All posts by stymaster

The Soloman Cutler

Birmingham, Broad St:

Right over the road from the ICC and Symphony Hall, and near the Hyatt, this is in the middle of the Broad St “entertainment” piss up area. It’s a Lloyds No.1 (i.e: a ‘spoons), and I don’t know how I’ve missed including it before: if you’re working at or visiting the ICC it’s an expenses-friendly place for lunch, and a handy place for pre-show drinks or food for Symphony Hall at a good price. On this visit I was feeling below par, owing to side-effects of some (prescribed) drugs,so eschewed alcohol, but prior experience had shown the beer to be good, and the food was pretty decent, in that “know what you’re getting” way, and the wine seemed to gain approval. You could do worse on Broad St.

The Romping Cat

Bloxwich:

I have been here before, but pre-Pubblog, so over 6 years ago. Back then I was underwhelmed, but I wonder if my tastes have changed? It’s not plush, but it’s a nice traditional place, and warm and welcoming on a very cold afternoon. Beer (including Pedigree) and staff fine, but the wine was a bit rough, apparently, though I’d not inagine it’s a wine drinker’s pub as a rule.

The Bloxwich Showman

Bloxwich:

A new ‘spoons, as has been rumoured for a while, and again, it’s an old cinema. People my age or older will remember it as Flix nightclub, and those much older might remember The Grosvenor, operated by Pat Collins.

Inside, it’s standard ‘spoons, but feels much, much smaller than my teenage memory of the Flix nightclub. As it’s been open less than a fortnight, it was still very busy; we found it difficult to get a seat. Food, beer, and staff all fine, and completely as expected, but it has to be a good thing to generate this amount of business in Bloxwich; maybe the much-quoted Wetherspoon halo effect will happen?

The Punch & Judy

Covent Garden, That London:

A tourist trap, this is a “18th century pub in Covent Garden Market“, apparently. I was working nearby with a colleague, and we needed lunch.

What it really is is a spoons-a-like pub with a terrace and a cellar bar. We went in the cellar bar, as the terrace bar was closed. It was a big gloomy, but OK. There’s an eating area at one end, with normal table, but they were all occupied so we had to make do with those ridiculous stools that seem to be fashionable at the moment.

There’s ale, but as we were working we had soft drinks with our meal, which was good, but, as you’d expect, pricey: our burgers were well over a tenner, and Fish & Chips will set you back the thick end of 15 quid. the food and staff were fine though, but it has to be said I’ve been in nicer surroundings, and used less stinky bogs, and paid a lot less for it.

The Red Lion

Hockley, Birmingham:

Sister pub to The Lord Clifden, so part of the Urban Art Bar Group. Don’t let the group name put you off, I was prepared to hate the Lord Clifden, expecting hipster wankery, and was proved wrong, and if anything The Red Lion was better still on that front, with just ordinary punters. Closer to the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, it’s a short walk from the Chamberlain Clock at Warstone Lane/Vyse St.

It’s very nice. Traditional inside- the art in Urban Art is minimal, thankfully- decent beer (Bathams when I called), friendly staff, food that looked and smelt good, though I didn’t eat. Not cheap, but that’s the price we pay for Hockley’s trendiness, I suppose. There’s 2 rooms downstairs, and apparently another upstairs.

Brewdog Birmingham

John Bright Street:

Another place I’d intended visiting for a good while. It’s just past it’s first birthday.

John Bright St seems to be enjoying a upturn, with Cherry Red’s, and the ever popular Victoria nearby, as well as new restaurants. Brewdog is of course an outlet for the craft beer brewery known for it’s uncompromising attitude and great beer. It’s very near to New St if you’re travelling by train. I was sad to note the now-closed Crown following its sale.

Brewdog itself is a bit trendy for me (as I’m distinctly middle-aged), and the decor is like some late 80s-early 90s revival, all stripped back bare surfaces and exposed cable tray (and seats that were hard to get my fat arse into), but the beer was great, the staff friendly and helpful, and atmosphere buzzing for a mid-afternoon on a Tuesday.

The Woodman

Digbeth:

Another fine James & Lister Lea Birmingham terracotta pub, right next to Curzon St station and Millenium Point, and not farb from the sadly empty and run-down Eagle & Tun. It’s a fine pub: good food (or it looked it- we didn’t eat) at a very reasonable price, several real ales and ciders, and craft beer too. We were sat in the least attractive room, the bar, and it was still nice, the other rooms are grander- it’s the traditional terracotta and tile arrangement. Staff were pleasant, and there’s a mix of clientele- though plenty from the nearby BCU.

The refurb and subsequent re-opening last year has done it proud: it’s not over-restored but is smart and maintains it’s original features.