Tag Archives: ale

The Black Eagle

Hockley, Birmingham:

What a fine pub. Real gem, in an industrial street on the Hockley/Handsworth border, this pub is a 1905 rebuild, and keeps it’s traditional feel. There’s a good choice of great ales, including Bathams, good food at a great price, friendly staff, and traditional pub atmosphere- the open fires are gas, but still pleasant. An absolute delight, and only a short walk from the Metro, which happily was only broken north of Priestfield.

If visiting, check the opening times first.

The Craven Arms

Birmingham

Just round the corner from the temple to crass consumersism that is The Mailbox, this is another Black Country Taverns pub, and as such follows their traditional model: a focus on good beer, traditional pub atmosphere, cobs for sale, and an invitation to bring your own food (and they’ll supply the cutlery).

This one carries it off well. I liked it better that The Lych Gate Tavern. Beer was great, staff pleasant, and it made a nice place after fighting past the German Market in New St.

The Ferry Tap

South Queensferry:

Almost in the shadow of both the road and rail Firth of Forth crossings, South Queensferry is a peasant little place. Sadly, we were in the car, but found parking nearby and stopped for lunch. Food was a bit mixed; my burger was fine, but stymistress’s baguette was a bit below par. Real ale on offer, but not tried (due to presence of car), and a large slection of whisky. Pleasant, helpful staff, and nice, traditional interior only marred by the large TV (thankfully muted).

The Oxford Bar

Edinburgh:

This was a real surprise: it was on our list because of its literary connections (being the favourite bar of Ian Rankin and his well known character Inspector John Rebus).

It’s lovely. Positively lovely. It’s a bit of a timewarp, still subdivided up, and the back room we were in had a real fire. No food, no music, no TV, just a quiet, relaxing bar with some superb ale and a lovely quiet bolthole from the city. The staff and locals have a reputation for surliness, but we found them friendly- and we were very obviously tourists.

The West Port Hotel

Linlithgow:

Next door to The Black Bitch Tavern, this is a hotel, but the bar area feels like a pub. It didn’t hit the spot with us, being a modern take on traditional that’s so popular right now; all green paint, stripped wood and blackboards. Staff were fine, as was the beer, but it just didn’t hit home- this wasn’t helped by the noisy kids shouting at one table (from the same family that left their scared, unhappy dog tied to railings outside).