Only in England would they sell out three days of test cricket to watch the hosts beat West
Bromwich Dartmouth Indies.
I often think that if I left England the thing I would miss most were the sport and the pubs and a Friday visit to Edgbaston for a pink ball day/night game against West
Bromwich Dartmouth Indies was an ideal opportunity to combine the pair.
The added bonus of a 2pm start meant I could meet up with a group of friends (no fancy dress I hasten to add) beforehand and then soak up the ‘atmosphere’ of the Eric Hollies Stand in for this
Birmingham League clash Test Match.
With Birmingham having more canals than Venice what better place to start than The Mailbox. Birmingham is ripping up a lot of its sixties and seventies Madin Brutalist buildings and, I have to say, it’s better for it.
The Mailbox (former Royal Mail sorting centre) was opened twenty years ago but has already had a refurb including the addition of Ken Shuttleworth’s Cube. …according to their blurb it is “an enchanting jewellery box, rich with light and intricate gold and bronze geometric shapes (judge for yourself).”
(Disclaimer: I am also a fan of the Selfridges building in Birmingham)
Anyway, aside from the views and architecture, it is the home of BBC Birmingham famous for…er… Tony ‘on yer bike’ Butler, Crossroads and Doctors (we do like our Peaky Blinders as well)
There are a few bars in the Mailbox complex such as 22 – Gas Street Social B1 1RL. It was prior to midday so quite full considering but most definitely an eating rather a drinking place. Nice and clean and airy with good views and Wolf Rock (Sharp’s) my drink of choice.
Can’t knock it but it would be a place to bring the family or Mrs BB rather than just have a drink.
However, tucked away around the corner is the antidote to Brum’s gleaming new vision and a cracking building that has survived all the redevelopment around it.
23 – Craven Arms B1 1JL is a real jewel and there were people queuing up at midday to get into the place!!! This was a stark contrast and in the shadow of the Mailbox but undoubtedly has the best hanging baskets of any Birmingham pub.
Great conversation with my pals, of which two (half the group) had never been here before and a slightly harassed landlord who had opened slightly late gave this the feel of a proper boozer!
Lemon Dream (Salopian) and Noble (Kinver) were the offerings and within minutes it was choc a block on a Friday; so the future would appear to be great for this grand old pub.
Edgbaston was strangely subdued as Alistair Cook racked up a double century with people wanting to celebrate but fully aware that West
Bromwich Dartmouth Indies weren’t much of a challenge.
So with temperatures dropping and play stopping early there was the ideal chance to move on to Birmingham’s Bohemian quarter.
Moseley is an absolute delight. It’s got a massive cultural mix and has always been legendary for its dance nights and has a big array of pubs, but also its ‘characters.’
If you went to Moseley in the eighties or nineties there was a great chance you would bump into Pete The Feet at The Traf(algar). His refusal to wear any footwear summed up the Moseley vibe perfectly and whist we didn’t bump into Pete at 24 – The Patrick Kavanagh B13 8BX it was still a chilled place.
The Trafalgar morphed into The Pat Kav in the late nineties and now has a backroom with a big screen. This was showing Birmingham
Irish City capitulate at Burton (again) and meant I had watched Birmingham League standard cricket and Birmingham AFA League standard football in one day!
With Harry Redknapp imploding on SKY the pub went about its business as Moseley is too cool a place to get stressed about football for long.
A rollicking good day with The Craven Arms the pick of the pubs although the Pat Kav is well worth a visit.
Local league sport is fantastic and alive and well in the Midlands!