St Matthews Hall

Walsall:


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It’s a Wetherspoons. This building has been Walsall’s library, a Court House, The Old Court House pub, Martha’s Vineyard pub, and now St Matthews Hall.

It’s now rather like it was as the Old Court House, tidied up, less grim than it’s Martha’s Vineyard incarnation. There’s some nice outside space looking out on Leicester St, the beer seems OK, and the staff pleasant, if far too busy- as per usual for spoons. Not a bad spoons at all.

The Rose Villa Tavern

Hockley, Birmingham:


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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.

The Brown Lion

Hockley, Birmingham:


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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.

The Old Contemptibles

Birmingham:


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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 Willeymoor Lock Tavern

Whitchurch:


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By the side of the Langollen Canal this is a very traditional canalside pub. It’s sprawling and multi-roomed, with outside space both on the canalside and in the garden. Good choice of real ale, and OK if unexceptional pub food. Nice place to sit and watch boats go by. Access is by boat, towpath, or footbridge- the car park is the other side of the canal, off the A49.

There’s a couple of disadvantages: it gets very busy, and for some reason, they don’t take cards- cash/cheque only :-/.

The Anchor

Whitchurch:


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Pleasant looking pub just off the High St. It wasn’t actually bad, but a few things annoyed: Bar Stools for one- I’m never keen, as when they get used they block access to the bar- this was a particular problem here. Good choice of beer when we did get there, though. The outside space was OK, but a few low seats rather than high stools/tables would be better. Overall not bad, but it could have been great.

The Horse and Jockey

Grindley Brook,Whitchurch, Staffordshire:


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Roadside pub, just inside Shropshire, off the A41.

A very pleasant pub- 6 real ales, nice proprietor, excellent food, handly location for where we were camping. It’s not canalside, but the canal is very close. We eat here twice, and drank 3 times, and each time the food and beer were excellent, and the staff very pleasant. It’s quite food-dominated, but is still a pub- walkers, cyclists, dogs, and [shudder] children welcome. Not the cheapest, but fairly priced and very good.