Tag Archives: canal

Brewers Fayre (Walsall)

Walsall:

This is a purpose-built Brewers Fayre at the bottom of a Premier Inn, on the edge of the town centre by Town Wharf, and hence right next to The Wharf.

It’s exactly what you’d expect in many ways: bland, lacking in soul, currently-fashionable pubco decor, but for what it is, it is OK. The food was perfectly OK (but, as a note to the world in general, burgers should come on baps, not Ciabatta), there was decent real ale and wine, and the outside seating by the wharfside is pleasant on a sunny day. Staff were pleasant, and the whole place was clean. If you were considering a stop in Walsall, the hotel seems good enough, and the location’s good for the station, shopping, town centre pubs/restaurants, and art gallery.

For some reason, its own website lists it as being near Selly Manor, which is both a bit random, and untrue, as Selly Manor is someway south of Birmingham, so if you were visiting there, there’s many, many hotels closer. Presumably someone at Whitbread HQ searched for historic buildings nearby and randomly picked it.

The Swan Inn

Fradley Junction, Fradley, near Lichfield:

I’d not been to The Swan for years, mostly because it’s not easy to get to for me- it’s way off public transport, and not the easiest to find without a map. However, I was being chauffeured, as I was unable to walk far or drive, and a family member took pity and got me out of the house for a change.

The Swan Inn is lovely. Very traditional, and by the canalside it has a great location to sit outside and watch the boats pass. The beer was great, and the staff helpful and friendly. About the only disadvantage is that it gets very, very busy at popular times, especially in the summertime.

The Soloman Cutler

Birmingham, Broad St:

Right over the road from the ICC and Symphony Hall, and near the Hyatt, this is in the middle of the Broad St “entertainment” piss up area. It’s a Lloyds No.1 (i.e: a ‘spoons), and I don’t know how I’ve missed including it before: if you’re working at or visiting the ICC it’s an expenses-friendly place for lunch, and a handy place for pre-show drinks or food for Symphony Hall at a good price. On this visit I was feeling below par, owing to side-effects of some (prescribed) drugs,so eschewed alcohol, but prior experience had shown the beer to be good, and the food was pretty decent, in that “know what you’re getting” way, and the wine seemed to gain approval. You could do worse on Broad St.

The Bottle and Glass

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley:

Originally from Brierly Hill Rd, Brockmore, backing on to the canal, this pub was taken and rebuilt at the museum where it continues to not serve lager “it’s not been invented yet” :-). It’s a nice place, a genuine timewarp (though you can get timewarp without paying for admission), and the beer, cider, and cobs were all fine, and the staff pleasant. No real glasses outside, sadly, but otherwise no complaints. Staff pleasant, prices OK for captive audience, decent outside space on a gorgeous hot day.

The Cairnbaan Hotel

Cairnbaan:


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Again, it’s a hotel, but the bar area feels sufficiently pub-like. Great staff, decent beer (2 real ales), and good food- a step above average pub food. Not cheap, but not rip-off, and you have to remember overheads here are greater. Right alongside the Crinnan Canal; there’s some outside seating, and a separate restaurant if you want quieter dining. We ate here three times, and drank a couple of times on top of that, as we were staying nearby.

The Bothy

Fort Augustus:


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Very close to The Lock Inn, this is an odd one. The name and appearance outside lead you to expect very traditional features, but nothing inside fits: modern chairs/tables, a fruit machine, a TV. There’s a large conservatory used as a restaurant.

There’s 2 real ales, except when a cross-Scotland cycle/kyak/run drinks the place the dry :-(, and food and a real fire. It’s not bad at all, but it’s a bit pricey (expected) and the food wasn’t as good as up the road, even if the beer choice was *slightly* better, plus something didn’t quite gel about it.