I’ve not often given Solihull a lot of credit in the blog so far but there is a ray of sunshine in Station Road in the form of two solid boozers who are close neighbours in terms of quality and price.
I’ve not noted Wetherspoons in the Midlands as yet but thankfully Solihull still has a decent one that is packed to the rafters. It used to have two but The Assembly Rooms was flogged off as part of their ‘restructuring’ and is now a Yates’s, which sits nicely alongside Walkabout, Luna and Bar Missoula in offering exactly the same as each other.
However, along with The Masons Arms (see previous blog) there are two boozers battling it out in the bargain basement at the other end of town.
40 – The Flute And Flagon B91 3SB has been around in this form since 2015 and was the Hogs Head before and prior to that Early Years School Shop so has fond memories for Silhillians who brought their first pair of shorts of black plimsolls there!
It also has a nice line of Solihull photos on the walls to boot…
Along with this slice of history…
Anyway, this is the only the second time I have been here and it is clear to see that it has realised it is next door to 41 -The White Swan B91 3SB, which is the only ‘spoons in town and has adjusted accordingly.
At 2pm on a Monday afternoon I got a decent pint of Wainwrights (Thwaites) for just £1.99…yes that’s right less than £2.
Throw into the mix food as well and it is clear to see why this place was full on a Monday afternoon. Cheap beer served with quality and reasonably priced food. I remember coming here once before back in 2015 and was the only person in the whole place; I asked them if I could have a beermat with my extortionately priced beer and a clearly embarrassed barman told me “We’ve been told not to have beermats as the management want it to be a ‘premium’ pub!”
Someone at Stonegate has obviously had a rethink as this place was full of punters of all ages and was selling beer cheaper than next door and, unlike the White Swan, it did actually have beermats.
Why am I making such a fuss over this you ask? Well I don’t mind if pubs do or don’t stock them but when they claim it’s bad for their image to have them, I think that is a case of lunatics taking over the asylum.
Two days later at 11am (I was on holiday, honestly) I decided to go for the earlier option next door and had a pint of Steerage (Titanic) for the exorbitant price of £2.15! Whatever anyone says about Wetherspoons it has clearly almost cornered the market (sharing it with the Flute and Flagon in this case) in cheap food and decent beer.
This was also my inaugural experience of queuing at the bar and I was behind a seventysomething called Joan who informed me this was normal practice for a Wednesday. As her mate prepared to order about 15 coffees I could sense it would be a long conversation but another barmaid miraculously appeared and served me, which left Joan sighing with the comment “I wish I’d ordered a pint as you get served so much quicker!”
As per usual with Wetherspoons this boozer had all ages and demographics inside and with the added bonus of being a school holiday possibly more under 10’s than usual…and as an added attraction there was a fantastic Simon Rattle lookalike (very apt with the CBSO only five miles away!) as the barman who was on the App run going from table to table at a rate of knots.
Apparently it is on the site of an old coaching Inn in the 1800’s, but it has only ever been a Wetherspoons for as long as I can recall and the two pubs actually work well together. If there’s room for five or six ‘fun’ (I use the term loosely) pubs then there is definitely room for two similar pubs next to each other with great hanging baskets outside the White Swan to boot!