Category Archives: chain

The Pretty Bricks


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Long overdue for a blogged visit, we hadn’t been here in a long time, so a visit in the company of Andy seemed appropriate.

The Pretty Bricks has always been known as such, but it’s official name was The Tap and Spile, with The Pretty Bricks being a nickname from the unusual glazed bricks on the frontage. For some years it’s been noted for real ale.

It’s a traditional 2 room pub, now owned by Black Country Taverns, a small but growing chain in and around the Black Country, who specialise in traditional pubs, and they’ve adopted the name as it’s official one.

It’s a great place: 5 or 6 well-kept real ales, food (both a menu and cobs/pork pie), no music or gaming machines, and a friendly welcome.

The Old Contemptibles


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Situated close to Snow Hill station, this is a large Victorian pub, part of the Nicholsons chain, like The Shakespeare and errm, The Shakespeare. For a chain pub it’s very nice indeed. Somehow it has been missed from PubBlog despite it being a regular visit in the big bad city. Never eaten here, but the food looks OK, the beer is great, and a good choice, and the staff usually good too. The only thing to watch is that they sometimes use tankard type glasses [shudder], and at weekday lunchtimes it’s full of lots of bankers. A wunch of them, to be precise.

The Horse and Jockey

Walsall Wood:

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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.

The Crown

Corporation St, Birmingham:

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This is a large, imposing Victorian pile of a pub, near to some other nice Victorian buildings just outside the main shopping area.

I’ve visited it before, some years ago, when it was rather down-at-heel. It’s since had a makeover, and the pubco that own it own a good few more successful pubs in the city. I’d been meaning to drop in for a while as the pub has had some favourable comments in CAMRA lefalets, and had a bit of time to kill while waiting for my better half, so I dropped in.

It’s not bad: a typical (good value) chain pub food menu and tidy but by-the-numbers interior (but without taking away all the character, but by no means unpleasant, and my pint of Landlord was very nice indeed. Staff were pleasant too.