new and what’s staying the same.

You’re reopening Tonne in St Martin’s Square, can we expect many changes from how the bar was previously?

Overall no, the shell as such is very much the same as is the focus on craft beer. We have given it a lick of paint and adjusted some parts to flow better or showcase products better. We have plans such as an upstairs bar which will aid in more usable space as well as private hire space. We have looked at points from previous staff and customers and took on board feedback.  We’ve tried to make it a bit warmer and a place for everyone, and to really showcase some great products. We also have plans for a beer tasting zone/experience and potentially future food plans, but for now we want to get open and run this year out in style . Looking forward to 2022!

What made you want to take the venue over?

True story it was by luck. We had been looking into other venue plots and areas but actually spoke to the owner of Tonne for equipment he might be getting rid of and he mentioned he was pulling out of bars and wondered would I want it? I was taken back and was like “ermmmm yeah!” Then we chatted, sorted a deal out, and here we are. We knew it was a great joint and space. We know the area is a great space with other great businesses so it was a no brainer, also with lots of loyal customers and a bit of a bartenders bar to go to. It very much fitted in with out other business, Gadabout. Our ethos there is also on customers, knowledge, training and just a welcoming venue.

You also run The Gadabout in town, known for your incredible cocktails. Will you be keeping the two venues quite separate in their style and identity?

Yes they will be separated. Gadabout is very much cocktails, with the full experience and being unique,  with beers, wines and spirits coming secondary. While Tonne will be very much beer and craft beer, then with cocktails, spirits and wines secondary.

Overall they will have same approach.  A relaxed environment, good knowledge and a great experience. Both venues run with the customer at hear. Plus great products – we will always keep trying to bring new things to the scene.

What are some of your favourite craft beers?

Not sure we have favourites, only because it depends on the moment . The day, the weather, the day you’ve had. If it’s peak summer and you’ve had a full on day that first cold lager is a dream but then equally a more chilled relaxed maybe a bit colder or wet day, it’s great for a nice porter. Also so many breweries opening are showcasing so many great beers. Plus we like people to make their own choices. We promise to mix it up over the years so that we showcase as many as we can. Like marmite, you’ll love it or hate it but at least we hope you try it.

St Martin’s Square is such a great hub of independents, what are you most excited about with being in that area?

I guess the neighbours, working along side them and just promoting the area. It’s become a real hub. But also getting Leicester known! I’m a local and I believe in the city but sometimes we’re not great about showcasing ourselves.  We have such great talent and businesses, so hopefully our new Tonne approach will help, as did Gadabout, with awards and getting known nationally. We hope Tonne and St Martin’s becomes exactly that .

Who are some of your other favourite independents in town?

Gotta be said St Martin’s Coffee and Crafty . Those guys over the road have been brilliant.  Coffee and food keep us going. I also love what Pai have done – great food.  Further afield there’s just so many I couldn’t name drop them all. Leicester people really need to go and find them and support them. Not just on a Saturday but everyday as with the support we can grow and really make our city shine.

How do you think Leicester’s bar scene compares to other UK cities?

Honestly we have great bars, but our downside is that we don’t get the regular trade. It’s so up and down and sometimes we’re a bit afraid of trying something different. We regularly visit other cities from big to small and Leicester always has great venues but I hear customers say “ohhh that city is better” or “that city has more” etc .. and we try to tell them you have exactly that here but we need you to come once a week not once every few months. We have some great talent in the city and we just need to shout about it and get people talking. Independents in Leicester  really need the support. A big boy can offset costs and even get products cheaper as they buy for 100s of sites not one.  So when someone walks in expecting the same price as a big chain it’s not going to happen, but hopefully what you get from an independent is a better service and quality.

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Where can people find out the latest news from Tonne? 

You can find us on Instagram, Facebook and Google. We will be getting on all of the social but for now all focus is on operation open.

We are still hoping to open at the end of the month, but like everybody stock, equipment and delays are happening. Follow us on those channels and we’ll showcase the opening and hopefully get some new people on board too.

Our BID Spotlight features are brought to you in collaboration with BID Leicester.

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