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.
Right next to the bus station, this is very unispiring as you approach, a 70s-looking rebuild. Inside, it’s a bit bright, and had the feeling it could get a bit erm, vibrant. Staff were friendly, beer was Banks’s, and my bitter was perfectly drinkable, cobs behind the bar, and it did mean my escape to the bus was last-minute.
Right up one end of town, next to Lidl, we’d never been here before, and it was quite pleasant. Very traditional inside, comfortable and friendly. Beer choice a bit limited, but it was cask Banks’s- mild and bitter, so OK. Quite a surprise.
A legendary music venue and pub, this was the saviour of our Bilston trip, and we nearly missed it, as it closes at 4pm on Saturdays. We’ve been caught out before.
Anyway- Holdens on the pumps, friendly staff, nice atmosphere and good music. A great pub.
I hadn’t been in here for years: If it were in a country village, it would be famed, a historically significant building that feels it inside, but the effect is ruined a little by the TVs (one showing sport, one Come Dine With Me, of all things). No ale, either, so we had a rapid half of Girl’s Stella and warmed ourselves by the lovely open fire, before heading for The Trumpet.
Original Post Here.
Our meeting place for the continuation of 100Pubs, I’d heard dark things of this previously notoriously good real ale pub/hotel from several people.
As it was, it wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t brilliant. The beer has been Greene Kinged, and I’m not keen on that- Andy likes GK IPA, when he hates IPA as a rule – so GK IPA was off for me, and I ended up with Benajmin’s Red Molasses Beer, which was at least interesting.
Staff were friendly, and the place looked cleaner and brighter, but it was *freezing* inside. No sign of food, which was there before, and the beer choice is very, very limited compared to before.
Lovely. The star of the evening, I’d last been in here over 10 years ago, when Andy lived nearby. It’s changed a little- the room out back has got bigger, I think, but it’s still a multi-room, traditional pub. It’s a Black Country Taverns pub, and one of the better ones, with atmosphere as well as the usual great beer.
Just over the way from The Bridge, this was a different matter. Traditional, real ale, friendly (to the point of offering free samosas) and a nice place, even with a few kids about for the Bonfire Night celebrations.
Lane Head, Short Heath:
Mixed feelings about this. The locals were a bit hostile, but the landlord friendly. The pub looks nice outside, but inside has suffered a by-the-numbers Punch Taverns makeover. Also there was no ale, as “it didn’t sell”, so we suffered Yardbird– at over 4 quid a pint. Not an awful pub, but not my kind of place.
Traditional drinkers pub, but the rougher type. No ale, no decent lager, so choosing a drink was hard, and not the most welcoming place either. We didn’t linger, as apart from anything else, the loud-looking disco was being set up.