So Where Exactly Is Balsall Common?

 

After a break from the norm it is back to solid boozers and a short post about a trip to a village almost equidistant between Solihull and Coventry.

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If that doesn’t sell Balsall Common then I don’t know what will…

However, Balsall Common is one of those villages/towns that falls under the radar but has a few decent boozers despite being a well-kept secret outside of the West Midlands.

I say secret but it’s almost undercover as its landmarks are noted by the adjacent tiny hamlet known as Berkswell.

Saracens Map

It’s one of those quirks that the train station is called Berkswell even though it’s in Balsall Common as are the high flying Birmingham and District Premier League cricket team (Berkswell CC) who are captained by former Warwickshire man Dominic Ostler.

I’ve not tried their social club yet to see if it rivals the belter at Knowle & Dorridge but there some decent boozers in the village (probably a town these days) and none more so than 268 – Ye Olde Saracen’s Head CV7 7AS.

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It’s slightly out of the centre on the road to Knowle (highlighted nicely on the map at the top of the post) but still has enough chimney pots in close proximity to survive and is primarily food based but still has a decent sized drinking area by the bar.

(the sheep isn’t real…just in case you were wondering)

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It’s a real blast from the past for me as I lived here for the best part of a decade and I brought my eldest daughter here to roll back the years.

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Everything about this bar oozes relaxing atmosphere and with a Jamiroquai soundtrack in the background I kind of expected the Fast Show character based loosely on Bob Harris to appear and say “nice” at any time.

Saracens John Thompson Jazz

It’s a higgledy piggledy kind of place with a mish mash of furniture but it works in an ambient kind of way…

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…possessing a good smoking/drinking/dining area outside.

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As Rich knows, any Marston’s house has a global selection of beers…

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so I plumped for a Pale Ale (Shipyard) all the way from USA via Burton so it managed to fit in with the Locale requirements…

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There were cask options but, in this weather, I sometimes fancy a colder option and this did the trick whilst my daughter enjoyed a very decent bowl of chips!

This is all about low lights, cosy corners, snugs and is a fantastic building dating back from the 16th Century…

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…that has been refurbished by Marston’s in their Revere Pub Co guise, but it is a place that is attracting enough punters from Balsall Common and its surrounding hamlets to ensure it’s a welcome site after a couple of miles of farmland/nothing on the B4101 from Knowle.

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Trevor Francis, Robbie Keane and John Sillett have all lived here in the past and I think the residents are quite happy that it is still relatively under the radar as it means they can enjoy boozers such as this all to themselves.

 

14 thoughts on “So Where Exactly Is Balsall Common?

  1. Congratulations on being the first pub blog to squeeze in a reference to John Sillett. I expect he is a very popular man in that area. Thought I had been to this pub but will need to check the records.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That made me chuckle! A bit of Schnoz is always good for any blog. He used to own some stables (I think) in the area…Boxing trainer Paddy Lynch also used to live there along with the man who holds more Guinness book of records than anyone – Paddy Doyle! There are more ‘pubby’ pubs in the area but a great building.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve travelled through a lot of those places, without looking closely, obviously worth an investigation. Mind you, not if it’s all Marston’s pubs. I might have been tempted by the Shipyard, once you get over that initial stannic thwack (about half way down the first pint) it’s passable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not all Marston’s pal and I don’t think they’ve got such an iron grip in this area as much as east mids (I may be wrong) I like shipyard as pretty dependable beer. Fantastic looking boozer and there are a few around this area worth a visit…you should try Ale Rooms, Oktogon and The Vaults in Knowle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marstons have a lot of pubs and bars that aren’t branded as such, certainly round here – it’s only when you go inside to be confronted with the full Marston’s PLC brand portfolio that you realise you’ve made a big mistake.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve often driven through Balsall Common, especially in the early 80s, as it’s on the motorway avoiding route through the West Midlands.

    I really don’t like that new Bombardier pumpclip – loses all the distinctiveness of the old one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree…it certainly wasn’t offensive or sexist and I don’t think calling it Eagle Brewery is an improvement either. I can’t understand the rationale behind that one. Yes Balsall Common and Coleshill are both good stop offs to avoid motorways.

      Like

  4. “but still has a decent sized drinking area by the bar.”

    It looks fairly large on Streetview, and has ‘curb appeal’ in my opinion. 🙂
    (plus, what looks to be lots of parking space!)

    “There were cask options but, in this weather, I sometimes fancy a colder option”

    (nods)

    “whilst my daughter enjoyed a very decent bowl of chips!”

    Chips as in fries, not as in crisps? 😉

    “and I think the residents are quite happy that it is still relatively under the radar as it means they can enjoy boozers such as this all to themselves.”

    I can understand that. Whilst extra clientèle might be desired by the pub itself, it wouldn’t be happy if said extra foot traffic drove the regulars away. 🙂

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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