Original post here.
Shire Oak, Brownhills:
The Shire Oak has had a bit of a chequered history in the last year or two, with changes of landlord and very much in need of a refurb, so it’s good to see it open again.
That refurb has been completed, so I took a hobble up to see what’s gone on.
It’s a fairly standard pubco makeover, but it looks smart and clean- the refurb was needed, but a bit of atmosphere has gone (I overheard other customers saying the same). The famously upside-down Fleur de Lys walpaper has gone too, and the seperate bar and lounge have gone; the bar area is still there, which is good, but the only demarcation is a hard floor instead of carpet. Sadly, the current fad for tall tables and stools has made it here too: awkward and uncomfortable. There’s a big focus on food- the lounge area is mostly set out for dining.
There were several ales advertised, but only one available, but it was OK, and there was a fair choice of industrial lager, and some variety in the fridges (BrewDog Punk IPA, for example), but the choice for drivers was a bit limited as far as I could see, which seems odd for a pub on a major road junction with a full car park.
All in all, not a bad pub, and very busy. The staff were pleasant, and the beer OK. I’ll be going back, but I’ll miss the old pub.
Original post here
We’d been to the Christmas Market in Brownhills, which was nice, and popped in for a pint. It’s been a few years since we’ve been in, and it’s been refurbed in that time. It’s still a backstreet drinkers pub, with no ale, but the lager was OK and the atmosphere was friendly. There’s still a few panes of the historic William Roberts Brewery glass left too.
Original Post here
The Crown has been refurbished. Ouside is smartened up, with new plants and seating with sheilding from the A5 (which, even on a cold February night, we used), because….
…It’s even more of a restaurant and less of a pub. In doing that, the canteen like feel has been reduced, but this is very much not a pub, but a family feedbag type restaurant, part of the Martsons empire. If that’s what you’re after, it’s an improvement and not unpleasant. It’s fresh and clean, and very popular, but the beer is pricey and there’s no pub atmosphere. Staff were pleasant, and there’s some real ale, as well as actual decent lager, an increasingly rare thing these days, but we found ourselves missing the small, traditional pub-like area at one end which used to be there.
Original post here
I’ve always liked the Swan. It’s a traditional community pub in Brownhills, and as I posted here it’s just re-opened. It’s now a free house, so hopefully the new owners will be able to make a decent living and keep the prices realistic.
The new owners have done a cracking job: the interior has been redecorated and looks fresh, but still traditional. There’s cobs (yay!), a good welcome, and a good selection of beer at decent prices, including 2 well-kept cask ales. A very nice pub.
Original Post Here
The Hussey Arms has had another refurb. As commented both in my original post and here by Brownhills Bob, it’s had many ups and downs, which is a shame.
Anyway, it’s latest incarnation is Greene King’s Hungry Horse brand, according to the site:
Hungry Horse pubs and restaurants can be found throughout the UK. All of our pubs have an enviable reputation for great value food, a friendly warm welcome (especially for families and kids), and many have facilities such as pool tables and large-screen TVs. So whether you want to watch the football, have a family meal or just enjoy a pint of IPA, Old Speckled Hen, lager or Abbot, choose a Hungry Horse – you’ll always be welcome.
Which is already sounding like mixed blessings to me. It’s not my thing, really.
My take? It’s a large, modern-decorated, Moe’s Family Feedbag type pub. There’s lots of standard pub-food type stuff at very good prices (and it was OK), and a selection of Greene King ales (based on my smaple, well kept). The staff were pleasant enough too.
It’s ‘family freindly’, which set of alarm bells, but there’s a play area to keep kids quiet(er). It was, really, OK. It’s churlish to complain about things that you should be prepared for, and the place has it’s good points. I personally reckon this incarnation might just be successful.
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The Hussey Arms has a bit of an up-and-down recent history: It’s been a sequence of various chain pub/restaurants over the past few years.
At the moment, it’s a bit down. It’s tidy enough inside, but the once quite nice beer garden is somewhat overgrown, the food menu is now definitely towards the bottom of the market (though it *is* cheap), and the real ale was limited to Old Speckled Hen (though that was pretty good), and bargain priced due to a promotion.
The barman was friendly, and there was nothing actually wrong, but it just gave the impression of being slightly in decline. Nothing that would stop me going in, though.
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Didn’t have high hopes for this one: It’s a pretty uninspiring building in a sidestreet in Browhills West. However, appearances can be deceptive, and once in, it’s a friendly locals pub with OK beer (but no real ale, sadly) and a reasonable snack-type food selection (we didn’t try any, having been to the nearby Thai Lanna restaurant).
We went in hoping to find somewhere a bit more welcoming than The Crown, which of late has got even more canteen-like and soulless.
We succeeded. It’s rather like a social club for a pub, perhaps it was a club previously? Anyway, there was a not-too-bad singer on, and the locals and staff were very pleasant. It’s not a wonderful pub, but it’s not too bad either.
Not sure exactly what water it is beside: Chasewater isn’t far, but it’s the other side of the M6 Toll.