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.
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.
A meet-up before Beer Festival 2. Had a bit of a Desi Pub vibe, and certainly they do Indian barbecue at times. No ale, but the Cobra was decent. Not plush, but the place was clean, the landlord pleasant, and the prices reasonable, and it was right by the bus stop 🙂
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Original post here.
Shire Oak, Brownhills:
The Shire Oak has had a bit of a chequered history in the last year or two, with changes of landlord and very much in need of a refurb, so it’s good to see it open again.
That refurb has been completed, so I took a hobble up to see what’s gone on.
It’s a fairly standard pubco makeover, but it looks smart and clean- the refurb was needed, but a bit of atmosphere has gone (I overheard other customers saying the same). The famously upside-down Fleur de Lys walpaper has gone too, and the seperate bar and lounge have gone; the bar area is still there, which is good, but the only demarcation is a hard floor instead of carpet. Sadly, the current fad for tall tables and stools has made it here too: awkward and uncomfortable. There’s a big focus on food- the lounge area is mostly set out for dining.
There were several ales advertised, but only one available, but it was OK, and there was a fair choice of industrial lager, and some variety in the fridges (BrewDog Punk IPA, for example), but the choice for drivers was a bit limited as far as I could see, which seems odd for a pub on a major road junction with a full car park.
All in all, not a bad pub, and very busy. The staff were pleasant, and the beer OK. I’ll be going back, but I’ll miss the old pub.
Lovely. The star of the evening, I’d last been in here over 10 years ago, when Andy lived nearby. It’s changed a little- the room out back has got bigger, I think, but it’s still a multi-room, traditional pub. It’s a Black Country Taverns pub, and one of the better ones, with atmosphere as well as the usual great beer.