I think I’ve discovered the reason why Knowle is such a good night out. I’ve had a drink in 181 – The Greswolde Arms Hotel B93 0LL twice in the last six weeks and it is definitely a boozer more than a hotel
There are many reasons, on paper, why you might not like this place. It is part of the Chef & Brewer chain (Greene King) and looks very grandiose on Knowle High Street as you drive in from the M42.
It is in close proximity to The Vaults who, after my recent blog, https://lifeafterfootball839.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/the-vaults-rising-to-the-challenge have decided to have a facelift and I noticed the Solihull CAMRA regular had finally ditched its frontage advertising Carlsberg, San Miguel and Tetley (Cask) for a more modern approach selling Sapphire gins and Ruby Ports no less.
As long as the gaffer is still wearing his red Tacchini tracksuit top then I am sure all will be fine though as I can’t imagine the atmosphere will change in there.
All of which leads me nicely into the success of Knowle’s boozers. I was here tonight with Mrs BB, the kids and all of her clan celebrating a wedding anniversary and it was packed. But it was packed with blue and white collar workers and that is very much part of Knowle life.
You are just as likely to see a solicitor or accountant as you are a brickie or factory worker. You are also likely to see either a tweed based older couple or a tattoo covered young couple dressed to impress and this is what makes Knowle buzz, particularly on a weekend.
The bar area was full. England were playing in Holland and that was on the TV in the background but with the sound down and it wasn’t particularly obtrusive.
But this is definitely a place where people meet for a sesh whilst it is also a place where people come to eat and the restaurant area is equally as full and there is a distinct area for both.
It was just a small glass of prosecco tonight as I was on driving duties but I bumped into a lad who reckoned he played football with me in Solihull in my youth whilst Mrs BB bumped into one of her old school friends, which only added to the feelgood factor.
About two months previously I was in here on a Sunday afternoon when it wasn’t as full but it was equally impressive. Both times the barman has been very friendly and eager to help and that is the sort of thing you notice.
On that occasion I had very decent Hop Star (Silhill Brewery) at £3.60 and four blokes with Silkolene Motors on their shirt arrived and were clearly having a tot before they retired to their rooms (although this was only around 4pm) having been at some kind of convention/show/meeting/event.
Usual pub banter fare with comments such as “you know f*** all about cricket and football so why should I listen to you talk about basketball.” And “Not only is he deaf he also can’t drink – he doesn’t have a lot going for him,”
However, I noted that all of the boys were drinking Guinness, Hop Star, Abbott or GK IPA and working their way through it a reasonable rate of knots!
Apparently, this 17th century former coaching inn was owned by Henry Greswolde Lewis (hence the name) who was Lord of the Manor with his cousin, Jane Wilson…which might explain the Wilson’s Arms (or Toby Carvery to the uninitiated) about 200 yards up the road.
Mrs BB met me on the previous occasion as well and we ordered some food as the Silkolene boys went about their business and other people from all walks of Knowle life filtered in and out on a regular basis.
The only slight disappointment for me is that I have nearly posted on all of the Knowle boozers but as this is Mrs BB’s original home then I will definitely find time to visit the last couple on my to do list in 2018.