The Royal George

Willenhall:

Been in here a few times in the past: its proximity to the 529 bus stop means that the need of a slash and/or drink halfway between Wolverhampton & Walsall essentially makes it the best place. In the past it has been….vibrant, with questionable beer choice. The beer choice has definitely been fixed, with ale available and in decent condition, and the pub has had a refurb since, and the atmosphere now is pleasant, but lively- though to be honest, most of our mini-crawl around Willenhall was lively.

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.

The Spotted Cow

Bloxwich, just up the road from Tinky’s.

I’ve been past The Spotted Cow many times, generally on the way to Tinky’s, but this time we went in, needing to raise the #100pubs count a little.

Owing to the dire selection of beer, we had to resort to Budweiser, and fortunately we found a quiet corner in the place, which was inexplicably crowded. Not exactly awful, but loud, crowded, and with nothing to really wow the place. It could be lovely, though.

Brewers Fayre (Walsall)

Walsall:

This is a purpose-built Brewers Fayre at the bottom of a Premier Inn, on the edge of the town centre by Town Wharf, and hence right next to The Wharf.

It’s exactly what you’d expect in many ways: bland, lacking in soul, currently-fashionable pubco decor, but for what it is, it is OK. The food was perfectly OK (but, as a note to the world in general, burgers should come on baps, not Ciabatta), there was decent real ale and wine, and the outside seating by the wharfside is pleasant on a sunny day. Staff were pleasant, and the whole place was clean. If you were considering a stop in Walsall, the hotel seems good enough, and the location’s good for the station, shopping, town centre pubs/restaurants, and art gallery.

For some reason, its own website lists it as being near Selly Manor, which is both a bit random, and untrue, as Selly Manor is someway south of Birmingham, so if you were visiting there, there’s many, many hotels closer. Presumably someone at Whitbread HQ searched for historic buildings nearby and randomly picked it.

The Swan Inn

Fradley Junction, Fradley, near Lichfield:

I’d not been to The Swan for years, mostly because it’s not easy to get to for me- it’s way off public transport, and not the easiest to find without a map. However, I was being chauffeured, as I was unable to walk far or drive, and a family member took pity and got me out of the house for a change.

The Swan Inn is lovely. Very traditional, and by the canalside it has a great location to sit outside and watch the boats pass. The beer was great, and the staff helpful and friendly. About the only disadvantage is that it gets very, very busy at popular times, especially in the summertime.

The Crown

Codsall:

Over the road to here. Outside looks a little tatty- nothing too bad, but peeling paint- and inside we’re confronted by a GK beer selection, and one of the standard family feedbag menus.

I chose Golden Hen, which was wise, as my companions chose GK IPA, which is never the most inspiring beer, but especially if (as in this case) it has a whiff of vinegar- but to be fair, it was changed by the barman.

Not an awful pub, but not wonderful either, nothing actually wrong, but I wouldn’t rush back.

The Bull

Codsall:

A short walk into the village from the station (and The Station).

Surprisingly large, and while this did have a bit of Codsall’s affluence about it, it wasn’t up itself. Pleasant enough, nice staff, good beer. Only minus point was TVs- but hey were muted: so this would be the one pub in Codsall I’d choose to return to.

The Station

Codsall:

The good people of Codsall won’t thank me for this, but screw em.

The Station could be lovely. It was however, just good.

The beer was fine, the outside magnificent, the staff friendly. It was, in this case, the clientele. Just a bit too middle-class. Token white-bloke-with-dreadlocks (sure sign of privilege), slightly-posh parensts with kids.

Some will love it. Inside, it’s railway-themed- but as it is the actual station buildings, that’s allowed, but The Great Western back down in Wolverhampton carries it off so much better, and less plastically. To be fair, there was little to complain about- food looked good, beer was fine- but it just didn’t gel for me. Maybe it was just the dreadlocks.