I can confirm that the opening picture hasn’t been superimposed from Derby but is in fact a pub on the edge of Solihull centre selling a chalkboard of cask ale.
With a Yates’, Slug & Lettuce, TGI Friday’s and Walkabout, amongst others then it really is an oasis of dross with one or two rays of sunshine.
There is good news as The Indian Brewery are opening their second boozer next month in the town after the success of their bar by Snow Hill Station in Brum so maybe the outlook is brighter.
If you head towards North Solihull and East Birmingham then it looks even less appealing for ale/craft but there are some classic earthy boozers.
Villages such as Knowle, Hockley Heath and Balsall Common are worth a visit but, in general, this part of the world is Carling and Guinness and none the worse for it in the suburbs.
So, with all that context, Ember Inns are absolute godsends. That’s the kind of sentence I don’t think I’d hear many pub bloggers say (although the late great Alan Winfield was a big fan of The Hollybrook in Littleover) but this part of the world is different.
As Martin discovered in his top notch blog most Ember Inns in this part of the world are local boozers that just happen to sell food.
So, it was good to see that 336 – The Fieldhouse B91 3JU still had the feel of a local boozer when I visited on a Monday afternoon. It’s on the Monkspath estate which is an extension of Solihull centre really and mushroomed in the eighties and is now huge!
(locals play cards)
As befits a big housing estate, albeit a relatively smart affluent one, it has a big old pub and this sprung up at about the same time although it used to be known as The Chequers.
Another bonus of Ember Inns is that they are open all day…and with two hours to kill before picking up from a pantomime this was the perfect way to spend at least an hour of it.
The barman tried his best with the Sunbeam (Banks’s) but it had gone so I had very decent pint of Landlord (Timothy Taylor’s) and watched the world go by with my crossword.
I did note that a couple of the old boys were drinking John Smith’s before indulging in some proper Whitwick style wordsmith behaviour and the Guinness and Carling were also selling well but it doesn’t matter what people drink…it is the people who make a pub.
Like The Red Lion in Knowle, The Olton Tavern in Olton and I suspect The Woodmans Rest and Colebrook (both in Solihull), this place is a locals pub.
(disappointed I missed this – not for Mudgie though!)
With limited pub stock, people adapt and this part of greater Birmingham like their pubs to be open all day and go along for the craic rather than the food.
Pete’s blog covers Ember Inns far better than I do and I know he regularly hosts quizzes at another Ember inn – The Bulls Head – in Hall Green.
Would I go here again? Absolutely. I could go with the BB family or happy to along with some pals for a few pints as this place gets quite lively of an evening.
A Monday afternoon in early January isn’t peak pub time but I had to queue for a pint and there was a good turnover of people eating and drinking.
Nice to see Mitchells & Butlers boozers serving their local community once again!