The Eagle and Tun

Digbeth, Birmingham:

Right next to The Woodman, another fine old Victorian pub, and another James & Lister lea building for Ansells. Empty and derelict since 2008, it was once a very sad sight, isolated while development went on around it, and with only local listing, the future didn’t look good- as recently as 2012, it looked like both would be flattened, along with The Fox and Grapes. As we’ve seen, The Woodman was saved first, and as we walked past on our last visit, we noticed the Eagle & Tun was about to re-open, and it now has.

It is well known for the UB40 Connection- the video for Red Red Wine was shot there, as was the cover for the first Best of UB40 album, as the studios for DEP International were just around the corner in Andover St.

Anyway, the pub itself? Outside is typical Brum terracotta. Inside is less salubrious than The Woodman, and a work-in-progress, clearly, but the atmosphere was pleasant (if cold!), the barman was very friendly, and the drinks cheap (and decent enough too, even if the HPA ran out before I got a pint). The pub is playing on the UB40 connection, with that being the choice of music. There’s still the stunning tiles at one end, and the feel of a proper Brum pub too.

The Jekyll and Hyde

Birmingham:

I wasn’t entirely expecting to like this- I was looking for a nearby pub I used to drink in occasionally years ago (that I think may have become this). It’s got a few warning signs- it is themed, and there’s a dedicated Gin Palace- but it was actually pleasant, despite being rammed, though we chose to sit outside (in December!!). Decent beer, pleasant staff.

The Old Royal

Birmingham:

Just up from The OCs, this is a place that’s not bad, but could be great: elegant, Victorian frontage and a traditional interior, but a cheapish pubco menu and Greene King beer, which meant Andy drank water…

Popular- very busy on a Saturday night on the run up to Christmas, but could be better: it could be the OCs or one of the Shakespeares.

Revisits: The Watering Trough

A revisit of a revisit: Last post here, original here.

This gets another repost because it’s been refurbed. This did set off alarm bells- I was fearing a pubco makeover and associated loss of character,but my fears were unfounded. There’s been a bit of re-ulpholstery, some new chairs, and repainting and revarnishing, but the pub retains it’s character and soul- it’ still the same Trough, just smartened up a bit. There’s still ale and rock music, too.

The Eagle and Ball

Eastside, Birmingham:

We’d been to The Woodman nearby, so upped the pub count here. It’s Birmingham City University’s Student Union, but it’s also a pub.

Inside, it’s a bit bright and modern for a Victorian pub, and we were obviously not the target audience for the music. Staff were pleasant though, even when we were criticising the music next to the manager…

There was ale, but the pump was playing up, sadly. Not too bad a place at all, considering.

Revisits: The Old Crown

Original post here.

Pleasant enough still, but it’s been affected by the plague of hipster tosspots, so the food’s a bit fussy (brioche fucking buns and twatting ciabatta again), and the Pedigree was rough (though when Andy decided he couldn’t bear it, it was changed without question). When it came, the food was actually fine, but what’s wrong with bread?

Still worth a visit, just not what it was.

The Turtle’s Head

Croft Parade, Aldridge:

There’s a temptation to say this pub stands out 😉

The thing is, it does. Given it is occupying a former hairdresser’s shop in Aldridge’s 1960s shopping centre, you’d have low expectations, and be very, very wrong indeed. It’s lovely. The interior is basic, but clean and tidy, and comfortable. There’s music, but quiet enough to talk over, and the beer is great. There’s pork pies and cobs on offer too, and a very friendly landlord and great prices. It was full too, which has to be a good sign.