Wall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire:
As reported by Brownhills Bob a short while ago, The Trooper is now open again, so we took a walk out to have a look. A few years ago, this was a popular place for meals and well known for some distance around.
First impressions outside were good- it looks smart, but the first impressions inside weren’t: It had the appearance of being a bit too food biased, and maybe a little bit up itself: the restaurant area is large, and the staff had the standard upmarket food pub uniform.
This impression was wrong: The bar area is still a bar area, and while there’s a strong food bias (it’s a “restaurant and free house” according to signage), it still feels like a pub, unlike The Boat nearby, which doesn’t get a listing here as it’s a restaurant, not a pub.
It’s definitely gone for the ‘upmarket pub food’ end of the market, and seems to do this quite well: not cheap by any means, but not terribly expensive either, a good choice of beer and cider (several real ales, for a start), and a friendly barman. Lots of outside space too, but it’s a pity about the ‘Jazz Lite” music playing- it’s a bit like shopping mall lift music. To be honest, the slightly-posh pub food market is probably the only way to make a decent amount of money- making the pub a place people purposely go to for food, and it’s probably going to succeed there: certainly we’ll go back, even with the long walk.
The menu says it’s part of the Comfy Pub Company- which is based up the road in Stonall, and doesn’t seem to have any other pubs yet, which suggests that it’s been bought from the previous pub co, who allegedly drove a previous landlord out with high rents.