Tag Archives: local

Revisits: The Royal Exchange

Original post here.

A while ago, the pub had a half-hearted makeover that made it worse: it felt even more like a clubhouse. I’m glad to say that’s been fixed: the pub looks smart and feels modern and welcoming, and there’s new outside furniture too. It’s also gained real ale, which is very welcome, and food.

…which is where I was disappointed.

At time of writing, the website says food is served 12:00-20:00, and I’m told if you view on an iPad, it says light bites available up to 14:30. The sign outside says “food every day”.

Either way, having settled down with an (to be fair, excellent) pint, it was dissapointing to be told the kitchen had closed when I tried to order food at 14:01, so we drank up and went back down to the bustling centre of Walsall Wood and the Boatman’s Rest. Shame really, we’d have been set up for the afternoon…

[edit Dec 2016]

To be fair, now things have settled, it’s a great pub with decent food and excellent beer, and you can usually hear over the music or TV.

Revisits: The Drunken Duck

Original Post Here

The Duck has changed hands, now being run by Rob, who’s also still in control up at the Shire Oak.

It’s still not plush, but it’s an awful lot cleaner than in recent times… As to be expected, the beer is top-notch: Rob looks after the beer properly, and it shows. There’s usually the jukebox on, but it’s not generally too loud. There’s sometimes entertainment as well, but the size and layout means you can usually find an area quiet enough to drink & talk.

It’s early days there, but very promising, and judging by the amount of customers, should go well.

The Starting Gate


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This is very much a backstreet drinkers pub: it’s very close to the town centre but you’re unlikely to find it unless you know it’s there. By the looks of the place it’s an old building, and is rumoured to be haunted.

The drinkers had been hard at it when we visited, but were friendly enough: rowdy, but friendly. Music was loud (but, to be fair, not shit) beer was acceptable, but no better (no ale, Stella was that 4% rubbish). Allegedly the place was refurbed in 2006, though I’d say “what with” to that. It reminded me of the Duke of Rutland or Shoulder of Mutton in several ways: old, traditional boozers with a local crowd, loud but OK music, and limited drinks range. Very much rough and ready…

The Horse and Jockey

Walsall Wood:

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This is near enough to be a local, but I’ve not been in for 3 years or so. It’s on the face of it, a by-the-numbers carvery pub, so not really my thing, but an old friend suggested it for a meet, and we needed food, so we went down a bit early. The food itself was predictable, but not bad at all, prices reasonable, and the drink reasonable too- staff very pleasant. There was even real ale, but nothing I fancied. The niff from the landfill over the road doesn’t help the ambience outside though.

An unusual twist is the gaffer from years ago has returned, so live music is featuring again.

The Elms Crown Carvery, Aldridge


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This is The Elms renamed, refurbished, and a Crown Carvery. It’s still a pub: the bar area is fairly seperate (and still has the annoying people standing at it so you can’t get a drink), but three quarters of the pub is a carvery restaurant. You get what you’d expect: a large, slightly canteen like bit at the back, but a few quiet corners. Plenty of families and pensioners.

For what it is, it’s not too bad. The food’s OK, the beer drinkable but not fantastic, and the prices are amazingly low. Stunningly low. Just don’t go expecting haute cuisine, fantastic beer, or loads of atmosphere. The staff were pleasant enough, and overall not a bad experience. Basically, it’s a damn sight better than the last time I visited, though being worse would be hard.

The Brickmakers Arms

Walsall Wood:

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Not a pub we visit that often. It’s not that far away, but it seems further than it is.

It’s a open-plan pub now (and has been for as long as I’ve known it), with a conservatory extension at the back, and a sizeable car park/beer garden beyond that. No food besides cobs, and just the usual beers (but at least the Kronenbourg was good), but it’s a pleasant community pub with a pool table that’s been sensibly relocated to the back. The smoking area, for those of you that smoke, is impressive, with shelter and a stove.

It’s always at least OK, and has recently served as a nice bolt-hole for a quiet pint when every other pub has loud music and/or TVs.

The Drunken Duck

High St, Walsall Wood:

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A very local pub, but not one we visit regularly: on occaision it has been a bit rough, but this time it was actually rather good: fewer kids wandering about (and those that were were quiet), TVs were quiet, guest ale good too, and friendly staff. May have to visit more often.

A subsequent visit was fine- early doors (6pm), until someone decided a load of rap-with-a-silent-c music at high volume was appropriate. [sigh]

The Slaughtered Lamb The Shoulder of Mutton


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Another old pub of Brownhills once owned by William Roberts. This is a small, one-room, backstreet local’s pub just off the High St, and is an 19th century building- from the back it still seems to have a disused brewhouse. It’s far from plush, which led us to give it the name of The Slaughtered Lamb, but it is very friendly and a proper pub, which leads me to excuse the limited beer choice. It’s the place I choose to drink in the centre, but the only competition right in the middle is Smithy’s Forge, a pretty dreadful family feedbag type place with few redeeming features.

The Shire Oak (Top Oak)

The top of the three oaks in Brownhills, and enough of a landmark that the nearby A452/A461 junction shares it’s name, which originates from the tree that used to stand at the site.

It’s a long climb up to it from Walsall Wood (not that far, but it’s steep), but it’s a pleasant pub with decent enough beer (there’s usually a guest beer, even if the one on this occasion wasn’t to my taste), and OK if unexceptional food too. The pub is big enough that it has a bar, lounge, and a semi-seperate area to eat.


A revisit 15/5/2010 merits this edit. The food is now pretty good, but the beer and the welcome from the landlord is exceptional.