5 not-to-miss pubs in the West Midlands
In the UK, the pub is THE place to meet and socialise with friends and family. You go to the pub to watch the football match (soccer!); you go to the pub to for an after-work drink; for a chat with your best-friend; to meet your in-laws; and least I forget, a Sunday Roast* with the family.
Every neighbourhood has a local pub so it means that three are thousands of them in the UK! To make your life a little easier, here is a short list of great pubs for when you're in the West Midlands.
Before we start, I love history so here's a light history of the traditional English pub!
The British pub dates back almost 2,000 years to the Romans. They had 'pubs' called tabernae which sold wine and were found alongside travel routes for the troops.With the rise in demand for ale, these tabernae became taverns or "alehouses". Their cousin, "the Inn" provided accommodation as well. Alehouses, inns and taverns collectively became known as public houses and later this was shortened to"pubs".
*Sunday Roast is a traditional, hearty British late-afternoon meal, served on.... you guest it, Sunday! Traditionally it consists of roasted meat, often ham; potatoes; Yorkshire pudding (sort of a big, puffed bread roll), stuffing, veggies and gravy. Basically, in the UK it's Thanksgiving every Sunday!
5 NOT TO MISS Pubs in the West Midlands:
Close to home, I LOVE the BEAR INN. Situated in the quaint village of Berkswell, just a 15-minute drive from Coventry City Centre, The Bear Inn passes as both, a cosy country winter pub; and a fun, summertime pub. It has history too! A Grade II listed timber framed building, it hosted Oliver Cromwell’s troops in the 1600's and later during the Blitz of WW2, Coventry citizens slept on its floors.
The Old Joint Stock this is a show-stopper, "wow" kind of pub, which is fitting as it is a theatre as well! Situated in the heart of Birmingham, The Old Joint Stock is a Victorian theatre pub and hosts an array of events aside from a good pint and a roast. Another Grade II listed building it was built in 1862, first as a library and then as a bank, which is where it gets it's name, "Old Joint Stock".
The Cross Michelin starred pub. It's slightly more upmarket and considered a "gastro pub". The Cross is nice for a Sunday roast or a special dinner. They have a lovely outdoor area for the summer and also a good wine list which is unusual of most pubs.
If you're not with the family and up for a late-night, The Victoria is a great choice. The interior is dramatic and a bit moody and the crowd is a mix of locals of all ages. There's music upstairs and if you're hungry they do decent pizza (although don't expect NY style!).
The Greyhound Inn is a lovely canal side pub in Coventry, dating back to the 1800s. It is great for a warm summer's day!
What to order at the pub?
This section is a little 'bonus', as if you are like me, you will arrive at the pub and think, "what do I order?" So, look no further...
Ale a beer brewed without using hops and during fermentation, the yeast gathers on the top. It has a fuller taste to traditional beer.
Lager is closer to what one would consider "beer". It has milder flavour, uses yeast that ferments on the bottom and is brewed with hops.
Guinness an Irish dry stout. It's very dark in colour and quite heavy. The pour should be slow and there should be a lot of "head" (foam) on top.
Cider (or 'hard cider' in the USA) The UK drinks the most cider in the world. If you're not a beer/ale/lager drinker, but you want to hold a pint, try a pint of cider. It tastes more like a sparkling wine than beer and is made from apples. WARNING: Don't overdue it with the cider. It is renowned for leaving behind headaches (I can attest to this!). For more on ciders and The Independents' Best British ciders list...CIDER.
Of the above, whatever you do, DO NOT buy a bottled drink.
Go for what is "on tap" (draft).
Gin and tonic. The English love a good G&T. I personally like elderflower gin with Fever Tree elderflower tonic.
In the summer: Pimm's is a GREAT choice. Mixed with cucumber, mint, strawberries and orange slices, it is the Englishman's sangria! If you're staying for a few rounds, I do recommend ordering a jug over a glass if you have the option. It goes down very nicely.
Non-drinkers, I would recommend elderflower cordial with soda water (seltzer).
Wine drinkers, beware. The pub is usually not the place to "enjoy" a glass of wine although they will have a few basic store brands for you to pick from.
TIP: This applies to most pubs (though not all)... Ordering and paying are done at the same time and at the bar. Before going up, be sure to note your table number as you will need to tell the barmaid this when you order.
If you have been through the Midlands and have a pub you'd like to recommend that is not on this list, do SHARE.
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