Don’t Call Me Shirley: Part 2

You left me lapping up the sun in The Colebrook with the subsequent news that Pete Allen – Ember Inn quiz guru and canal boat Carling drinking legend – used to present quiz night there.

However, this is 2021 and Pete’s agent negotiated a big money move to the next suburb (Olton) and The Olton Tavern meaning he has left Shirley behind for the lure of filthy lucre.

However, I am made of sterner stuff no one is paying me to drink in pubs and the plan with Big John and two more Solihull old boys was to hit that Wednesday night mecca of entertainment – the A34.

Shilrey has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent years with the advent of the Parkgate Centre and whilst it doesn’t bring in people from all over the Midlands like its more salubrious neighbour – Touchwood – in Solihull, it has added a bit of glamour to this particular corner of Shirley.

Granted the walk through Shirley Park still saw us spot the odd overturned shopping trolley,

but it’s still an impressive looking sight with the sunshine beating down.

It’s also added a whopping gleaming new Wetherspoons known as 632 – The Pump House B90 3AQ  Now I’m a big ‘Spoons man and I’m not sure if it’s the glass partitions or the app but the general crackle and laugh and atmosphere of spoons doesn’t seem to have returned fully as yet.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a good half hour in this behemoth of a boozer and the Steerage (Titanic) was excellent and only £2.15 so what’s not to like?

But it just feels a bit more clinical these days and I think Tim’s empire will benefit hugely from a relaxing of the rules, although it was the most packed pub of the day.

Of course, the whole point of this day was to beat Martin, SI and Duncan to a GBG entry and I think I might just have done it on this occasion. 

Unbeknown to me 633 – The Shaking Hand B90 3GG which is situated in a unit on the Parkgate development, is a bona fide 2021 entry.

Big John, who is a Shirley stalwart, was worried this place might not reopen after lockdown as it took its time, and is at the other end of the spectrum size wise to the ‘spoons.

However, a chat with the gaffer confirmed that all was good and the rent had been favourable during lockdown so it was all systems go.

(take your pick)

This place shows live sport so isn’t your Herne Bay model micro and he confirmed that one of his regulars had already booked a table for six for Turkey’s opening Euro 2020 game and that business was brisk once again.

There was a nearby table of of four blokes in good voice and the beer was magnificent as I had a pint of Snake Eyes (Black Iris) and the conversation flowed with Birmingham City’s top 10 games the main topic of discussion.

We were joined by Dan and within minutes it was clear that the Lion still has more characters than any other boozer in Shirley. 

However, before we finished off our hat trick of Parkgate pubs we still had time to visit the legendary 156 – The Red Lion B90 3AX, which is a brutalist beauty in stark contrast to the shiny new Shirley.

A very decent pint of Doom Bar (Sharp’s) I believe and couple of random pub conversations about Greengrocers and of course, Birmingham City, with blokes meant this felt like pub life was returning more than anywhere else I had been so far.

I’ve waxed lyrical about this place before but the joy of the Lion is that it is one constant in an ever changing High Street. 

So, three more pubs notched up (two on the LAF tally) and the day was beginning to move into overdrive…

10 thoughts on “Don’t Call Me Shirley: Part 2

  1. Just catching up on your Shirley shenanigans Beermat, looks as though you had an enjoyable afternoon – mind you, any visit to the Red Lion pretty much guarantees you’re in for a good time. I’ve had my eye on the Shaking Hand for a little while but haven’t had chance to visit it yet (does it have a flat roof?). I wouldn’t have thought there’d be enough decent performances to put together a top 10 Blues games, certainly not in recent seasons!! Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually it might be a flat roofer but part of a shopping complex so a gleaming flat roof! Yes The Red Lion never changes and great to see it surviving even with a massive spoons over the road


  2. Mmmm, top ten Birmingham City games that might be stretching it a bit BB, Paul’s point sadly is a good one the memory bank would need to be raided. I guess the obvious ones we would all agree on but I quite like the random ones like the injury time come back to clinch an ill deserved point from two nil down at Pride Park a few seasons ago which bizarrely was better than the three nil victory there the next season.

    The Shaking Hand looks a fabulous place though surely the name should be temporarily changed to the Bumping Elbow in these limited contact days?!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The 4-3 win against Forest in 81 when they were European Champions always sticks in my mind and a 3-0 win at Oxford when the ruthless Briggs and Shotton were taken to cleaners by Clarke and Geddis.. Paul’s right though they are very niche 👌


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