School reunions…Yes or No? I have to say I was firmly in the sceptics corner but a concerted push by one or two school mates I have kept in touch with, through the power of social media, convinced me to attend a 30-year bash in Solihull.
O’Neill’s was the final destination and the fact I walked in to Haircut 100’s Love Plus One was always going to be a good sign! The Punk IPA (BrewDog) and Chieftan (Francisacan Wells) wasn’t arguably such a good move after 30 years and the bouncers/doormen managed to let everyone in, with little in the way of smiles though, it must be said. Although surely our admission wasn’t a huge surprise as we are all nearly 50 so surely look almost respectable.
Anyway, prior to revisiting O’Neill’s there was an unofficial meet at 100 – The George (Ramada Hotel Solihull) B91 3RF, which was nothing at all like I remember.
Whilst it is now part of the corporate behemoth known as Ramada this old 16th Century Coaching Inn was always a decent place to go for a pint in Solihull but charged hotel prices even when it was just the Plain Old George Hotel back in the eighties.
It is still universally (well, to all Silhillians) known as The George and Ramada have paid due respect to this with signage outside and naming the bar, George’s bar.
Photos are thin on the ground in this blog and, I always take each bar as I find it so, on this occasion, this place was magnificent.
The best part of 40 people who I hadn’t seen for nigh on three decades caught up and had a rollicking good couple of hours in here and the fact you could just chat meant no one was watching the flat screens in the background and instead, regaling each other with stories and, occasionally, confirming who it was they were talking to!
A bit like a non-romantic speed dating evening where you spend a few minutes with each person and move on!
The beer range was almost irrelevant but, for the record, I enjoyed bottles of Speckled Hen (Morland) as that was the only ale on offer.
I am sure I could come here on many other occasions and it would appear very soulless and hotel lobby as it was far more hotel than The Royal George Hotel was earlier in the evening and therefore had its own pros and cons.
Nevertheless, at this time, on this occasion, it was a belting night but I’m not sure it’s really what I class as a ‘pub’ anymore. Mind you, what is the definition of a ‘pub’ these days?