Football Pub #1

Royal George 1

I’ve not been in a ‘football pub’ for quite a while.  If you watch the movies then every football pub is a den of inequity with fights kicking off all the time.  However, they aren’t all like Green Street or The Rock in I.D but, after 11 months without seeing Birmingham win at home, I felt in celebratory mood.

I like to pop down to St Andrew’s as often as I can around work commitments but the last time I saw them win a league game was 13th December 2016, ironically the last game Gary Rowett was in charge.  Since then I’ve watched a further eleven games with three different managers before it was twelfth time lucky against Alan Winfield’s favourite team this weekend.

That’s right, eleven months without watching a win and I was intrigued to see how the 99 – Royal George Hotel B9 4PN was looking these days. This boozer is situated on the corner of St Andrews and whilst it has morphed into a hotel it is, to all intents and purposes, a pub.

To be fair to the George, it’s one of the last men standing in Small Heath as even the Garrison Tavern of Peaky Blinders fame has bitten the dust along with the St Andrew’s Tavern, Brighton Arms, Watering Hole, Clements Arms, Bolton Arms, Sportsman, Victoria inn, Oxford Arms, Redhill Tavern, Plough And Harrow to name but a few.  I’m casting my mind back to visiting these places and whilst they were highly amusing on match days I’m not sure they all had award-winning décor and cleanliness and all have long gone. Fast food restaurants or religious community centres appear to be the most popular replacements

The Royal George has clearly had a fair bit of cash spent on it recently and it is remarkably smart inside.  It is a hotel now and, if you look on their website, the rooms look great but I’m not sure I could tempt Mrs BB to stop for a night as I’m not sure the hotel bar would be quite what she was after!

Royal George 2

Nevertheless, I had a great time in there at about 5pm when both the lounge and the bar were absolutely packed with punters and obviously this is when they make most of their money.

Whilst it doesn’t say ‘home fans only’ it is used almost exclusively by Birmingham fans on a matchday although my Forest supporting mate was with us but not shouting it from the rooftops!

This bar reminded me of a lot of pubs I used to drink in Birmingham and its suburbs in the late eighties/early nineties only far cleaner and well kept.

Royal George 3

By that I mean it was boisterous and the sort of place that gets livelier and livelier and you could imagine people ‘playing up’ as the evening goes on.  I don’t think the Sam Smith’s policy of no swearing would hold much sway here but it was packed full of all ages and genders and a cracking atmosphere with people who were clearly just warming up for the night ahead.

The biggest difference between Brum pubs and pubs in Derbyshire is that the earthy boozers in Brum don’t tend to have ale on whereas the earthy pubs in Derbyshire do.

I had a pint of Worthington on keg at a very agreeable £2.70 and that is just one of those regional differences you tend to find as Martin has noted on his quest for cask in that part of town…

Royal George 18.11 (1)

I would be interested to see how this place looked on a non-matchday if I was stopping as a hotel guest but people make pubs and this is a cracking little place to visit on a matchday and is proving that you don’t have to like The Rock in I.D to be a successful football pub.


22 thoughts on “Football Pub #1

  1. That difference between east Brum and south Derbys is quite stark. Whether there’s any actual appetite for real ale from Bordesley to Castle Bromwich is an interesting question.

    By the way, winning is SO overrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are we comparing like wtih like, though? An inner-city area is very different from smaller towns and villages. I know Derby and Nottingham are smaller places than Birmingham, but do they have cask pubs in run-down inner areas? Even most of the nearest pubs to Edgeley Park in Stockport are keg-only.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a whole section of society that don’t give a hoot about cask ale – why should they? Typically they will go and watch the match and throw a few pints of homogenous British style Pilsner (they call it Lager) down their necks, have a laugh and go home, and what’s wrong with that? I’ve got loads of mates who won’t touch anything that remotely challenges their palate beyond the slight tickle of Hallertau hops (includes food as well as ale). They like what they like and again what’s wrong with that? Looks like they’ve got a decent place to go and do this here and I’m sure that amongst the shiny taps there will be one pouring Guiness, so that’ll do for me until the games over and I could escape and find something more to my palate and again, what’s wrong with that?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I used to work in Bordesley Green so I passed the George many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in. Your list of closed pubs is quite depressing when you see all of those names consigned to history in one sentence. On the (very) odd occasions that I ventured to St Andrew’s, the Clement’s was our pub of choice – a proper Brummie back-street boozer!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I knew we were going to lose against your lot on Saturday when my Son said he was going to the match with his Fathering law,the West Midlands clubs are the nearest for him to go to as he lives in Worcester,his Fathering law is a big Newport fan as he lives in Chepstow.

    On another note i pride myself in never passing an open pub i have not been in,but that went out of the window when i took the wife to St Andrews on the 20th February 1988 for a FA Cup 5th round tie,we won 1-0 just under 35000 fans there i think we took 10000,everybody was up for a fight and Forest came off second best,we got tangled up with the Zulu army after the game,it was frightening, when they could not see any Forest fans they turned on the coppers.
    We got a train to Walsall after the game to get away from all of the trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Did you play in that game or was you one of thousands of Birmingham fans who were up for a fight.
    It would be very interesting if you was playing as to how you thought the atmosphere was like on that day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was an apprentice and didn’t make my début till September 1988 so just before me. I watched from tunnel and remember Crosby gave Julian Dicks a tough time…I was on dressing room duties after match 😵😵


  6. I am happy in cask or keg only as interested in the pub…if I had a choice I’d prefer cask but most of east Brum and out towards NEC are lager only with Worthington on or it used to be Caffreys back in the day!!! Royal George is good fun and old school style pub with Guinness 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Your list of closed pubs is quite depressing when you see all of those names consigned to history in one sentence. ”

    My sentiments exactly. 😦

    “I was an apprentice and didn’t make my début till September 1988 ”

    You were a professional player? Bloomin’ heck; well done sir! (tips hat)


    Liked by 1 person

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