Category Archives: Staffordshire

The Hedgehog

La-di-Dah Lichfield:

A mile or two outside the city. We were heading further afield, but the weather turned for the worse, so we turned off the A51 and dropped in.

It’s a Vintage Inn, M&B’s “traditional” brand. Pretty standard, very-slighty-upmarket pub food, drinks to match, reasonable ale choice (Dizzy Blonde, Pedigree, and Doom Bore, the first two of which were in good order), popular with the Lichfield set for lunch. Hotel on site (Innkeepers Lodge), standard pubco decor. Decent enough food without charging the earth, and a nice building.

The TurfToby Carvery Norton Canes

Norton Canes:

Whatever M&B think, this place is The Turf. The island, at the junction of the B4154 and A5 is The Turf island, the pub is The Turf, even if it’s just another Toby Carvery now.

I didn’t actually go inside. Unusually, we arrived by car; my dear other half drove as I’d only just had knee surgery. We needed lunch, it was a bit late for lunch timing, we knew from experience that Toby carveries did carvery sandwiches, there’s a big car park, and we were fairly nearby.

No cask ale apart from Doom Bore, so lager it was, and we sat outside on a hot Saturday afternoon. The food was good, the lager OK, and the prices reasonable. The location on the A5 probably keeps it busy.

The New Masons

Newtown, Staffs, just north of Bloxwich:

On a day packed with failure, this compunded it. We were hoping for a pub, and Whatpub has it as a pub.

I suppose it meets some requirements. There’s a bar, and a small seating area in front of it, but the bulk of the place is a restaurant, and it calls itself a Bar and Grill. There’s too many posing tables in the bar area, and the beer is slightly pricey and [shudder] Greene King. It’s basically aimed at people wanting a slightly-posher-than-pub-food meal, and there’s little appeal for drinkers. There is quite a nice beer garden, I suppose, but it’s a long way from my ideal. The decor is currently trendy and modern, but will age and is pretty atmosphere-free.

Thank $deity for The Ivy House just down the road.

The Crystal Fountain

Cannock:

Been meaning to come here for a while: it’s a big, 1937 pub in a minor road close to Cannock town centre, and the interior is on CAMRA’s inventory with good reason: it was carefully restored in 2012 by Black Country Inns, and the inside is now tidy, smart, but still authentic to the age. Really friendly landlord, great beer, lovely beer garden, and a Arriva 2 Sapphire stops outside the door…

Sankey’s Taphouse

Sankey’s Corner, Burntwood, Staffs:

Brand new micropub in former council offices at Sankey’s Corner. I wanted to go to Backyard’s Tap Room, now open until 8pm, so continuing our journey into Burntwood seemed logical, so on we went.

It’s handy for the bus, and it’s pleasant inside. Like other micropubs, it doesn’t quite have the traditional pub feel, but also like others, it has great beer and wine, a great welcome, and the opportunity for conversation without loud music, so it’s a nice place to sit and drink. A great place, I hope it does well.

The Swan With Two Necks

Longdon:

We were actually here for a wake, the last time being for a wedding some 20 years ago. It’s changed a bit, having been closed for a while a few years back, and the current incarnation is obviously moving towards the food-led gastropub- slightly upmarket.

It doesn’t mean it’s just a restaurant with pub pretensions, I’m happy to say, it’s still a pub, and not a bad one at all. We didn’t have the usual menu, as they’d put a buffet on, but everything was decent quality, and the beer and wine were fine, and the staff pleasant. A little bit middle-class staffordshire for me, but just the right side of up itself.