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 while ago, the pub had a half-hearted makeover that made it worse: it felt even more like a clubhouse. I’m glad to say that’s been fixed: the pub looks smart and feels modern and welcoming, and there’s new outside furniture too. It’s also gained real ale, which is very welcome, and food.
…which is where I was disappointed.
At time of writing, the website says food is served 12:00-20:00, and I’m told if you view on an iPad, it says light bites available up to 14:30. The sign outside says “food every day”.
Either way, having settled down with an (to be fair, excellent) pint, it was dissapointing to be told the kitchen had closed when I tried to order food at 14:01, so we drank up and went back down to the bustling centre of Walsall Wood and the Boatman’s Rest. Shame really, we’d have been set up for the afternoon…
[edit Dec 2016]
To be fair, now things have settled, it’s a great pub with decent food and excellent beer, and you can usually hear over the music or TV.
The Duck has changed hands, now being run by Rob, who’s also still in control up at the Shire Oak.
It’s still not plush, but it’s an awful lot cleaner than in recent times… As to be expected, the beer is top-notch: Rob looks after the beer properly, and it shows. There’s usually the jukebox on, but it’s not generally too loud. There’s sometimes entertainment as well, but the size and layout means you can usually find an area quiet enough to drink & talk.
It’s early days there, but very promising, and judging by the amount of customers, should go well.
This is near enough to be a local, but I’ve not been in for 3 years or so. It’s on the face of it, a by-the-numbers carvery pub, so not really my thing, but an old friend suggested it for a meet, and we needed food, so we went down a bit early. The food itself was predictable, but not bad at all, prices reasonable, and the drink reasonable too- staff very pleasant. There was even real ale, but nothing I fancied. The niff from the landfill over the road doesn’t help the ambience outside though.
An unusual twist is the gaffer from years ago has returned, so live music is featuring again.
Not a pub we visit that often. It’s not that far away, but it seems further than it is.
It’s a open-plan pub now (and has been for as long as I’ve known it), with a conservatory extension at the back, and a sizeable car park/beer garden beyond that. No food besides cobs, and just the usual beers (but at least the Kronenbourg was good), but it’s a pleasant community pub with a pool table that’s been sensibly relocated to the back. The smoking area, for those of you that smoke, is impressive, with shelter and a stove.
It’s always at least OK, and has recently served as a nice bolt-hole for a quiet pint when every other pub has loud music and/or TVs.
High St, Walsall Wood:
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A very local pub, but not one we visit regularly: on occaision it has been a bit rough, but this time it was actually rather good: fewer kids wandering about (and those that were were quiet), TVs were quiet, guest ale good too, and friendly staff. May have to visit more often.
A subsequent visit was fine- early doors (6pm), until someone decided a load of rap-with-a-silent-c music at high volume was appropriate. [sigh]
The 3rd very local pub. No food, and the lounge is permanently empty, but a nice local friendly pub with OK beer, good prices and nice staff. Dominated by the local football club, but not annoyingly so.
Previously The Red Lion, this is very much a local for me. In Walsall Wood High St, handily opposite the local Indian restaurant (which is why I visited, to wait for my takeaway with a pint of wife-beater and a magazine).
It’s a nice enough, busy two-room local: no food at the moment, but a couple of guest beers. The staff are friendly and the beer not too expensive. Entertainment, if that’s your thing, on some Fri/Sat nights.
Here we go then, kicking of a new load of crap I post:
(pic stolen from PigBlog).
The Black Cock. One of my locals. Good food, good beer, neither the cheapest, but not the most expensive either by some good margin. Local community pub that has varied over the years from rough to pretty nice. It’s pretty nice now.