As the Midland Metro Line Crawl neared the end of the road there was still time to stop off at a couple of classic boozers.
The Metro system is excellent and. as I mentioned before, less than three quid to hop on and off trams all day that run every six minutes. Once Birmingham City Council have finally achieved their dream of introducing congestion charges pedestrianising the whole of the city then this should become even more popular as it is proposed to stretch to the NEC.
I can’t wait for pub crawlers to get off there and wander into Chelmsley Wood and Smithswood looking for a boozer….
Anyway, back to the present, and anywhere from Dartmouth Street through to The Hawthorns covers West Brom and the football ground, so there are a decent selection of boozers to pick from.
(take your pick)
I’ve not been to West Bromwich High Street for the best part of 25 years I reckon and had forgotten just how long it is.
But the general consensus was that it was time to make our debut in 462 – The Wheatsheaf B70 9QW which is right at the far end of the High Street.
This is prime Baggies territory and with a game on later in the evening the boozers would be expecting trade to be a bit livelier later on but this was still mid-afternoon.
It’s a classic building from the outside but has had a big refurb inside and is now a big open plan boozer with big screens dotted around along with pool and darts.
Luckily, the screen was showing a selection of Stock, Aitken and (Pete) Waterman’s (Walsall’s greatest export) finest so were treated to the likes of Kylie, Jason, Rick Astley and Brother Beyond!
Unlike the Sow And Pigs this place did have darts so we embarked on a game and whilst I don’t like to mention my sporting prowess on this site I can confirm that I didn’t finish second or third.
(drinking pal doing best Christopher Biggins impression)
The barman had a cap on and was happy to help but enjoying the relative peace. I reckon he has to be on his toes as this place gets lively of an evening and a weekend and there was a massive array of Holden’s beers on the bar as well as plenty of Throstles memorabilia on the walls.
I thought I’d go for their (Holden’s) Black Country Lager which was actually very decent and had a touch of the Staropramen about it as we spent a very enjoyable half hour in a proper pub.
Back on the tram saw us jump off at (Soho) Benson Road station and visit the funniest boozer of the day.
463 – Black Eagle B18 5JU is on Factory Road on the outskirts of Hockley, which is the less gentrified region of the Jewellery Quarter and still has some industry. In fact, it’s about 250 yards from another cracking desi pub that has been revitalised and brought back from the dead called The New Soho Tavern.
I’ve been there before for some food and it is top class as are a lot of the desi pubs in this area. However, you can’t ignore the classic standalone Black Eagle as it is a Victorian pub with two small bars and a larger food based room at the back.
Two lads in the corner were preparing to attend an Only Fools And Horses convention in Margate and were trying to persuade their third mate to join them.
He was well oiled by this time and most physical (head locks generally) and verbal persuasion wasn’t working but we joined in the conversation and it was top class pub banter.
The barmaid was also good value and one of my drinking pals bet her a pound that his drink had a bit of grapefruit flavouring and she reckoned it was pineapple (I think).
Either way it was a bet he lost which, after visiting eight pubs, wasn’t a huge shock; this is a place that knows its audience though and not a quiet boozer whilst being set up en route for Baggies fans on a match day.
You can’t knock a homemade pump clip and the (Salopian) beer was excellent along with the funny atmosphere in its snug front bar, which meant this was arguably pub of the day…
Bearing in mind we didn’t stop at any pubs in either the Jewellery Quarter or Brum then there are another two dozen top class boozers to visit within spitting distance of this tram line.
A top day exploring some of Birmingham and the Black Country’s lesser known lights, but proving that the pub world is still very much alive and kicking.