Dragon Breathing Fire In Ghost Town

You left me watching mobility scooters, Colin West basketball vests and contemplating plant feeding in an edge of town local on the Derby Road in Long Eaton.

However, I was due to meet my mate – big John – in Birmingham on Friday as we attempted a version of the No 11 Ale Trail.

All of which meant a bit of train and bus travel to get to the starting point of Acocks Green in Brum and I landed around 11am in the Mecca.

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What struck me was that it seemed like a Ghost Town.  Jerry, Terry, Nev and the boys could have been singing about Grand Central and the city at large as it didn’t seem to be anywhere near the levels of footfall I’d except in Brum on a sunny Friday morning.

If people don’t start returning to cities then it won’t be long before others follow John Lewis in leaving the Second City.

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It did mean I could get some uninterrupted pictures of the gleaming new New Street and the classic old school Moor Street Station.

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Selfridges looked as iconic as ever but will we think it’s Madin Brutalist in years to come…?

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Just in case you think this has turned into the Alan Whicker travel blog then rest assured I had my sights on Brum’s fifth best known Wetherspoons.

(spot the pubs…an ever more difficult game)

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Everyone knows The Square Peg and The Figure of Eight on Broad Street whilst renowned Brummie troublemaker Pete Allen (not true but makes a good story) has made The Soloman Cutler famous after his bar room brawl there last week – read it here!

That leaves us with number four – The Briar Rose, which is in a clutch of pubs at the bottom of Bennetts Hill, and the last one is the lesser known 575 – The Dragon Inn B5 4TD

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It’s opposite The Hippodrome

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in the increasingly less grand Arcadian complex, and often looks dark and dingy from the outside compared to The Green Room (now shut – a casualty of covid) and the historic Sly Old Fox as pre/post drinks at the theatre, but was gleaming today.

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Nonetheless, this place was clean and full of Hi viz jackets having breakfast, couple drinking and lads tucking into a few…usual Wetherspoons fare and great to see.

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There was definite signs of life here and even though it had a downstairs toilet (unheard of in spoons) and John Smiths, Carling and Thatchers appeared to be the best sellers at about 11.15.

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I plumped for a half of Abbott Ale (Greene King) and nearly fell over when I thought she said £4!

However, it must have been lost in translation as she confirmed it was actually £1 for a half of what I have to say was top notch beer.

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“£4! That’s London prices,” she confirmed and I was warming to this place. Having watched a bloke struggle on the Fruit machine I decided to take in some rays and sat in the beer garden and listened to some chilled early morning conversations.

Pub number 20 since I’ve returned to blogging and here is the list covering Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.

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From The Milking Parlour to this little gem, the quality of beer (99% of the time), banter and cleanliness has been terrific.

I reckon the Green Room’s untimely demise could mean a lot more trade for the Spoons and it looks poised to lift its status in the ‘best known spoons in Brum.’

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The day was young and a good start…

20 thoughts on “Dragon Breathing Fire In Ghost Town

  1. You’re certainly a trier with these Wetherspoon bars Beermat, but I think I’ll stick with the Sly Old Fox, an unexpected gem for that location even in its ‘not-quite-as-good-as-it-was‘ refurbished guise.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s been spruced-up and modernised to a degree, and with a menu to match, but most of the lovely glasswork is still intact and you can still just have a beer. It’s not what it was but I still liked the place when I was there a couple of years ago.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I think I prefer the Moor Street station in its classic historic style. The new New Street looks like it’s just landed from outer space – though it’s probably better than the old concrete car park style New Street. 🙂

    Funnily enough I’m publishing a post on GHGTTP2 today, that contains a pint of Abbott Ale. Definitely a tale of two Abbott’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Spot on Hermit as the old one had that sixties concrete collar feel to it. noir Street is great and Snow Hill quite tidy too…can’t wait to see Curzon Street if HS2 ever gets built…
      I’ll check out your Abbott ale supping!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re performing an essential public service here, rating Spoons. There used to be at least 3 in central Mansfield; they’d have tested your patience.

    Your 20 pubs in a month puts you in the Top 0.000037 % of PubMen, a number equivalent to your risk of catching Covid19, unless you exchange bodily fluids in a nightclub called PRYZM on Broad St.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Only ever been to The Dragon Inn a couple of times (I too prefer the Old Fox…before it became ‘Sly’!), but it has always been pretty busy whenever I’ve looked in!

    PS Thanks for the plug…looks like I’ll have to get involved in a few more ‘brawls’…lol!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good work Beermat, haven’t been brave enough to venture into Central Birmingham myself yet so pleased to see you’re keeping the places going! Don’t mind the Dragon, as you say it can go under the radar a bit (Mr D9 gives it a wide berth as ‘dragon’ is his nickname for the missus) – looking forward to seeing what you got up to during the rest of the day. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Those two Brum stations look rather different to the bustling transport hubs that I passed through on 6th March, whilst on my way to Burton on Trent.

    That was the occasion of our last Proper Day Out, and the day I had the pleasure of meeting you in person, BBM.

    I thought people would have started drifting back by now. I blame this working from home nonsense. 😷

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It does seem a lifetime away LAF, and as for the future of our inner cities and town centres, heaven only knows.It’s office workers that need enticing back, but with companies providing facilities for homeworking, staff are unlikely to return in sufficient numbers.

        The government’s scare tactics, were obviously too effective. Perhaps they needed to be, but with the economy already trashed, and the mathematical modellers still hankering for a second lock-down any recovery for UK Ltd seems a long way off.

        It’s crazy to have come this far and then start shutting things down again. The government need to evaluate whether the compulsory wearing of masks is helping to stop the virus from spreading. Put it this way, wearing masks can’t do any harm and may in the medium to long time, actually work. We just need to hold our nerve a little longer in order to find out.

        Looking for short term answers and indulging in knee-jerk politics is not the right approach, and despite what the doom-sayers and anti-vaxers say, there are encouraging signs that this will, in the end, be the means of getting things back to normal – or as near to 2019 as humanly possible.

        Liked by 1 person

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