Category Archives: Walsall

Pubs in Walsall

Revisit 2: The Fountain

Previous post here.

Look, I’m probably going to upset people, including myself, here.

I don’t like The Fountain. Often don’t like The Fountain.

There’s so much to love. It’s traditional, it’s Victorian, and it’s a free house now, even if the excellent beers from my favourite brewery still form the base of the range. The beer is excellent, and there’s cobs. The music is OK and usually at a sane volume. The staff are all lovely, and there’s sometimes a pubcat.

So what’s wrong?

The customers.

Every time I visit, unless it’s a very quiet time, there’s one or more group of obnoxious customers. The middle-class closet rascist bar-blocking group, standing in the way all the time. The hipster types talking bollocks about the Spanish revolution, the hipster parents turning the place into a creche-cum-playground.

It ruins it. I think maybe there’s a bit of “victim of it’s own success” here.

The Old Engine

Darlaston (even if Google thinks Wednesbury):

This was near to our bus, and a friend had suggested we popped in. It’s uninspiring, to be honest, from the outside, looking mostly like a couple of houses knocked through and turned into a pub, but inside is pleasant- not pluch, but clean and tidy. No cask ale, but decent lager served by a friendly Asian barman, and…

The proper Desi pub food experience from an open kitchen at the back. I’d fancied a curry anyway, so to find one almost by accident was a bonus, and the food was great and bargain priced.

Friendly, multicultural locals- the majority white, as it happened, but a significant amount of Asian customers (including the barman when his shift ended). A sign saying “You are respectfully requested not to discuss religion or politics on the premises” didn’t seem to halt conversation. Football was on the TVs, but no-one was shouting and the sound was low enough to hear over.

The Jigger’s Whistle

Brownhills:

Just within sight of Morris Miner and named after his official name, this is a new micropub (it opened a week ago) in a old photography shop on Brownhills High St.

Brownhills does have good pubs, but the only ones right near the centre are the Shoulder of Mutton or Smithy’s Forge. I quite like the Shoulder, but there’s no ale there, and the nearby Smithy’s Forge is a fairly dreadful family feedbag, so the best chance of a decent pint of ale has either been Backyard’s taproom or The Swan. The taproom has limited hours, and the Swan, while excellent, is a walk out of town, so a the new micro is very welcome, being very close to the bus.

Inside, it’s typical micropub, but a bit larger than some. Unsurprisingly there’s Backyard beer on, and I think I overheard the landlord say he’s intending to keep one on permanently. That and the HPA were in excellent condition. There’s music, but it’s bearable and not loud, rather like The Turtle’s Head. No food beyond snacks and cobs.

All in all, very pleasant. I’d held off visiting last week as I thought it might be rammed, and it was just pleasantly busy (but filling up) as I left.

Revisit (and re-opening): The Drunken Duck

Previous Post
Original Post

I’d detailed this pubs recent downfall on my main blog here, and I’m now pleased to note it’s back open since just before Christmas, with a new landlord (Tony from The Wheatsheaf). He’s doing a great job so far; the beer is great (and a good choice: Golden Glow, Doom Bar, Proper Job and HPA), the jukebox has metal, and there’s a live band on some nights, if that’s your thing.

Revisit: The Boatmans Rest

Original post here

I’d been meaning to reblog this for a long time. As The Drunken Duck is currently closed, it’s the only choice in Walsall Wood High St. I really want to like it, I really do- especially given the landlord’s a decent chap, and has put a lot of effort in, and it seems popular enough but it’s just not doing it for me. The beer is Greene King, the lounge is usually shut, and the bar is usually very noisy with a somewhat oversized and painfully set up sound system playing dreadful music, and it’s impossible to get to the bar because people are stood/sat there. The result of this is that the Royal Exchange has become the go-to pub in Walsall Wood, with decent beer, and the ability to hold a conversation, but it’s in the wrong direction for the shops and ATM…

Revisit: (Final Visit?) The Imperial

Original post here

A sad visit on our way back home; The Imperial closed later this evening, with J D Wetherspoon citing it as a commercial decision.

The Imperial has been there since 1997 or so, and I remember a bet with my other half that it would be there more than x years, (where x was either five or 10, we cannot recall). It lasted nearly 20 in the end, and despite it being just a ‘spoons, I will be sorry to see it go. handy for the bus station (especially as the toilets there are closed at night 🙂 ), and a little quieter than the nearby St Matthew’s Hall, it always seemed to be doing an OK trade to me. I just hope some new use can be found for the building.

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 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.