Villa 0-0 Wolves (half – time): Iconic Pubs: Digbeth Part 3

“What about The Lamp Tavern?” asked Ian J on Twitter after my recent round of Digbeth blogs…

Keep your readership happy is always the first rule of blogging and I paid a long overdue visit to one of Digbeth’s iconic boozers.

However, it almost didn’t happen as after leaving The Fountain Inn I set off for 684 – The Lamp Tavern B5 6AH and literally stumbled across an old boy opposite the Town Crier who was worse for wear.

He looked like he was about to roll into McDonald Road at any time so, with the help of a suitably concerned mechanic, decided to ring an ambulance as “there but for the grace of God go I…”

Anyway, 20 minutes later, I felt I deserved a pint after my good deed although the first bloke I regaled with this story in The Lamp was less sympathetic as he said “F** him.  If he’s that p****d, F*** him.”

Long-time gaffer (almost 30 years) Eddie Fitzpatrick had seen it all before and rescued me with a typically warm welcome from behind the Perspex glass, and recommended the Twisted Spire (Hobson’s).

Anyone who has been to The Lamp will be comforted to know that it is totally unchanged and whilst new pubs are springing up and old ones being revived, The Lamp and its gaffer Eddie, are  a constant.

It was around 4pm and two blokes next to me were playing a game you can only play in a pub that doesn’t show the football.

One of them had his phone and was reading out the Premiership teams in James Alexander Gordon style.

“Villa v Wolves”  His mate would then, in between eating pork scratchings and drinking his pint, start thInking about the half time score.

His mate would then repeat the first team…Villa?  0 was the reply. Wolves? 0 was the reply…correct was the answer.

They covered the Premier League and ‘local teams of interest’ which stretched to Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup.

It’s a genius pub game and I was invited to join in.  They played this game whenever Blues were away as one of them supported Blues and the other was a Walsall fan.   

A great half hour followed and I was enjoying myself so much I managed to drink another Twisted Spire.

The bloke I met when I walked in was warming up now and holding court again at the bar around credit cards, cashless society and big brother following your every move.  When he said that cash would be obsolete, Eddie replied with “Not in my pub,” which brought lots of laughter and the conversation was getting more raucous. 

It was a good time to leave and I am sure the Blues fan would have enjoyed guessing the final score at Villa Park but there was still another long term staple to visit in my Digbeth crawl.

685 – The Spotted Dog B12 0NH is one of those bona fide Irish pubs that Digbeth, with its traditional Irish roots, does so well.

It’s even got a catholic church in close proximity for good measure.

Big Joe Egan, once described by Mike Tyson as “The toughest White guy on the planet” used to be the gaffer here and that only adds to its no nonsense credentials.

There was a bloke in full flow at the bar who was pulling most people in the pub into his conversation and a couple of newcomers were joining in.

It was relatively quiet but felt like a pub with a lot of history and served an excellent pint of Citra (Oakham). 

I was happy to eavesdrop and take absolutely nothing in whilst enjoying the general pub banter. 

The feller holding court was drinking Holden’s Mild (a rarity these days)

and it felt like a good solid boozer that is standing the test of time and – like The Lamp – one of Digbeth’s stalwarts that will be there forever more.   

Six top class pubs, all with something to offer and only scratching the surface of Digbeth. 

Traditional pubs, tap rooms, craft bars, music bars, dance clubs, craft union pubs, Selfridges champagne bars…you name it, Digbeth has got it.

14 thoughts on “Villa 0-0 Wolves (half – time): Iconic Pubs: Digbeth Part 3

  1. BB I have thoroughly enjoyed your tour of Digbeth. Loved the pub game in The Lamp Tavern. Whilst we are on that subject be sure to catch last Saturday’s episode of Homes Under the Hammer, it features a nice two up three down in Aston.

    I had my first lock in at The Lamp Tavern, it was pre Eddie (just checked it was Feb 1988) but the thing that will blow the mind of your younger readers it was an afternoon lock in. Yes kids pubs used to shut between the lunchtime opening and the evening opening !!

    I will confess to having a few lock in’s at the equally impressive Spotted Dog (do you remember the time when there were two pubs of this name in Digbeth?) though most of my late night drinking took place it the late lamented Adam and Eve. When I heard that it was now a refuge for alcoholics and druggies I did wonder what had changed?!!

    On a point of order the PUB VAR officials are currently reviewing a potential boundary discrepancy in this post. Is The Lamp Tavern in Digbeth or does it fall into Highgate? Expect a decision soon. Have you ever visited the Sir Charles Napier round the corner from The Lamp? I’ve always been a bit scared, if you haven’t and ever fancy it would you ride shotgun for me?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting that this area doesn’t receive the love that other places do from the beer community that I read. This list of pubs looks fantastic. Great series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Beermat, naturally I was rather focused on events at Villa Park and considerably happier at full time than I was with ten or so minutes left! Eddie is a true pub legend and its great to hear that the Lamp Tavern is going strong after the pandemic. Spotted Dog a long-time WME favourite too, I remember drinking a pint of -pardon the spelling – Uisce Madra otherwise known as Dog Water there, tasted much better than it sounds! Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

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