But finally a ‘spoons in a place that has been crying out for one.
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.
This was a visit of unexpected delight, and then disappointment. Delight that the pub was open again, then disappointment that the bar was devoid of atmosphere, all bare floorboards and multiple TVs playing football loudly (with no-one watching), and the poor beer choice (no cask ale), plus the little ray of sunshine serving. Shame, it used to be a great little pub. It wasn’t awful and is probably the closest thing to a decent pub near the centre of Aldridge, but that’s not saying much.
This is The Elms renamed, refurbished, and a Crown Carvery. It’s still a pub: the bar area is fairly seperate (and still has the annoying people standing at it so you can’t get a drink), but three quarters of the pub is a carvery restaurant. You get what you’d expect: a large, slightly canteen like bit at the back, but a few quiet corners. Plenty of families and pensioners.
For what it is, it’s not too bad. The food’s OK, the beer drinkable but not fantastic, and the prices are amazingly low. Stunningly low. Just don’t go expecting haute cuisine, fantastic beer, or loads of atmosphere. The staff were pleasant enough, and overall not a bad experience. Basically, it’s a damn sight better than the last time I visited, though being worse would be hard.
Almost opposite the Lazy Hill, this is (at a guess) a 60s pub. It’s had a mixed history and is certainly a little more ‘colourful’ than the Lazy Hill, but it does have the advantage of being open longer- the Lazy Hill doesn’t open all day, keeping more traditional hours, and we missed it today.
It’s current guise has most of the lounge turned over to an Indian Restaurant, but the pub is still very much a pub. Beer choice is a little limited on draught- just the usual stuff- but there’s a good choice of bottled lager. The barman was nice too.
Right where the A452 meets the A454 just outside the town, the Old Irish Harp is older than it looks at first glane- it has been much extended over the years- and has been a pub to eat at for many years now. It’s now a by-the-numbers Marstons house with a choice of 3 cask ales, plus all the usual stuff, and an extensive food menu. Given that, it’s not bad at all. A bit soulless and Moe’s Family Feedbag, but the food ranges from OK to pretty good, the prices aren’t too bad, and the beer is OK too. The staff are friendly enough too, in a corporate ‘how can I help you today’ kind of way.
On the oustkirts of Aldridge:
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The Lazy Hill is one of those pubs that survives, and survives well despite bucking the perceived wisdom: It doesn’t open all day, keeping roughly the old traditional hours of 12-3 and 7-11. It also doesn’t serve food, or allow children (yay!). It has hardly changed in 20 or more years inside either.
What it does do is serve cracking beer and decent wine. There’s typically 2-3 ales (Deuchars IPA seems to be a permanent fixture, and Bombardier was on when we visited), and 2-3 decent lagers (Kronenbourg & a couple of unusual imported ones) too, as well as the usual suspects. There’s lots of space and a relaxed but busy enough atmosphere with music you can hear but hear over. It’s a pub I infrequently but regularly visit, and one I always wish I visited more often.
Visited this (unusually) by car, with mothers in tow for Saturday lunch.
It’s a pretty standard pubco chain pub, part of the Table Tablechain (what a depressingly shite name for a ‘brand’. Wankers.), but pleasant enough.
Reasonable range of beer, though none for me (driving). Surroundings OK, Food OK too, and family-friendly. Not really my thing, but handy enough if that’s what you’re after, and sometimes useful.
The Elms is one of those pubs that leave me in a quandary. It’s not that nice. It was a grotty old hole full of chavs serving shite beer, but it’s been cleaned up. Still a bit of a nest at times though.
Problem is, there are only two pubs and one ‘wine bar’ close to the centre, and that’s ‘close’ as in ‘about 10 minutes walk’, so by default it’s where you go. It’s got the location too.
Still, at least you don’t stick to the carpet anymore, and my pint of wife-beater was above average too.
It’s still bloody grim. The Stella’s shit again too.