Birmingham City Centre:
In Burlington Arcade, right next to the Burlington Hotel. This made a nice contrast to Purecraft. It’s a little bit themed, but as the theme is Bacchus himself, I think we can excuse it, and generally it’s a pleasant, comfortable place, which we luckily caught just before it got really busy on a Friday evening. Not cheap though; a large wine and a pint was over a tenner.
Birmingham City Centre:
In one way I was tempted to not include this for not being pubby enough, but I couldn’t resist just to lay into it.
I’d been curious for some time. Purity’s beer is great.
The bar is less so. It’s that 90s-reborn exposed cable-tray semi-industrial look that is currently fashionable for some reason (like Brewdog), that just makes it look like you couldn’t afford to finish the job properly.
On top of that, there’s the marketing type idea of quirky: Wine glasses without stems, bike saddles for coathooks, posing tables (and the posers to go with them), “amusing” signs for the toilets. Oh, and 2 quid for a bag of scratchings on a menu without pound signs or figures after the decimal point. Oh, and furthermore, that current fad for re-recording songs of the 80s or 90s with acoustic instruments as a soundtrack. In short, apart from the great beer, pretty dreadful.
Small traditional backstreet locals pub we came across while looking for somewhere to eat. Friendly enough, but a strong smell of dog. The beer was OK though, and we sat in the sun outside.
Large Victorian hotel near the station. Slightly reduced in size with some bits rented out, and a bit faded grandeur (but evidently under refurbishment). The bar was pub-like, and pleasant enough, full of locals on a Friday evening, we came for a drink, then returned for food as the nearby Chinese restaurant was shut. Food and beer both fine, though only 1 ale available, but decent lager as well. Could be absolutely magnificent with investment, and the current people seem to be doing a good job.
This didn’t give a good impression from one side- looking a bit tatty as we walked through town, but later, approaching from the prom it looked better, and in the event was pretty good, with friendly staff, great beer, and decent sandwiches. The place isn’t plush or fancy, but not tatty either, inside.
Just up the road from Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, another Thwaites pub. Traditional-tending-to-modern-gastropub inside, and outside with clever glass screens to shelter you from the wind but not block the view, and heaters, making the outside space very pleasant. Great beer, food looked good (though we didn’t try it), friendly staff.
We wanted a few days away, so we stopped here: it’s a pub with rooms, not a hotel- but it’s both a comfortable place to stay, and a nice pub. Friendly landlord and staff, excellent Thwaites beer, wine, and food, and a great location just minutes from the station and with stunning views over the bay. Our room was pretty good too.
The pub was featured on Four in a Bed a few years ago.
I’d misremembered a friend who’d reccomended the nearby Uxbridge Arms and actually said The Junction was a bit, well, vibrant.
Anyway, The Junction was where we went. Very pleasant it was too- no sign of any trouble, decent beer, somewhere to sit, an old doggie relaxing nearby, and reasonable music you could hear but talk over. Staff and locals pretty decent too. We’ll save The Uxbridge for next time….
 A colleague that lives in Burntwood also rates THe Junction. Perhaps it has improved of late?
Traditional boozer right on the Swan Island at Burntwood (and therefore very handy for the bus, just over the road). I got a bad first impression simply because it was very crowded, and after the walk from The Drill I needed a sit down, and couldn’t get close to the bar. However, this was quickly fixed, and it was a pleasant little community pub with decent beer, a good atmosphere, and friendly locals.
Well known for food for some years, we thought we’d give this a try. It’s a proper country pub, but not too far to walk from our bus route. There’s very much a food bias, and we had to agree to give up our table for a reservation later, but that was fine. It’s not a pubco family feedbag, as far as I can see. Google has it as a restaurant, but I’d have it as a food-biased pub. Great beer (Slaters) and food, reasonable prices, friendly staff. Tons of outside space too, with a play area and a small farm, apparently. Gets very busy on a Saturday night.