Birmingham City Centre:
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.
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.
In the middle of Digbeth, with a name like this, you’d expect a traditional Irish pub, or something near. You’d be wrong, and be better off wandering down to The Big Bulls Head maybe, or one of the other pubs nearby. It’s surprisingly modern and stripped-out inside, and no ale. It wasn’t actually bad though, just a bit soulless and bland.
Reputedly Birmingham’s oldest inn, right by Digbeth Coach Station, and near to other Digbeth pubs (such as The Anchor or The White Swan, this doesn’t quite have the atmosphere of either of those. Beer, food, and staff all fine though, so well worth a visit.
I’ve been lax: I’ve been here twice recently but missed logging it.
It’s a must for real ale types: a traditional Brum boozer with several ales on at any one time. It also has that time-warp factor in places, and is a beautiful terracotta building. There’s food too, which I have never tried, but the beer is usually as good as you’d expect.
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The Rose Villa Tavern could be fantastic. Note: Could be.
It’s smack in the middle of the Jewellery quarter, on the corner of Warstone Lane & Vyse St. It’s near the Metro/Rail station, and while the outside isn’t execeptional, the inside has some glorious stained glass and tiles. It serves great beer too.
The downside? Well, it’s got a bit of the Fighting Cocks about it. Trying soooo hard to be ‘urban’ and hip, with interior ‘design’ fighting the original features rather than complementing, and full of people desperately trying to be cool too. Beer was fine, staff OK, but atmosphere was lacking, unless you’re cool, which I’m not. It’s owners also own the Victoria and the Jekyll and Hyde, apparently.
A combination shopping and small pub-crawl saw us wandering through Birmingham, after a brief stop at the OCs we headed for the Jewellery Quarter, and were happy to stumble accross the Brown Lion. Outside, it’s traditional-looking, inside it’s tidy and clean, if a little sparse and stripped. Top choice of real ale (it’s the brewery tap for the Two Towers Brewery, execleent staff, and good food. When we arrived it was full of other CAMRA members seemingly doing the Hockley pub crawl.
Situated close to Snow Hill station, this is a large Victorian pub, part of the Nicholsons chain, like The Shakespeare and errm, The Shakespeare. For a chain pub it’s very nice indeed. Somehow it has been missed from PubBlog despite it being a regular visit in the big bad city. Never eaten here, but the food looks OK, the beer is great, and a good choice, and the staff usually good too. The only thing to watch is that they sometimes use tankard type glasses [shudder], and at weekday lunchtimes it’s full of lots of bankers. A wunch of them, to be precise.
Quite an imposing pub on the corner of Bromsgrove St, visible for Bristol St. It’s a bit tatty, and supposedly a gay pub: To me it just seemed like a town pub, with tolerable lager and a friendly barman. We were a bit drunk and in the need of food, so we left fairly soon, but it was OK.
Ooops. This has got missed. I’ve been here lots since PubBlog has existed, but not blogged it, and when I worked just around the corner I was a regular visitor.
It’s on th edge of town, handy for the ICC, and has the feel of a local. It’s Vicorian, typically Birmingham, but is a chain pub with cheap but reasonable food, and pretty good beer.