Top 20 Pubs: The Red Lion, Shirley

Another blogging hiatus due to work commitments and general lack of enthusiasm about the whole ‘closed pub’ scene in general mean posts on this site  are about as reliable as the ‘goal wristwatch alert’ scheme at Villa Park.

I can understand why the officials didn’t give the goal though as Villa’s Goalkeeper was only hanging onto the back of the net with the ball in his hands so it wasn’t as though they could have asked for VAR or, bear with me on this, actually give a decision!


A bit like umpires and front foot no balls, the days of Premier League linesman giving goals for a disputed ball over the line are long gone.

However, with football returning then at least I can talk about something other than lockdown whilst cunningly adding in a post about one of my Top 20 Pubs.

Red Lion 12.02.18  (14).jpg

Blues are set to kick start Albion’s promotion charge again on Saturday after announcing that Pep Clotet is leaving in nine games time as the hot seat at St Andrew’s reaches scalding levels.

I wonder if Pep will drown his sorrows with a beer or two at The Red Lion in Shirley. It’s not too far from the Blues training ground at Wast Hills and Pep likes the odd half so I reckon he could be tempted into a proper old school British boozer before he heads back to sunnier climes.

Red Lion 12.02.18 (7)

There was a spell in early 2019 when The Lion, as it’s known affectionately by all the locals, was shut….it was feared that with the gleaming new behemoth of a Wetherspoons over the road attracting a lot of trade, that the Lion might be consigned to the history books.

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But it’s back with us and sums up everything that is good about Shirley.  Closest suburb to Solihull (just keep driving down the A34/Stratford Rd) it possesses a massive array of shops but none of the glitz of its near neighbour.

Red Lion 12.02.18  (4).jpg

It’s perfectly happy with that though and the fact this boozer looks like it is in a 60’s shopping precinct, with a flat roof to please Paul WME, and surviving despite Shirley council’s best efforts to continue ‘regenerating’ the A34, is testament to what an institution this boozer is.

Red Lion 12.02.18 (18)

Live music, jukeboxes, cheese cobs, real ale, acerbic banter and never a hint of trouble and a cracking atmosphere mean this place is a bona fide member of my Top 20 pubs.

I suspect it won’t trouble the GBG, but it actually serves excellent beer at sub £3 prices, which is a bonus.

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Longstanding pubs on a High Street that survive the Sizzling/Hungry Horse/2-1 makeovers that are commonplace deserve a mention.

This is my original post here and let’s hope that when (if) the pubs reopen that The Lion carries on defying the odds and holding its place at the heart of the community

16 thoughts on “Top 20 Pubs: The Red Lion, Shirley

  1. Welcome back BeerMat. Hope work and life treating you ok.

    I think that Villa cockup may have saved the season. I had no interest in the big restart but that unforgiveable howler had me and the lad in stitches.

    Glad the Red Lion roared again. It was in the GBG in the noughties, before smoking ban I think, and was great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Martin 👍 quite a few colleagues been hit by recession but hanging on at present so been a little distracted!
      I enjoyed Citeh romp although currently watching Exeter/Colchester bore draw reminds me why I like live games with a vested interest ⚽
      I assume the GBG was a lot more trad back in the day but pleased to see it had its moment in the ☀️☀️!
      Will catch up with your top notch stuff asap 👍


  2. Hi Beermat – always good to see the Red Lion getting a mention, it is definitely one of my flat-roof favourites as you correctly predicted. Been a while since I last went so I’m pleased it came back after that period of closure a couple of years ago, and fingers crossed it will survive the Covid situation too! Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 2 people

  3. More Red Lion …

    Tin pubs?
    Not for me, Lou tells VIPs

    It was meant to be a red letter day for the Red Lion.

    All the VIPs were there. The building contractors of the £30.000 project, brewery directors, licensing Justices. police and council representatives.

    And there was 70-year-old Mrs. Lou Robinson, lunching on salmon, ham and beef—among the guests for the official opening.

    Between sips of tonic water, she made her feelings known about this latest addition to Ansells chain of modern public houses. ‘It’s the first time I have been in here—and It will be the last. I don’t believe in the tin pubs.”


    The teetotal feels so strongly about the new building that she has resigned her job as a barmaid with the brewery.

    For 34 years she has served in the bars of the inn, which the new building on Stratford Road, at Shirley, replaces.

    Mrs. Robinson, who lives in a nearby old person’s bungalow, said ; “ I have pulled hundreds of pints of beer next door using the beer pumps. I don’t like these new ‘push button’ dispensers.

    “ I was asked if I would continue in the new building but I said no. I did not think they would invite me here today but I am glad they did. But I am afraid I shan’t come again.”

    ‘End of era’

    A brewery spokesman said; “We are very glad Mrs. Robinson agreed to come. She marks the end of an era. One can understand an old person’s point of view and she has served the company well for a number of years.”

    And another welcome came from Mr. R.O. Graham, commercial managing director of Ansells, who opened the building.

    The Red Lion opens today to the public and the original building is to be demolished to create a car park for the public house and customers of ten shops and a supermarket.

    Birmingham Daily Post 16th March 1967

    Liked by 1 person

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