As tension builds ahead of the grand pub free for all / drinking frenzy, reopening on Saturday I thought it was a good idea to plan a holiday.
No ordinary vacation of course but another in the series of “A week in…” which this time heads to my home town of Olton to spend a week on the sauce.
(thousands of chimney pots)
Quite a lot of pubs have bitten the dust in the final suburb of Solihull on the 37 bus route before you reach Brum, but there are enough good ‘uns left allied to a train station to make this the perfect base.
This is an area that Martin knows well from his GBG treat at The Olton Tavern as it stretches from the edge of Land Rover across to the slightly more salubrious end of St Bernard’s Road and the Reservoir.
So, get yourself checked into The Leaded Light Guest House on the Warwick Road after catching a train from Birmingham Moor Street to Olton Station.
It’s about five minutes and one you’ve dropped off your bag, you might as well stroll straight up the Warwick Road to Platform Three.
For many years after The Golden Arrow and then The Dolphin, shut there wasn’t a pub between Acocks Green and Solihull on the Warwick Road but thankfully Platform Three, which is pubbier than it looks, has come to the rescue.
Very much a pub of two halves with food one aside and drinking the other this is a place to sit and watch sport whilst necking some cask ale and has the added bonus of being directly opposite the station.
There are various routes next and you could jump on the 37 bus into Acocks Green or walk down the Warwick Road, depending on your preference.
Acocks Green, as well as being a terrific name and the birthplace of Jasper Carrot isn’t a mecca for pubs but has one stand out behemoth in the centre of this suburb.
Inn on The Green is a regular CAMRA favourite and whilst being suitably gritty, has some top notch beer on and is the focal point of the village.
Next plan of action is back into Olton and turn left at the Station to head towards a genuine estate pub in The Lyndon.
Again, some decent beer on here and it’s a multi roomed classic where I used to spend many an hour as youngster as my school pal’s dad used to own this place!
I’m a stickler on the blog not to cover pubs I haven’t been in but I can recommend you head to the Olton Tavern even though it hasn’t featured in LifeAfterFootball before.
(picture courtesy of Martin)
It was my local for many a year and is now an Ember Inn…
(pictute courtesy of Martin)
…so has the added bonus of selling food and Martin did a much better job of writing about it than me.
The Hobs Meadow is another possible, opposite the Ice Rink and then you can finish off your Monday at The Highwood,
(flat roof estate pub, especially for Paul WME)
which is a real backstreet boozer tucked away in the shadows of Land Rover.
A leisurely stroll back through Jubilee Park to finish the evening off before heading back to your base.
The beauty of Olton is that the transport system is excellent so I would suggest jumping on the 37 into Solihull and picking up some breakfast before heading off on the number 6 down the A34 to near neighbour Shirley.
As a starting point, I’d be tempted into the M&B Sizzler The Plume of Feathers, which has wall to wall sport and a good core of locals.
Decent beer too and some proper pub characters….The A34 is awash with takeaways, fast food restaurants and Barbers to any of the above and you are well stocked indeed .
It is time for a little stroll now to one of the back streets off the Stratford Road and pay a visit to the Woodman’s Rest.
A solid locals pub that is now an Ember but don’t worry, in the West Midlands that means you get some decent beer and a pub that is open all day!
Walking back to the A34 then the new kid on the block, Craft inn Shirley is worth a visit.
It’s very much a new breed style of pub with a raft of craft on show and some absolute stonking beer…
…to keep you topped up as you head towards the all time classic.
(more flat roof voyeurism for Paul)
The Red Lion is an absolute must for anyone visiting Shirley.
I’ve waxed lyrical about this place but if you time it right you might well get a live band to go with good beer, cheese cobs and Brummie wit!
There is also a behemoth of a Spoons – The Pump House or a new Micro/craft bar, The Shaking Hand, on the Parkgate shopping development, which may well be worth a visit, even though I’ve not been to either.
Bus back into Solihull and then back to Olton with a potential stop off at Dovehouse Chippie en route for arguably the best chips in Solihull.
Now, I’ve often bemoaned the lack of decent boozers in Solihull but I reckon I’ve cobbled together enough here to keep you in a good enough mood for the day.
You can of course get a train directly into Solihull or jump on the 37 – the choice is yours but if you get the train you can walk into the back end of the town and begin your proceedings at The White Swan.
A spoons I hear you cry but the beer is decent, they queue very nicely in Solihull at the bar, and it’s a pre midday opener.
A literal five-yard stagger next door will take you into the Flute and Flagon, which I think, is Stonegate’s spoons response, as it is open long hours and has excellent prices, whilst selling cask.
(standard Solihull pub livery)
This has the added bonus of sport on the box though and makes a nice little duo of boozers on Station Road.
Completing the hat trick is the relatively recently opened Indian Brewery Solihull
which sells some marvellous food as it is definitely time for a snack at this point.
It’s the sister pub to their place at Snow Hill…
…under the railway arches in Brum and a pint of Birmingham Lager is highly recommended as well as other options.
It might be time for a stroll to clear your head and I recommend a decent walk to the Monkspath/|Hillfield estate on the outskirts of the town centre for your third consecutive Ember!
The Fieldhouse is a good local pub and a monster but the walk will do you good and clear your head for the final run in to the day.
I’d walk straight back up the High Street to the bottom end…
…where you can sit in the Masons Arms, an old school M&B boozer.
Does what it says on the tin and is always lively at whatever time of day you go in, I have arguably spent more of my money in this pub than any other in Britain!!
Final port of call is the old Saddlers Arms, which is reborn as The Tap and Tandoor.
Another pub with sport, craft and top class food means if you are brave enough to take on your second meal of the day, this is the place.
There are other options of course in the centre such as Yates’ or The Beech House, which resemble pubs as you would know them
After heading back on the train to Olton and your five minute walk to The Leaded Lights, then a good kip is in order as the week is only just warming up with a big day on the horizon on Thursday