Interview: Post-lockdown life at The Forge Inn

It’s been a long few months for anybody involved in the hospitality trade.

The Forge in Glenfield was caught up in the extended lockdown but can now finally look forward to opening their doors next week. As part of The Beautiful Pubs Collective, The Forge counts city centre favourites Knight & Garter and The Rutland & Derby amongst its partner venues. We caught up with the man behind the pubs, Sam Hagger, to find out how much he’s looking forward to opening up those pub doors.

As The Forge is finally able to re-open its doors on 28 July, how much of a relief is this following the past few months?

It’s a massive relief. We’ve always been supportive of the government’s measures to protect people but we’ve really missed the buzz of busy service and, of course, our amazing guests!

How difficult has it been to re-model the business to fit the current conditions?

Whilst being closed for so long has been a challenge as a business, we’ve loved having the opportunity to have some time to spend on evolving our original beautiful pub. We have configured brand new layouts throughout to enable a safe but comfortable experience & in our opinion the refreshed look feels really great!

forge glenfield

What changes can people expect?

We’ve got a stunning new decking area with new furniture & an outside bar to support us in delivering table service throughout our now fully seated pub. We also have fresh new menus developed by our Head Chef David & his team with some really creative vegan options too!

You also run other businesses within the city lockdown area, are you putting plans in place there to be able to re-open soon after the lockdown lifts?

Absolutely! Both Knight & Garter and The Rutland & Derby are both currently having facelifts. Cool As Leicester recently covered The Knight’s stunning new menu and The R&D has got surprises up its sleeve too!  We’ve always prided ourselves on delivering a carefully considered guest experience & post lockdown we hope that people will feel as confident as us in making the decision to come and eat & drink with us.

What have you missed most whilst the businesses have been shut during the lockdown period?

That’s a tricky one, because theres so much I love about our business. Probably our weekend chef’s specials & the opportunity to chat with our guests & team.

What are some of your favourite items on the menu at The Forge?

That’s a really tough one! The Crab Crostini & Tempura Vegetables are winning starters and the Mediterranean Lamb Shank will be beautiful outside on a warm summer evening, but if you’re like me & like to graze with a beer, the Whitby scampi & mini bangers with truffle ketchup go down a treat!

Hospitality has been hit particularly hard during this, what message would you send out to your customers as they look to begin eating out and socialising again?

Return to your favourite bars, restaurants & pubs before trying out new ones. Give precedent to the ones that have tried to keep engaged with you throughout lockdown because they clearly value your business. Support independents. Choose off peak times for hopefully better service & food. And remember if you’re out and the experience isn’t quite right, let the team know whilst they’ve got the chance to make it!

Besides your own, who are some of the other local businesses you’ve particularly missed?

It’s no secret that I love Oggi on London Road so I can’t wait to return there for their scallops. I’ve missed my trips with my nephew Gelato Village & I was so excited when Holly’s started opening for takeaway breakfast & lunch a few weeks ago!

How can people book/find out more?

Follow @forgeinn on all socials and please visit www.theforgeinn.co.uk to find out about what’s on offer & to book!