Conservative MP Michael Fabricant once described Lichfield as akin to Las Vegas such was its bright lights, night life and café culture.
Like most politicians across all parties these days, it is safe to say that Fabricant was being…er…economical with the facts and as nice as Lichfield is, I’m not quite sure it is Staffordshire’s answer to Las Vegas. I am sure Tamworth, with the very bright lights of Drayton Manor Park, the Snowdome and a football team in the Conference North might argue that they are THE go to place in Staffordshire, but Lichfield has got a Cathedral and is regarded as a little bit more Sutton Coldfield than its near neighbour.
Nevertheless, Fabricant was right to adopt a bit of tub thumping for Lich Vegas as, I discovered, it does have some cracking pubs.
Staffordshire so far has been distinctly average on my tour of the Midlands with a boozer in Drayton Basset and one on the Burton/Branston border (sounds slightly more impressive than a retail park in Burton) not on my ‘must return’ list.
However, a Tuesday night in Lichfield with one of my pals proved there was plenty of life in this city, as pubs enjoyed various degrees of success.
I didn’t spot Caesar’s Palace …….. but I did spot the welcome site of a pub full of people.
It’s not a micropub as you can see (picture above) that, if it was, it would have been shut like The Whippet Inn next door…but 43 – Beerbohm WS13 6JP is one of those places you walk into and immediately it feels comfortable. I’d never been here before but the bar staff were friendly and the locals very accommodating.
I know today is the day the GBG has been officially released to much excitement amongst pub bloggers, but I’ve not got a copy so, I’ve no idea if this pub is in it. However, this is the kind of modern bar I would think is due a mention as it was (1) full, (2) had a good atmosphere, (3) had a lot of beers on from small British breweries, I had a very tasty Osiris (Neepsend) and (4) it has a quirky name.
Beerbohm is apparently named after Max Beerbohm who is described as a parodist and caricaturist of the 19th and 20th Century and knighted in 1939. Not quite sure of the Lichfield link but hey, it’s a funky moniker!
Nonetheless, I liked this place as there was plenty going on and my drinking buddy and I could chat with just a general background buzz so I’m not surprised this place is thriving.
By way of contrast, our next port of call 44 -Angel Inn WS13 6LH was as quiet as could be with only two other punters apart from us, but I’m glad we stayed.
It may have been the Ed Sheeran music in the background keeping them away or the saddest looking dog in pub history (picture to follow), but it was as dead as a dodo.
However, the barmaid was good value and chatty and had a cracking Brummie accent so that was a plus point from my perspective!
And it is clear they do have a lot of trade as the beer was possibly the best I’ve tasted this year. A pint of Pale Ale (Joule’s) was cool and well-kept and obviously they have enough punters in to ensure the pipes keep flowing (picture of sad dog in corner!).
It was actually a great little pub with lots of history on the walls and, to be honest, I was in good company, so was happy to see if the pub dog could actually hear with a series of noise tests (!) as it looked on its last legs, and savour the best pint of the night.
Both of these pubs were very much wet led and with a no kids policy you know it’s going to be more conversation than gimmicks.
So, on a filthy Tuesday night, Lich Vegas might not be quite how Michael Fabricant described but I’m pretty sure you can’t get a top notch pint of Joule’s Pale Ale for just over three quid on the strip in Vegas…and more’s the pity.
Maybe the Las Vegas marketing team should come to central Lichfield and get a few tips on top quality beer and how to have a laugh (bring a friend you can talk to) for less than a tenner!