I’d heard good things about The Walsall Arms since it reopened, and finally got there, and the reputation is deserved- a lively atmosphere, nice looking beer garden, and the skittle alley is still there. A great welcome, nice locals, and top-notch beer too- about our only reservation was the slightly bland decor and we preferred the layout before it was opened up, but still a great pub, and deservedly popular.
This pub is a real landmark, a beautiful building- a lovely sight if you drive up Lower Rushall St: a proper terracotta-and-tile 19th century pub, and surprisingly, there’s some great stuff inside too; tiling and woodwork.
It’s been a loosely-Irish pub since the Irish pub boom of the nineties, but in more recent times, it’s gone a bit downhill in clientele- sadly there were some EDL types present (presumably a hang-over from the march in town that day). The Stella was serviceable, but no ale. Cheap, though, and the barmaid was very pleasant- but it just could be lovely; it could be a Woodman quite easily.
Part of the Dorbiere chain (not one I’d heard of before, but this is their most southerly pub), this is right in the middle of town, and looks to have been refurbished fairly recently: it’s traditional pub inside, but the carpet is modern. There’s real ale, but sadly one was on the sour side and the other ran out, but the staff handled that well and the atmosphere was nice- welcoming even at 10pm on Saturday.
This was better. Real ale, nice layout, tidy, traditional decor. Cobs and an enviable array of scratchings. As Andy points out, the landlady could have been a bit more welcoming, but otherwise fine.
This could have been a cracker. Traditional decor, a backstreet drinker’s pub, but it all went a bit wrong. No ale of any description, and no lager you’d actually want to drink, so I plumped for Guiness, which proved to be a can poured and put on one of those ultrasonic surger devices, and the others whatever dreadful keg bitter was about. The pub was busy, but the combination of loud music, shouting and a good proportion of wandering kids meant it wasn’t very pleasant. Pity.
A pub I’d been meaning to go in for years. Inside was a bit loud, and no ale or decent lager on offer, but the keg Banks’s was OK, and staff and locals friendly- but it has to be said the outside seating improved things greatly so we could actually talk. Nothing special, but an OK place.
Just over the road, this is Willenhall’s ‘spoons. It’s been there a while (since 1999), and is, well, a ‘spoons. Not a bad one overall: it was clean, and the beer and staff were fine. Again, bus stop very close, but the opposite direction.
Been in here a few times in the past: its proximity to the 529 bus stop means that the need of a slash and/or drink halfway between Wolverhampton & Walsall essentially makes it the best place. In the past it has been….vibrant, with questionable beer choice. The beer choice has definitely been fixed, with ale available and in decent condition, and the pub has had a refurb since, and the atmosphere now is pleasant, but lively- though to be honest, most of our mini-crawl around Willenhall was lively.
Our original final pub was to be Tinky’s, it being both sublime and next to the bus stops we needed, and still hadn’t been visited as one of #100pubs, but it had adopted its traditional, unpredictable opening schedule, so we went off to The Bell, giving up the quest for the day.
It’s very nice. It’s just been refurbished, with new landlord/landlady, and they haven’t wrecked it. There’s fresh paint, some new outdoor fittings, new handpumps, and new staff, but the basic fabric of this excellent pub remains. Andy’s mild was a bit duff, but replaced without question, and my Sunbeam was excellent, and the place was deservedly popular.
Bloxwich, just up the road from Tinky’s.
I’ve been past The Spotted Cow many times, generally on the way to Tinky’s, but this time we went in, needing to raise the #100pubs count a little.
Owing to the dire selection of beer, we had to resort to Budweiser, and fortunately we found a quiet corner in the place, which was inexplicably crowded. Not exactly awful, but loud, crowded, and with nothing to really wow the place. It could be lovely, though.