Tag Archives: Walsall

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…

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 Pitch

Walsall.

This is a re-incarnation of Bar Sport, and some of my prior comments apply, but this time we were looking to watch the Grand national, for which it was perfect. Didn’t see ale, but my pint of Peroni was fine- and to be honest, it’s nice to see actual decent lager available for a change.

Revisit: The Crown

Original Post here

The Crown has been refurbished. Ouside is smartened up, with new plants and seating with sheilding from the A5 (which, even on a cold February night, we used), because….

…It’s even more of a restaurant and less of a pub. In doing that, the canteen like feel has been reduced, but this is very much not a pub, but a family feedbag type restaurant, part of the Martsons empire. If that’s what you’re after, it’s an improvement and not unpleasant. It’s fresh and clean, and very popular, but the beer is pricey and there’s no pub atmosphere. Staff were pleasant, and there’s some real ale, as well as actual decent lager, an increasingly rare thing these days, but we found ourselves missing the small, traditional pub-like area at one end which used to be there.

Revisits: The Fountain

Original post here

Walsall:


View Larger Map

The Fountain, Lower Forster St, Walsall
The Fountain, Lower Forster St, Walsall

The Fountain always was a nice pub, so it was sad when it closed in August 2011, due to the pubco owners pricing the landlady out. Just after that, the lovely building next door caught fire.

The good point of this is that those nice people at the Backyard Brewhouse have bought it, and it’s now been open a week.

It’s lovely. As nice as The Swan, which is nice. A traditional, backstreet pub just on the edge of the town centre with Backyard’s fine selection of beer (four or five ales when I visited, and their own lager, plus others), and friendly staff and a nice atmosphere, Just the thing after Christmas shopping. It’s been tidied up and refurbed, but not stripped out.

Since it’s not a huge pubco’s pub, the prices are very reasonable too- you’ll see respectable change from 3 quid for a pint, which is good going these days. There was music, but it was quiet enough for conversation.

No food at present, but I’m told it’s on it’s way.

The Starting Gate

Walsall:


View Larger Map

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 Pretty Bricks

Walsall:


View Larger Map

Long overdue for a blogged visit, we hadn’t been here in a long time, so a visit in the company of Andy seemed appropriate.

The Pretty Bricks has always been known as such, but it’s official name was The Tap and Spile, with The Pretty Bricks being a nickname from the unusual glazed bricks on the frontage. For some years it’s been noted for real ale.

It’s a traditional 2 room pub, now owned by Black Country Taverns, a small but growing chain in and around the Black Country, who specialise in traditional pubs, and they’ve adopted the name as it’s official one.

It’s a great place: 5 or 6 well-kept real ales, food (both a menu and cobs/pork pie), no music or gaming machines, and a friendly welcome.

The Foley Arms

Streetly:


View Larger Map

I pass this pub practically every weekday, but rarely go in. It’s a traditional pub that’s now part of the Sizzling chain. This essentially means cheap but unremarkable food and beer, and a standardised chain experience. This isn’t a bad thing, if that’s what you’re after: the food isn’t bad at all, the beer is drinkable (but no real ale), and it’s a fairly comfortable place to sit.