Tag Archives: Birmingham

The Eagle and Tun

Digbeth, Birmingham:

Right next to The Woodman, another fine old Victorian pub, and another James & Lister lea building for Ansells. Empty and derelict since 2008, it was once a very sad sight, isolated while development went on around it, and with only local listing, the future didn’t look good- as recently as 2012, it looked like both would be flattened, along with The Fox and Grapes. As we’ve seen, The Woodman was saved first, and as we walked past on our last visit, we noticed the Eagle & Tun was about to re-open, and it now has.

It is well known for the UB40 Connection- the video for Red Red Wine was shot there, as was the cover for the first Best of UB40 album, as the studios for DEP International were just around the corner in Andover St.

Anyway, the pub itself? Outside is typical Brum terracotta. Inside is less salubrious than The Woodman, and a work-in-progress, clearly, but the atmosphere was pleasant (if cold!), the barman was very friendly, and the drinks cheap (and decent enough too, even if the HPA ran out before I got a pint). The pub is playing on the UB40 connection, with that being the choice of music. There’s still the stunning tiles at one end, and the feel of a proper Brum pub too.

The Old Royal

Birmingham:

Just up from The OCs, this is a place that’s not bad, but could be great: elegant, Victorian frontage and a traditional interior, but a cheapish pubco menu and Greene King beer, which meant Andy drank water…

Popular- very busy on a Saturday night on the run up to Christmas, but could be better: it could be the OCs or one of the Shakespeares.

The Eagle and Ball

Eastside, Birmingham:

We’d been to The Woodman nearby, so upped the pub count here. It’s Birmingham City University’s Student Union, but it’s also a pub.

Inside, it’s a bit bright and modern for a Victorian pub, and we were obviously not the target audience for the music. Staff were pleasant though, even when we were criticising the music next to the manager…

There was ale, but the pump was playing up, sadly. Not too bad a place at all, considering.

The Sun on the Hill

Bennetts Hill, Bitmingham City Centre:

I wasn’t expecting to like this. It has a bit of a chainpub feel to it, though a little upmarket. It’s a big space, all one room, and all the hard surfaces made it noisy, but most of the noise was lively conversation (until the Rugby started), though there was music, that, mid-afternoon added nothing; people chatting and drinking gave the place atmosphere and we both liked it more than expected.

Good beer too- I wasn’t expecting ale, but there was a choice.

Andy’s log here

The Red Lion

Hockley, Birmingham:

Sister pub to The Lord Clifden, so part of the Urban Art Bar Group. Don’t let the group name put you off, I was prepared to hate the Lord Clifden, expecting hipster wankery, and was proved wrong, and if anything The Red Lion was better still on that front, with just ordinary punters. Closer to the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, it’s a short walk from the Chamberlain Clock at Warstone Lane/Vyse St.

It’s very nice. Traditional inside- the art in Urban Art is minimal, thankfully- decent beer (Bathams when I called), friendly staff, food that looked and smelt good, though I didn’t eat. Not cheap, but that’s the price we pay for Hockley’s trendiness, I suppose. There’s 2 rooms downstairs, and apparently another upstairs.

Brewdog Birmingham

John Bright Street:

Another place I’d intended visiting for a good while. It’s just past it’s first birthday.

John Bright St seems to be enjoying a upturn, with Cherry Red’s, and the ever popular Victoria nearby, as well as new restaurants. Brewdog is of course an outlet for the craft beer brewery known for it’s uncompromising attitude and great beer. It’s very near to New St if you’re travelling by train. I was sad to note the now-closed Crown following its sale.

Brewdog itself is a bit trendy for me (as I’m distinctly middle-aged), and the decor is like some late 80s-early 90s revival, all stripped back bare surfaces and exposed cable tray (and seats that were hard to get my fat arse into), but the beer was great, the staff friendly and helpful, and atmosphere buzzing for a mid-afternoon on a Tuesday.

The Woodman

Digbeth:

Another fine James & Lister Lea Birmingham terracotta pub, right next to Curzon St station and Millenium Point, and not farb from the sadly empty and run-down Eagle & Tun. It’s a fine pub: good food (or it looked it- we didn’t eat) at a very reasonable price, several real ales and ciders, and craft beer too. We were sat in the least attractive room, the bar, and it was still nice, the other rooms are grander- it’s the traditional terracotta and tile arrangement. Staff were pleasant, and there’s a mix of clientele- though plenty from the nearby BCU.

The refurb and subsequent re-opening last year has done it proud: it’s not over-restored but is smart and maintains it’s original features.

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 Church

Hockley:


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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.