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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Just over the way from The Bridge, this was a different matter. Traditional, real ale, friendly (to the point of offering free samosas) and a nice place, even with a few kids about for the Bonfire Night celebrations.
Lane Head, Short Heath:
Mixed feelings about this. The locals were a bit hostile, but the landlord friendly. The pub looks nice outside, but inside has suffered a by-the-numbers Punch Taverns makeover. Also there was no ale, as “it didn’t sell”, so we suffered Yardbird– at over 4 quid a pint. Not an awful pub, but not my kind of place.
Traditional drinkers pub, but the rougher type. No ale, no decent lager, so choosing a drink was hard, and not the most welcoming place either. We didn’t linger, as apart from anything else, the loud-looking disco was being set up.