The Queens Head

Wednesbury:

Close to all the delights of the border between Walsall and Wednesbury: M6 Junction 9, Ikea, a surplus of nice old houses that have become care homes.

That’s sounding quite negative. In actual fact, where the pub is situated is a surprisingly quiet resdential street that wraps around Brunswick Park, with a mix of old and new housing. We sat outside, next to the street, in the sun, and it was nice. I’d not been here before, and my better half hadn’t been here since college days over 20 years ago, when Sandwell College was just the other side of the A461. The pub itself is a traditional one, almost certainly Victorian given the name and the history of the park. It’s had a fairly typical makeover, but it hasn’t removed the character (and it looks fresh and tidy), and while food is a big part of the business, that hasn’t destroyed that this is a pub.

Very friendly staff, decent beer, good food.

The Crystal Fountain

Cannock:

Been meaning to come here for a while: it’s a big, 1937 pub in a minor road close to Cannock town centre, and the interior is on CAMRA’s inventory with good reason: it was carefully restored in 2012 by Black Country Inns, and the inside is now tidy, smart, but still authentic to the age. Really friendly landlord, great beer, lovely beer garden, and a Arriva 2 Sapphire stops outside the door…

Offshore

Torquay:

Was unsure about including this, as it calls itself a bar/cafe/restaurant, but stood at the bar it felt pubish, more so than some places claiming to be pubs. It’s food-centric, but there was ale, and the outside space is lovely. Staff friendly enough considering the tourist overload.

The Bridge Inn

Topsham:

This was a real find, thanks to my better half and CAMRA’s pub heritage books. A short walk from the station, it’s been in the same family for well over 100 years, and the interior is on CAMRAs national inventory, but after a quick look about we sat outside with a view over the river. Fantastic ale, great food (Ploughmans, sandwiches, pies) and lovely staff: it doesn’t get much better. A word of warning, this pub keeps traditional hours, so you need to time a visit.

The Buccaneer Inn

Babbacombe Downs:

We’d had a loss of bus mojo, so sat for a while on the downs to recover from the resultant walk, then fancied a pint. The Buccaneer was nearest: I didn’t fancy it much as it seemed a bit family feedbag (a sign on the door warned against “foul language and boisterousness”, declaring it a family pub.

In the event it was OK. Redeemed for a start by the presence of Proper Job, and inside was thoughtfully divided into family and adult areas, with children banned from some. As it was, we sat outside in the sun.

The Harbour Inn

Paignton:

Odd one here: half the pub is a Tex-Mex restaurant, and another attached restaurant is just behind, but the bar is still a proper, traditional pub. We sat outside in the sun, though. There was ale, but I drank a soft drink as I was feeling dehydrated. Staff very pleasant, a selection of locals using the bar as they no doubt had for years; it was surprising how well this worked: a model you sometimes see in the Midlands with an Indian restaurant attached.

In Ur Pubz, Drinkin Ur Beerz