Birmingham City Centre:
In Burlington Arcade, right next to the Burlington Hotel. This made a nice contrast to Purecraft. It’s a little bit themed, but as the theme is Bacchus himself, I think we can excuse it, and generally it’s a pleasant, comfortable place, which we luckily caught just before it got really busy on a Friday evening. Not cheap though; a large wine and a pint was over a tenner.
Birmingham City Centre:
In one way I was tempted to not include this for not being pubby enough, but I couldn’t resist just to lay into it.
I’d been curious for some time. Purity’s beer is great.
The bar is less so. It’s that 90s-reborn exposed cable-tray semi-industrial look that is currently fashionable for some reason (like Brewdog), that just makes it look like you couldn’t afford to finish the job properly.
On top of that, there’s the marketing type idea of quirky: Wine glasses without stems, bike saddles for coathooks, posing tables (and the posers to go with them), “amusing” signs for the toilets. Oh, and 2 quid for a bag of scratchings on a menu without pound signs or figures after the decimal point. Oh, and furthermore, that current fad for re-recording songs of the 80s or 90s with acoustic instruments as a soundtrack. In short, apart from the great beer, pretty dreadful.
Gun Quarter, Brimingham:
Lovely, traditional pub, right near the city centre, but in a quiet backstreet near the Gunmaker’s Arms. A great welcome, great beer, proper pub atmosphere, and a pubcat- and rooms as well, you could do worse than stop here.
Original post here.
This place has changed a bit, but not massively. It’s now the brewery tap for Two Towers.
Friendly welcome, great beer (for me, but others less impressed), good food, nice atmosphere, and so, so close to town, but eerily quiet, considering the inner ring road is yards away. Good beer choice now, if you like Two Towers offerings. Regular history talks and film shows. TV on, but muted, and nice place to drink.
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.
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.
Near to, but not quite, the Jewelery Quarter. I’ve been going here for years, on and off, but seem to have missed logging it. It’s a traditional pub, and had been refurbed a bit over the years, and is just the right side of hipster now. Decent beer, food looked good too, but very, very busy- nice staff though.
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.
Dale End, Birmingham:
Odd place, with an attempt to theme after the TV series- and some evidence of punters dressing accordingly- we only went in because it was handy.
No ale, and even the one decent lager was off, so bottled lager it was. Not actually unpleasant, but nothing special by a long shot either.
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.