Category Archives: Revisits

Revisit: The Shire Oak

Original post here.

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.

Revisit: The Four Crosses

Original post here.

Rumours of its demise seemed to have been exaggerated.

The Four Crosses is back open. There’s a lick of paint, but otherwise it is as if it never closed; same landlord, but a new owner of the building. The rumour is that the care home will still be built, which if it went for anything like the asking price, wouldn’t be a surprise.

Whatever, I’m happy to enjoy it. Nice atmosphere, great beer, and good prices too. The Indian food disappeared some time ago, but otherwise all the same. Long may it continue.

Revisit: The Bell

Original post here.

Our original final pub was to be Tinky’s, it being both sublime and next to the bus stops we needed, and still hadn’t been visited as one of #100pubs, but it had adopted its traditional, unpredictable opening schedule, so we went off to The Bell, giving up the quest for the day.

It’s very nice. It’s just been refurbished, with new landlord/landlady, and they haven’t wrecked it. There’s fresh paint, some new outdoor fittings, new handpumps, and new staff, but the basic fabric of this excellent pub remains. Andy’s mild was a bit duff, but replaced without question, and my Sunbeam was excellent, and the place was deservedly popular.

Revisit: The Queens Hotel

Original post here.

We actually visited twice this day: once before our curry, and then, in the company of Andy, so we got to add it to #100pubs.

First visit wasn’t encouraging; the football was on the TV at stupid volume, and we gave up waiting to get served, bought beer from the Co-op, and headed for our curry early. Returning later, a party was in progress in the back, and the whole pub was rammed, but the atmosphere and the beer was good (and there were enough staff). I’ve never seen it so busy.

Revisit: The Shoulder of Mutton

Original post here

We’d been to the Christmas Market in Brownhills, which was nice, and popped in for a pint. It’s been a few years since we’ve been in, and it’s been refurbed in that time. It’s still a backstreet drinkers pub, with no ale, but the lager was OK and the atmosphere was friendly. There’s still a few panes of the historic William Roberts Brewery glass left too.

Revisits: The Royal Exchange

Original post here.

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…

Revisit: The Swan

Original post here

I’ve always liked the Swan. It’s a traditional community pub in Brownhills, and as I posted here it’s just re-opened. It’s now a free house, so hopefully the new owners will be able to make a decent living and keep the prices realistic.

The new owners have done a cracking job: the interior has been redecorated and looks fresh, but still traditional. There’s cobs (yay!), a good welcome, and a good selection of beer at decent prices, including 2 well-kept cask ales. A very nice pub.