Like some sort of recurring nightmare I entered a pub that always reminded me of Solihull’s restrictive and archaic door policy in the nineties. Whilst the rest of the country tuned into Acid House, warehouse raves and pills, thrills and bellyaches, Solihull and Brum still liked to stick to its trousers and shoes policy…
I was always amazed when I left Birmingham at just how relaxed other city’s pubs and clubs were in terms of entrance as Solihull and Birmingham were scarily archaic.
Yes there were dance clubs springing up but central Solihull was having none of it. Turn up for a pint in a pair of Paul Smith or Versace jeans and you were met with a grunt and aggression at the door. On the other hand, if you were sporting a pair of chinos, farahs or a pair of M&S’ finest you stood at least a 50% chance of getting through the door!
It still rankles with me now, twenty five years on, just quite how crap the door policy was in Solihull but, being a grown man with children and a family I need to let it go!!!!
I rarely venture into Solihull of an evening these days so can’t vouch if the same policy is still intact but, at least you can have a pint in the afternoon and wear what you like (within reason…).
One of the serial offenders for an obstructive door policy back in the day used to be the Barley Mow; which has now morphed into 38 – O’Neill’s Solihull B91 3AB. In fact, one of my fondest memories of this place was when punter power finally broke free of the shackles and celebrated Birmingham City winning a lower league trophy at Wembley in 1991 with a rendition of Keep Right On which even the bouncers couldn’t curtail (heady stuff I know!)
Anyway, moving into the present day and I was happy to see I could walk straight into O’Neill’s at 1.30pm on a Monday afternoon in a pair of jeans, trainers and t-shirt! Force of habit meant I looked around on entrance just in case someone jumped out and said “not this afternoon son, you’re not wearing shoes” but I got the all clear…
This pub is a huge cavernous place and was the first time I had seen it in daylight for years and I’d forgotten quite how imposing it was.
However, the good news for the chain of O’Neill’s bars is that it was pretty full with a lot of the 60+ brigade spending their pennies on food. There also appeared to be a lot of mums and toddlers in there eating (and drinking!) so it was a decent atmosphere.
There were big screens everywhere showing sport and I had a pleasant hour in here managing to watch, you guessed it, the cricket!
A pint of Chieftain IPA (Franciscan Well) was a lively £4.40 but at least it was good quality and the old place still had beermats, which was a throwback to my youth.
Then, out the corner of my eye, I spotted the Friday Reggae Night being advertised and I wondered what the dress code would be in 2017? With UB40, Steel Pulse and The Beat all hailing from Brum there has always been a leaning towards Reggae in Solihull as well but the door policy has always been different here…and like it said on the flyer DRESS CODE APPLIES.
I wonder what it’s like on a Friday night now as the actual pub is decent serving a good array of beer and clean and tidy. I’d definitely come here again …as long as I could get in!