I was ready to hate this, but thought one of my companions might like it, as she has a less grotty taste in pubs than I do. Hockley can be a bit of a game these days, what with The Rose Villa Tavern, and the increasing ‘cool’ of the area, so with that and the company that owns this (and its sister pub, The Red Lion, making a chain of 2) calling itself Urban Art Bar Group [shudder], I was ready for it to be replete with bell end hipsters (is there any other sort?).
Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Inside, it looks like a pub. An actual pub. OK, there’s art on the walls, but it actually looks OK. The staff were friendly, efficient, and normal. The food was good, the ale was excellent (as per the reputation), and the music wasn’t some dreadful shite no-one would ever listen to for pleasure, and not so loud we couldn’t talk. The prices weren’t too bad either. There’s a big outside smoking shelter for those of you that might want it- with a TV (so we can get the two objectionable things in one place! (edit: there’s a TV in the bar too, but not the lounge)).
Best of all, the customers were normal too.
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The Rose Villa Tavern could be fantastic. Note: Could be.
It’s smack in the middle of the Jewellery quarter, on the corner of Warstone Lane & Vyse St. It’s near the Metro/Rail station, and while the outside isn’t execeptional, the inside has some glorious stained glass and tiles. It serves great beer too.
The downside? Well, it’s got a bit of the Fighting Cocks about it. Trying soooo hard to be ‘urban’ and hip, with interior ‘design’ fighting the original features rather than complementing, and full of people desperately trying to be cool too. Beer was fine, staff OK, but atmosphere was lacking, unless you’re cool, which I’m not. It’s owners also own the Victoria and the Jekyll and Hyde, apparently.
A combination shopping and small pub-crawl saw us wandering through Birmingham, after a brief stop at the OCs we headed for the Jewellery Quarter, and were happy to stumble accross the Brown Lion. Outside, it’s traditional-looking, inside it’s tidy and clean, if a little sparse and stripped. Top choice of real ale (it’s the brewery tap for the Two Towers Brewery, execleent staff, and good food. When we arrived it was full of other CAMRA members seemingly doing the Hockley pub crawl.