We’ve lost some pubs over the years, some inevitably, most needlessly and some grudgingly understandably. Some have gone for good, but I can hope that one or two might reopen one day. Here I look back at some of them.
The Stag – Bloxwich.
This pub earns the maximum 5 bulldozers out of 5 on the needlessly flattened scale. What a place it was too, serving Highgate beers with very friendly staff and customers too. My main memory of this was a gentlemen’s evening that me and a great mate Mark went to. A couple of ladies put on a show then came round to interact on a more personal level with some of the punters. One came to me. She held my hands out, covered them in cream and moved them towards her breasts. God, I called them breasts. I must be growing up. Just as my hands were about to make contact she pushed them back and slapped them around my head. Now I like cream on lemon drizzle cake, in my stomach, not in my ears without it. Everyone cheered and I laughed it off. No point being a dick in these situations. I don’t think she meant to embarrass me. She probably thought “in 20 years time this bloke might have an online blog and be struggling for material due to pubs being scapegoated in a pandemic. I’ll give him something to write about”. At the end the two ladies came round with pint glasses for tips. The one said “you have to pay double, you got cream”. She got a quid.
The Brewery Stores – Walsall.
Another great place and I was a regular in here during the late 90’s when it was also a Highgate pub. The Saddlers Bitter in here was simply divine and like it had been poured by God himself, though I’m not sure why Ray Graydon (legendary ex Walsall FC manager) would have been serving drinks in there. It’s still up for sale and someone I know had a viewing and said it could reopen as a pub tomorrow. We remain in hope.
Our former Wetherspoons which when opened contained an array of dinosaurs, including Dinky, a massive Diplodocus (I think) which took pride of place in the middle of the floor. My favourite memory of this pub hails from 1999 when Walsall FC got promoted ahead of big spending teams like Manchester City, after starting the season as favourites for relegation. During the promotion celebrations Phil a friend of mine decided to climb up onto Dinky to put a Walsall scarf round his neck. One of the barmaids was horrified, told him to get down and ran off to the fetch the manageress when he didn’t. She just laughed and told him to carry on. Sadly Dinky didn’t survive a refurbishment, but that memory will stay with me forever.
Great pub and another sad loss. Just outside of the town centre but with a real back street feel. The anecdote for this place is from when a pretty barmaid decided that she wanted a threesome with me and one of my best friends Woza. Unfortunately rather than ask us outright, she sought out her fellow barmaid as to whether it might happen. Unfortunately said barmaid was Woza’s then missus who promptly told her it wasn’t happening. She left shortly afterwards and I didn’t find this out until after she had gone. Shame she didn’t think that just myself and her could have given it a try. The wine would have gone further at least.
Some good times in here. Another pub on the hope to reopen list but on our last visit it was just myself, Mase and Swill in there along with the barman who didn’t seem that bothered if we were in there or not. I think I’ve only fallen asleep in pubs three times. Once in Ramsgate and twice in here so it has that bit of history and I’d love the chance to complete the hat-trick.
Chicago Rock Cafe.
We used to go in here every Wednesday back in my drinking days when Wednesday evening would be the start of the weekend in my eyes. I have nothing but disdain for television talent shows but one night there was some kind of event like this going on so we stopped to watch. It was hosted by then BRMB DJ Rick Vaughan which as a radio geek excited me greatly ( I even tuned into his show a couple of times afterwards which was a big thing for me as I was strictly rival station Beacon growing up). After a few weeks Rick announced that as we were there every week, we were going to be the judges that night (which we knew nothing about) and that we would get a free pint for doing it. I always find booze to be a good incentive for doing things. It was great fun deciding who went through and he let us do it again the following week, although this time we had to argue with the barman for our free pint. And the good thing is, if I ever get to meet Amanda Holden, I now have an angle with which to break the ice with this fellow talent show judge.
They had live events in Chicagos too. Bad Manners came one night which was an amazing experience but a slightly odder one was a Girls Aloud tribute act. I’d made an effort and put on a decent shirt along with aftershave just in case I bumped into “Cheryl” at some point. But when they walked out there was only four them and we couldn’t work out who was who. So we finished our drinks and left.
The Black Swan.
Again, a superb pub needlessly converted into a trendy bar and didn’t last long after that. Epic nights in here including a 35ish person strong conga after we beat Colombia in 1998, which did a couple of circuits of the pub before venturing outside then someone remembered there were drinks to be finished inside and it quickly disbanded.
Mase and I have made a pact that one when one of us wins the lottery we are going to open a Walsall FC themed pub in town called Fellows Park Tavern (named after our beloved football teams former and much better ground). The Black Swan is my preferred place for this to happen. Right, I’m off to get my lucky dip for Wednesday’s draw.
The Park Tavern.
What a place. Unfortunately it was on a large plot of land in a very desirable location so it never stood a chance and is now in pub heaven replaced by apartments.
Oddest memory of this place was going there for an England match and nipping up the bar just before half time. Barmaid took my order and wandered off, presumably to fill a couple of glasses I naively thought. After 5 minutes there was no sign of her and after a few more passed she finally emerged out of the kitchen carrying plates of food which she took off to the other side of the pub. Woza, who had opted to drive that night (you should never drive on international duty) said “come on geez, let’s go where we can get served”. So he took us to The Myvod in Wednesbury where we got served straight away. England ran riot in the second half, I chucked booze down me, he had a coke and dropped me off home. All turned out well in the end.
The Stein Bar.
Still standing, and after lying dormant for a while this is now apparently available to hire for private functions. We went one night to see a mates band playing. Got there early, paid in, hand stamped etc etc but after getting a drink it turned out it was going to be another hour before the music started so we opted to pop to the BCA for a quick couple. Upon returning the bouncers had clocked on and they refused us entry due to me having a Walsall FC polo shirt on. We explained that we’d already been in, paid, showed hand stamps but they were having none of it. We continued to argue and the bouncer had had enough and said I could go in, turn my top inside out in the toilets and then I could stay. So I took my top off there and then, in the very pleasant surroundings of the Stein Bar outside drinking area. The bouncer probably hadn’t banked on seeing a fat blokes moobs that night but he got the full eye full. And it was a great gig.
Right, I’ve taken up enough of your Sunday. I could write for hours about this (and sadly there a more lost pubs to provide the material). Thanks for reading and have a good day.