On holiday recently I was flabbergasted to walk into a traditional boozer only to find it was filled with smoke (a country without the ban). I was instantly teleported back a decade ago to the Village pub in Moseley, it felt more 1990s than 2014.
It’s strange to think how far we’ve come since then. When the smoking ban first kicked in many pubs had a crash in sales, largely down to the eroding of decades of pub culture that focussed on the marriage between a pint of larger and a cigarette.
These days however, things have at last stabalised and the focus has moved towards the quality of food, or music, or real ales, or variety of whiskies on sale than worrying about whether you could smoke or not. Even some smokers prefer to smoke outside now.
Enough of that for now though, here’s our top 5 pubs for your Christmas celebrations in Brum.
1) The Hare and Hounds Kings Heath: The city’s undisputed heavyweight champion of music venue inside a pub that serves an excellent range of wines, spirits and beers. If you don’t know a barman, or woman at the Hare by name, then you ain’t a proper Brummie…simples!
2) The Plough Harborne: Serving some seriously appetising munch, coupled with a village pub vibe right in the centre of bustling Harborne it has some great homemade dishes and some excellent choices of wine.
3) The Prince of Wales Moseley: One of the coolest beer gardens in town with the regulars to match. The Prince has long been a watering hole for some of Moseley and the surrounding areas finest residents and personalities. There’s a pop up street food shack, pop up good wine shed, an outdoor bottle bar, and some classic old school private rooms for those that like to reminisce on days gone by. Regulars at the Prince even get to keep their favourite tankards behind the bar!
4) The Church Inn Hockley: This is a place which sprang up after people realised that Hockley was perhaps worth giving a bit more of a chance than its days as a no go area after dark (which is probably what made it such a cool hang out back in the day with the likes of the Lord Clifden). Stooped to win every prize going in the industry in 2015, the Church is a mecca of good booze, quirky interiors and ‘anything can happen’ frollics on a night out. They also have a great selection of weekend events you should definitely take the time out to try.
5) The Old Joint Stock: Back in the day, us journalist types used to meet here every Friday afternoon for a few jars as it were before the Post and Mail sadly relocated to Fort Dunlop. However, one thing they didn’t change was the stunning circular bar, the vibrant, diverse crowd, real theatre and quirky beer garden out back. It’s one of Brum’s remaining gems, let’s just hope it stays the same.