Tag Archives: chain

Toby Carvery Willerby

Willerby, near Beverly:

There was a slight question on including this: it’s a family feedbag carvery restaurant attached to a chain hotel next to a petrol station on the edges of a town, so not very promising sounding. We stopped as it was about lunchtime and we were running early.

In the event, for a family feedbag, it was nice. The large, noisy carvery area was one side of the pub, and there was a seperate area that still felt like a pub, to a degree that it merits inclusion. Staff were pleasant, beer choice good (can’t comment on quality as driving) and the food good too.

Bacchus Bar

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.

Purecraft Bar & Kitchen

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.

Revisit: (Final Visit?) The Imperial

Original post here

A sad visit on our way back home; The Imperial closed later this evening, with J D Wetherspoon citing it as a commercial decision.

The Imperial has been there since 1997 or so, and I remember a bet with my other half that it would be there more than x years, (where x was either five or 10, we cannot recall). It lasted nearly 20 in the end, and despite it being just a ‘spoons, I will be sorry to see it go. handy for the bus station (especially as the toilets there are closed at night 🙂 ), and a little quieter than the nearby St Matthew’s Hall, it always seemed to be doing an OK trade to me. I just hope some new use can be found for the building.

The Old Fish Market


Fullers pubs are not common in my part of the world, with the Old Joint Stock being the sole one nearby, and our only other experience being The Mad Hatter in that London.

Fullers do a nice job of chain pub: tidy enough, good food, good beer, and this was the case here: we visited twice, eating once, and both visits were pleasant. Even the televised sport didn’t intrude, and the staff were great.

Revisit: The Shire Oak

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.