I’d misremembered a friend who’d reccomended the nearby Uxbridge Arms and actually said The Junction was a bit, well, vibrant.
Anyway, The Junction was where we went. Very pleasant it was too- no sign of any trouble, decent beer, somewhere to sit, an old doggie relaxing nearby, and reasonable music you could hear but talk over. Staff and locals pretty decent too. We’ll save The Uxbridge for next time….
 A colleague that lives in Burntwood also rates THe Junction. Perhaps it has improved of late?
Traditional boozer right on the Swan Island at Burntwood (and therefore very handy for the bus, just over the road). I got a bad first impression simply because it was very crowded, and after the walk from The Drill I needed a sit down, and couldn’t get close to the bar. However, this was quickly fixed, and it was a pleasant little community pub with decent beer, a good atmosphere, and friendly locals.
Well known for food for some years, we thought we’d give this a try. It’s a proper country pub, but not too far to walk from our bus route. There’s very much a food bias, and we had to agree to give up our table for a reservation later, but that was fine. It’s not a pubco family feedbag, as far as I can see. Google has it as a restaurant, but I’d have it as a food-biased pub. Great beer (Slaters) and food, reasonable prices, friendly staff. Tons of outside space too, with a play area and a small farm, apparently. Gets very busy on a Saturday night.
Evidently quite an old pub, this has a big site and car park. It’s fairly traditional, with a bit of a standard modern pubco makeover (Chef & Brewer, a branch of Greene King, via Spirit pub co). Nice enough place, pleasant barman, but beer a little pricey (but thankfully one Purity ale in addition to the Greene King stuff). Surprisingly no menus out at around 5pm on a Saturday, which seemed odd, but we were only pausing here for a drink en route- and the outside space was pleasant.
Fradley Junction, Fradley, near Lichfield:
I’d not been to The Swan for years, mostly because it’s not easy to get to for me- it’s way off public transport, and not the easiest to find without a map. However, I was being chauffeured, as I was unable to walk far or drive, and a family member took pity and got me out of the house for a change.
The Swan Inn is lovely. Very traditional, and by the canalside it has a great location to sit outside and watch the boats pass. The beer was great, and the staff helpful and friendly. About the only disadvantage is that it gets very, very busy at popular times, especially in the summertime.
Over the road to here. Outside looks a little tatty- nothing too bad, but peeling paint- and inside we’re confronted by a GK beer selection, and one of the standard family feedbag menus.
I chose Golden Hen, which was wise, as my companions chose GK IPA, which is never the most inspiring beer, but especially if (as in this case) it has a whiff of vinegar- but to be fair, it was changed by the barman.
Not an awful pub, but not wonderful either, nothing actually wrong, but I wouldn’t rush back.
A short walk into the village from the station (and The Station).
Surprisingly large, and while this did have a bit of Codsall’s affluence about it, it wasn’t up itself. Pleasant enough, nice staff, good beer. Only minus point was TVs- but hey were muted: so this would be the one pub in Codsall I’d choose to return to.
The good people of Codsall won’t thank me for this, but screw em.
The Station could be lovely. It was however, just good.
The beer was fine, the outside magnificent, the staff friendly. It was, in this case, the clientele. Just a bit too middle-class. Token white-bloke-with-dreadlocks (sure sign of privilege), slightly-posh parensts with kids.
Some will love it. Inside, it’s railway-themed- but as it is the actual station buildings, that’s allowed, but The Great Western back down in Wolverhampton carries it off so much better, and less plastically. To be fair, there was little to complain about- food looked good, beer was fine- but it just didn’t gel for me. Maybe it was just the dreadlocks.
Near Fradley, Lichfield
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Just a few hours after whinging about them, I find myself in a chain-pub “restaurant”. In my defence, it was on the way home; an awkwardly-timed appointment in Burton-upon-Trent saw us heading south back home without having eaten, so we called in. I was last here over 10 years ago, and I think I recall a traditional pub. The old building still looks attractive, but it shares its site with a Premier Inn, has become a behemoth collection of buildings, and is part of the Fayre & Square chain, itself a brand of the Spirit Pub Company. See what they did there? It sells Fayre, at a fair and square price, and *giggle* some of the food is square (the burgers). How very whimsical, I do believe my sides have split.
It was OK, as a better alternative than McDonalds or the chippy, and it was pretty cheap (£17 for 2 meals, a soft drink, and a large wine). There was cask ale, and a good choice of other stuff. There’s a wacky warehouse for kids to run about in, though that didn’t stop some parents letting theirs run about the place (fortunately, as it’s a big place, we went to the other end and escaped them). The food was serviceable, rather than exceptional, and the menu standard family feedbag stuff (PDF, 11MB). Staff were nice enough, but a bit corporate training manual:
“Pint of lime & soda please”
“Is that a large or a small?”
Overall, you could do worse, but you’re not going to get atmosphere or haute cuisine.
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An area that could be described as ‘vibrant’ surrounds this pub:it’s not plush or genteel, more gritty and real. However, it seems Ok to me: lots of takeaways nearby, lots of 19c terraced houses. The pub itself looks very smart- I think it’s been cleaned and repointed. There’s pleasant outside space, and while the lounge seems to not be used in the week when I visisted, the bar was pleasant. Staff and customers pleasant, cask ale on (but I was driving). Thisa was my second visit, and I was dissapointed that the giant furry tarantula was missing from the ceiling, in preparation for the Jubilee decorations. Despite this, a nice place to wait for an hour.