1998 was a vintage year for Bill Clinton…I don’t mean the (unproven) allegations regarding Bill and Monica Lewinsky but rather his visit to a Birmingham boozer.
Brum was in the process of its ongoing gentrification and not only held the Eurovision Song Contest but also hosted the G8 summit and Bill turned up with his entourage to meet his buddies, Helmut, Jacques, Boris, Romano and Tony amongst others.
However, whilst the others were enjoying pork scratching, Ansells Mild and Brew XI (not a proven fact) at the ICC, Clinton went for an impromptu stroll that made the front page of all the national newspapers back in the day.
(picture courtesy of Birmingham Mail)
As marketing goes, 266- The Malt House B1 2NX must have been doing cartwheels as Bill had a plate of chips and pint (not known what of, probably Bass!) in their boozer.
A local couple, Bill and June Scott apparently sat with him whilst he necked his ale and then watched as his glass was smashed to smithereens by security…As rumour has it, the pub wouldn’t take payment for his drink, in true Jack Charlton style, so I was optimistic I might get a freebie when I turned up with my son after a recent visit to Brum.
No such luck despite my claims to knowing Monica and Bill personally (not a true fact) nonetheless, it’s handily positioned on the canalside and despite having a major refurbishment since Bill’s visit it still feels like one of the few ‘proper pubs’ in this area of Brum.
I’m surprised Bill didn’t kick on to Walkabout, Reflex, Pop World, O Bar, PRYZM, The Players Bar, Mooch, The Sugar Suite or Nuvo as I reckon that might have been more his scene as there is a far younger crowd in those bars and clubs.
Nonetheless, The Malt House is a solid Brindley Place boozer that is still going strong and has bench seating, ale and no nonsense pub grub, albeit in impressive surroundings.
I was there at about 5pm on a Wednesday and whilst it wasn’t full by any stretch of the imagination there was a steady flow of couples and groups eating and drinking to ensure this place will continue to tick over.
It’s a behemoth of a boozer inside and I’d like to see it at around 9pm on a Friday night to see how the clientele might differ but it did what it said on the tin.
Decent food for my lad and very nice half of SPA (Silhill) meant I’d visit again.
Not hugely atmospheric because of its size but a great slice of recent Birmingham history means The Malt House will, by Brummies anyway, forever be associated with the President of the USA.