Well, it’s a hotel really, but the bar feels pubby, and while the beer’s a bit pricey, the food is very reasonable, and it’s a nice place for lunch. We’d popped into la-di-dah Lichfield, taking advantage of the new direct bus, dropped in at The Whippet Inn, and needed lunch.
Pleasant barman, trusting enough of us commoners from Walsall to allow a tab. Backyard Hoard on cask, and in great condition too. Good lunch and a pleasant courtyard with unbrellas to deflect the shower that passed. Right in the middle of Lichvegas, too.
A mile or two outside the city. We were heading further afield, but the weather turned for the worse, so we turned off the A51 and dropped in.
It’s a Vintage Inn, M&B’s “traditional” brand. Pretty standard, very-slighty-upmarket pub food, drinks to match, reasonable ale choice (Dizzy Blonde, Pedigree, and Doom Bore, the first two of which were in good order), popular with the Lichfield set for lunch. Hotel on site (Innkeepers Lodge), standard pubco decor. Decent enough food without charging the earth, and a nice building.
Merchant City, Glasgow:
Again, a stripped-floorboards pub with food, but a bit smaller. Lovely outside space on a sunny afternoon, nice staff, and decent beer, and a remarkable building restoration. It’s actually a hotel and restaurant too, but feels like a upmarket pub, without being up itself- it’d make a nice place to stay in Glasgow.
Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:
Right next to the bus stop for the ferry, so we dropped in. Technically a hotel, but the bar was very pubby, if a bit grotty and unexceptional. Looked like it may get a bit “vibrant” on a Friday/saturday night. No cask ale, so I was drinking Scottish lout, but the no ale thing is a bit of a feature in Scotland. Staff pleasant enough, and it was OK, but a definite disappointment after Frasers Bar.
Not to be confused with The Old Moseley Arms.
A hotel, really, but the bar feels pubby. Friendly staff, big, opened-out bar area, cheapish food. No ale, but decent lager and wine, probably not a bad place to stay given the price: city centre walkable in around 15 min. TVs playing sport, but not too loud. Quite an old place originally, but no historic features inside, and big modern extension outside.
Technically a hotel again, but the bar feels pubby, and it’s a proper old coaching inn in the High St. Glorious grade-2-listed exterior, pleasant interior, decent staff, and great beer and wine.
Hotel or pub? Well, it describes itself as a pub, so I’ll allow it on the grounds that I allow Scottish hotels that feel “pubby” and it had an enviable real ale selection, and I think it’s more of pub with rooms.
Great staff, great food, great beer. Inside is stripped wood, modern, but hasn’t wrecked the place; it’s quite pleasant, in fact, after a £750k makeover.
Part of a smallish chain, together with The Snowdon and The Cottage Loaf.
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.
On the edge of town, right next to the railway, this is, again, technically a hotel, but doesn’t serve food, just providing rooms. Outside, it’s a fair-sized stone hotel building, inside, it’s a traditional pub, quite big, and recently refurbished in a pubco kind of way. Friendly staff, good beer, and bargain-priced stay if you don’t mind having to eat out and a 5min walk to town.
Some discussion over if this was a pub or not, and we decided it just scraped it: It *is* a hotel, and even the pub bit feels a bit restauranty, but there *is* a drinking area at the front, which is more can be said for some so-called pubs. It’s very, very gastropub inside- modern, stripped floors etc, but evidently a lot of money has been spent inside and out. Great beer, staff pleasant enough, but we felt a bit pounced-on by the staff all clustered around the bar when we walked in. I think they’re more expecting diners.