Tag Archives: ale

The Church

Hockley:


View Larger Map

I’m not often in church, but…

Just down the road from The Lord Clifden, another pleasant surprise. If you read the website:

Come and kneel at the high altar of culinary decadence. Nestled in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, sits a pub with a twist

You might start to think, that along with the location (Hockley is a bit too hipster, really) that you’re in for full-on wankery. but it’s actually very pleasant. Odd decoration- a mix of modern, 50′s Americana, and traditional, but here it works. Everards beer, in good condition, and, so I’m informed, decent wine too. Food looks interesting too, and the staff were pleasant. I’d argue about “heart of the jewellery quarter”, if I’m being picky, as that’s Vyse St for me, but it’s a nice pub.

The Fradley Arms

Near Fradley, Lichfield


View Larger Map

Just a few hours after whinging about them, I find myself in a chain-pub “restaurant”. In my defence, it was on the way home; an awkwardly-timed appointment in Burton-upon-Trent saw us heading south back home without having eaten, so we called in. I was last here over 10 years ago, and I think I recall a traditional pub. The old building still looks attractive, but it shares its site with a Premier Inn, has become a behemoth collection of buildings, and is part of the Fayre & Square chain, itself a brand of the Spirit Pub Company. See what they did there? It sells Fayre, at a fair and square price, and *giggle* some of the food is square (the burgers). How very whimsical, I do believe my sides have split.

It was OK, as a better alternative than McDonalds or the chippy, and it was pretty cheap (£17 for 2 meals, a soft drink, and a large wine). There was cask ale, and a good choice of other stuff. There’s a wacky warehouse for kids to run about in, though that didn’t stop some parents letting theirs run about the place (fortunately, as it’s a big place, we went to the other end and escaped them). The food was serviceable, rather than exceptional, and the menu standard family feedbag stuff (PDF, 11MB). Staff were nice enough, but a bit corporate training manual:

“Pint of lime & soda please”

“Is that a large or a small?”

[facepalm]

Overall, you could do worse, but you’re not going to get atmosphere or haute cuisine.

The Wheatsheaf

Bloxwich:


View Larger Map

Quite a surprise this: we were visiting because a friend’s band was playing, so we got dragged along by Andy, and didn’t know what to expect. Inside, it’s quite traditional, but we thought that was probably the corporate Banks’s makeover from a few years back- whatever, it’s pleasant, nicer than expected for a backstreet boozer in Bloxwich. A couple of guest ales, and Banks’s on a hand pull, decent wine at a good price, and very pleasant staff. Hard to judge the normal atmosphere, as half of Essington were in there.

The Post Office Vaults

Birmingham City Centre:


View Larger Map

I’ve included streetview because the address is listed as 84 New St, but I failed to find it twice. Unless there’s another entrance I’m unaware of, you actually get in on Pinfold St, then downstairs into a tiny pub: at busy times you’ll be lucky to get in (my third visit, on a Friday night, was aborted as we couldn’t get in the door) but it was quiet when I visited. Great choice of top-notch ale, and pleasant, helpful staff. It has a reputation for unusual bottled beer, which is interesting. No food, but apparently you can take your own, and they’ll supply cutlery/plates.

The Lord Clifden

Hockley, Birmingham:


View Larger Map

I was ready to hate this, but thought one of my companions might like it, as she has a less grotty taste in pubs than I do. Hockley can be a bit of a game these days, what with The Rose Villa Tavern, and the increasing ‘cool’ of the area, so with that and the company that owns this (and its sister pub, The Red Lion, making a chain of 2) calling itself Urban Art Bar Group [shudder], I was ready for it to be replete with bell end hipsters (is there any other sort?).

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Inside, it looks like a pub. An actual pub. OK, there’s art on the walls, but it actually looks OK. The staff were friendly, efficient, and normal. The food was good, the ale was excellent (as per the reputation), and the music wasn’t some dreadful shite no-one would ever listen to for pleasure, and not so loud we couldn’t talk. The prices weren’t too bad either. There’s a big outside smoking shelter for those of you that might want it- with a TV (so we can get the two objectionable things in one place! (edit: there’s a TV in the bar too, but not the lounge)).

Best of all, the customers were normal too.