Category Archives: Walsall

Pubs in Walsall

The Wheatsheaf

Bloxwich:


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Quite a surprise this: we were visiting because a friend’s band was playing, so we got dragged along by Andy, and didn’t know what to expect. Inside, it’s quite traditional, but we thought that was probably the corporate Banks’s makeover from a few years back- whatever, it’s pleasant, nicer than expected for a backstreet boozer in Bloxwich. A couple of guest ales, and Banks’s on a hand pull, decent wine at a good price, and very pleasant staff. Hard to judge the normal atmosphere, as half of Essington were in there.

Revisits: The Drunken Duck

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The Duck has changed hands, now being run by Rob, who’s also still in control up at the Shire Oak.

It’s still not plush, but it’s an awful lot cleaner than in recent times… As to be expected, the beer is top-notch: Rob looks after the beer properly, and it shows. There’s usually the jukebox on, but it’s not generally too loud. There’s sometimes entertainment as well, but the size and layout means you can usually find an area quiet enough to drink & talk.

It’s early days there, but very promising, and judging by the amount of customers, should go well.

The Avion

Aldridge:


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A ‘spoons.

But finally a ‘spoons in a place that has been crying out for one.

I love the Avion. It’s a 1930s cinema, that closed as a cinema in 1967, then as a bingo hall in 2009, then was the subject of speculation 2 years ago.

It’s now open as a pub, and they’ve done a great job. It’s still a ‘spoons, but the inside is pleasant, with deco touches, and there’s local ales from Beowulf & Backyard.

The view from the ladies’ toilet is rather nice too, featuring the original stained glass (I’m relying on female companions for this information) from what was, I believe, originally the cafe.

Staff were friendly too, and the place was very busy.

The Pitch

Walsall.

This is a re-incarnation of Bar Sport, and some of my prior comments apply, but this time we were looking to watch the Grand national, for which it was perfect. Didn’t see ale, but my pint of Peroni was fine- and to be honest, it’s nice to see actual decent lager available for a change.

Revisit: The Crown

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The Crown has been refurbished. Ouside is smartened up, with new plants and seating with sheilding from the A5 (which, even on a cold February night, we used), because….

…It’s even more of a restaurant and less of a pub. In doing that, the canteen like feel has been reduced, but this is very much not a pub, but a family feedbag type restaurant, part of the Martsons empire. If that’s what you’re after, it’s an improvement and not unpleasant. It’s fresh and clean, and very popular, but the beer is pricey and there’s no pub atmosphere. Staff were pleasant, and there’s some real ale, as well as actual decent lager, an increasingly rare thing these days, but we found ourselves missing the small, traditional pub-like area at one end which used to be there.

Revisits: The Fountain

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Walsall:


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The Fountain, Lower Forster St, Walsall

The Fountain, Lower Forster St, Walsall

The Fountain always was a nice pub, so it was sad when it closed in August 2011, due to the pubco owners pricing the landlady out. Just after that, the lovely building next door caught fire.

The good point of this is that those nice people at the Backyard Brewhouse have bought it, and it’s now been open a week.

It’s lovely. As nice as The Swan, which is nice. A traditional, backstreet pub just on the edge of the town centre with Backyard’s fine selection of beer (four or five ales when I visited, and their own lager, plus others), and friendly staff and a nice atmosphere, Just the thing after Christmas shopping. It’s been tidied up and refurbed, but not stripped out.

Since it’s not a huge pubco’s pub, the prices are very reasonable too- you’ll see respectable change from 3 quid for a pint, which is good going these days. There was music, but it was quiet enough for conversation.

No food at present, but I’m told it’s on it’s way.

The Starting Gate

Walsall:


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This is very much a backstreet drinkers pub: it’s very close to the town centre but you’re unlikely to find it unless you know it’s there. By the looks of the place it’s an old building, and is rumoured to be haunted.

The drinkers had been hard at it when we visited, but were friendly enough: rowdy, but friendly. Music was loud (but, to be fair, not shit) beer was acceptable, but no better (no ale, Stella was that 4% rubbish). Allegedly the place was refurbed in 2006, though I’d say “what with” to that. It reminded me of the Duke of Rutland or Shoulder of Mutton in several ways: old, traditional boozers with a local crowd, loud but OK music, and limited drinks range. Very much rough and ready…