You left me and my pals boarding the tram at Wolverhampton St George’s and I can reveal the breaking news that the bloke with the grey vest got on the same tram as us.
That’s right, the feller from The Wheatsheaf sporting a dapper pair of shoes, jeans and a cheeky old school plain vest, boarded with us and also got off at our next port of call, Bilston.
The first post in this trilogy of Metro pub stops saw some Black Country stalwarts – who used to shop at Toys Am We – quite rightly point out a couple of areas for improvement!
Baggies fan Len pointed out there were quite a few gaps on the Metro Map and he’s spot on, so here’s a map with the current state of play.
I’ve no doubt Alan would have stopped at every station and found a boozer for a pint as a matter of course, but I’m not quite ready to fill the great man’s boots yet.
Therefore we thought we’d pull over at selected stations where we knew there was a boozer within a reasonable walking distance.
As we got off at Bilston the geezer in the grey vest went right and we went left out onto the High Street to discover this is definitely Slade territory.
Don Powell, drummer with Noddy and the boys, was born here so there is a musical heritage of sorts and that is obvious in 459 – The Trumpet WV14 0EP.
Like most of Bilston, this boozer has got a real throwback feel to it and it’s a small one roomer with a stage at the back for the live bands who play here eight times a week.
It felt like there should be a fug of smoke as you walk in or the bloke from the Fast Show saying ‘nice’ as it’s a jazz/blues boozer in the heart of Bilston and it doesn’t get more off the wall than that.
The landlady was terrific and really friendly although it was still early afternoon and the place was sparse with a couple of old boys reading the paper and one at the bar talking music.
There’s trumpets all over the walls and ceiling and other various musical instruments and you can feel the history in this place.
I like my Holden’s beers but the Golden Glow felt tired and with four or five handpumps on maybe they need to adopt the ‘less is more’ adage during the week.
There was a bit of Steppenwolf coming through the speakers as the younger one in our group of three had the Shazam app, which obviously spoils all conversation, but is great for spotting obscure Steppenwolf tracks.
Bilston High Street was full but had a feel, like many other suburb High Streets, that its best days are behind it and I hope that doesn’t apply to The Trumpet as the landlady made sure it was a well-kept, well cared for boozer.
Pete Allen recently waxed lyrical about the virtues of Wetherspoons boozers and I have to agree, which was handy as our next port of call was Wednesbury where an old boy pointed us towards the spoons.
He overheard our conversation on the team about The Old Blue Ball but reckoned it was a mammoth walk (subsequent checking proved this not to be the case) but he was such an advocate for 460 – The Bellwether WS10 9BZ I thought he must have been on Tim Martin’s payroll.
If anything, the market town of Wednesbury was probably earthier than Bilston although we had a magnificent pork cob from the Chip Tub café en route.
A closed down cinema and some Sixties architecture greeted us as we headed towards The Bellwether but it stood out like a sore thumb as there were hanging baskets everywhere and was easily the most full pub of the day.
It’s a big L-shaped room and a huge selection of beer with Blonde (Backyard Brewery) we chose was top class and under two quid!.
It was a chilled out place and a fairly standard Wetherspoons, but I mean that in a positive way. They are clearly doing something right as it is the go to place for anyone over 55 and we got served as quick as I have in any spoons ever, which was another bonus.
Next port of call was West Bromwich’s oldest boozer in Hill Top (or Black Lake Station on the Metro map).
I didn’t know this at the time so I’ll need to credit Carl who flagged it up in the Twittersphere after my last post.
461 – The Sow & Pigs B70 0PS is a big roadside boozer and was apparently revamped by Two Crafty Brewers Brewery and Sadlers Brewery although I’m not sure who owns it now.
Its credentials were boosted by the bloke leaving on a mobility scooter just as we arrived.
The barmaid was really friendly, a theme throughout the day, and the beer (I think it was Backyard again) was excellent.
A smart refurb inside with Tenable presented by Warwick Davis on the box and doing its best to knock The Chase off top spot for “quiz shows on the TV in pubs” award.
There was a dart board but no darts (!) and the beer was spot on as a debate raged between the three of us as to whether The Chase or Tenable won out
and the verdict was The Chase all day long.
Apparently this pub has been here since 1726 and has fought off plenty of bids by Sandwell Council to put houses on the site…long may that continue as there are plenty of chimney pots nearby and for beer tourists this is the only boozer by Black Lake Tram Station!
We were edging ever closer back to Brum but there were still a couple of stations to visit…