Birmingham City Centre:
We dropped in here on the way from Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum. Pleasant enough; limited cask but some good keg craft-ish beer, and as we were there before work-kicking-out time, only a few students present (all paying individually, with debit cards or Apple pay). The barman was in good humour despite this, beer and wine fine, not too bad a place to sit, but it rapidly gets busy post work and evening, with it’s location, though it was positively empty compared to the OCs.
Birmingham City Centre:
“Utopia the Country Bar in the City”
I wasn’t seeing what was “country bar” about this at all, and it was a bit questionable about “pub”, but it scraped in.
It was quite nice, to be honest. We dropped in here in desperation as we needed lunch and had mistimed our arrival in the city with everyone else’s lunchtime, and here had space. As it was, the staff were great, be beer OK, and the wine good, and our lunch was very good and surprisingly cheap for the “business district”, and while it wasn’t remotely country, it was comfortable enough.
Just up the road from the Miner’s Rest and round the corner from The Junction. It’s a big corner pub, with a big restaurant/lounge, and thankfully, a seperate, traditional bar. Great beer selection- I’d have had any of the 4 cask ales- a friendly landlord, and proper pub atmosphere.
Newly refurbished Joules pub, just up the road and on the 10 bus route, so handy. Inside, the refurb is a bit reminiscent of The Angel Inn, which is no bad thing- it’s traditional, but clean and fresh. Great beer, decent cobs, and friendly landlord and landlady made for a nice lunchtime; I’ll be back.
There’s a theme here: a historic interior again, and along with The Abbotsford a member of a small chain. We’d left the Cafe Royal, and knew it was close, just not how close (next door). Lovely interior, great staff and beer, very, very close to Waverley Station.
Glorious Edwardian pub in one of Edinburgh’s busy streets. Fantastic heritage interior, great beer selection, and really good, different food at a reasonable price. Very friendly staff too, surprisingly chilled as the Fringe was still on.
A ‘spoons. But a nice spoons. In what was a Conservative club, so it has to be an improvement. The interior is impressive, with wood paneling and a grand staircase. Very friendly staff, and quite a civilised atmosphere for a ‘spoons; trackie bottoms not required.
First impressions had this feeling odd: we walked past the side entrance (for the bar), and had to walk back through the restaurant, and then the bar felt a bit…vibrant.
A second visit was better (or was it just us in a better mood?). The bar feels like a traditional Scottish pub, and while there was no cask ale, there was decent craft keg. Staff were pleasant too.
The restaurant is seperated by a corridor, so the two functions don’t interfere, which is good for both. The food in the restaurant, by the way, was excellent.
Culgarth, Penrith, Cumbria:
An overnight stop. This is a family-run inn in the old sense of the word: a pub you can stay in., and it’s doing a great job. It’s the village pub, and a decent hotel as well. Great food, 2 excellent cask ales on, brilliant staff, and a comfortable place to stay, having got our kicks on the nearby A66.
Best of all the bar is still a bar, and there’s two eating areas (one next to the bar, and a restaurant), and proper demarcation between them, meaning it becomes a “destination pub” for diners and hotel guests, but still does a good job of village pub.
Bury St Edmunds:
We’d been recommended this as one of the very few non-Green King pubs in town. It was a few minutes walk north of the centre, in a quiet residential street, and we were expecting to like it a lot: something other than GK beer, microbrewery on site.
In the event, it didn’t hit the spot: staff were friendly enough, but the microbrewery seemed like a gimmick, with the bright, chromed vessels in the bar area seeming like mere decoration, and a lot of tables reserved for food. The bar snacks were a bit hipstery too. The beer we had was in fine condition, but didn’t inspire, but we may have chosen badly- but the lack of any notes explaining on the pump clips made choosing more difficult.