So I’m slowly getting back into this going inside pubs lark. And very pleasant it has been too. Here’s some of the things I’ve been up to the past week.
Last Saturday was a free day but then Dave text saying that he was going to The Chuckery Club and did I want to join him? Now I have a bit of history with this place as I booked it for my 30th birthday party and when I went to pay for the room 2 weeks before the big day I found out that they’d given it to someone else. I then had to find a new venue, which I did, that ran out of lager at 9.30 on the night causing a chunk of my guests to walk out.
So I’ve had a grievance with the place for a while but new people have it now and after nearly 20 years maybe it’s time to let go of that grudge. They want to have a beer festival at the club and have sought assistance from myself and another member of the Walsall CAMRA committee so I thought it was time to go in and introduce myself. I also had to point out that whilst I’ve worked many beer festivals I’ve never actually organised one so I wasn’t going to be much help. But I know people who can.
Anyway there was no ale on and when asked what I wanted I panicked and said Carling. Three of these later we found out that that Strongbow Dark Fruit was being sold off at £2.20 a pint. So we stayed “a bit” longer. Anyway the new landlady was very welcoming, telling us about upcoming singers and also the soon to be launched mid week carvery, which you can have at £2.95 if you buy a drink. Well there’s going to be no problem on that score for me. I really should have asked how much the carvery is after 8 drinks. The talk of food got me hungry so I had a £1 ham cob, which was one of the best ever.
On the Sunday I was meeting a group of mates at Wetherspoons for a few beers before meeting up again with Dave to visit more pubs in the name of blog material hunting. I was one of the last to arrive at the Spoons so all the seats on the lads tables were full. I stood in between the two tables looking a bit awkward. Mase suggested that I sit on the wall, a suggestion that I politely declined. I may look like Humpty Dumpty, doesn’t mean I want to recreate his work.
I like the ale in St Matthews Hall but in these strange times it feels naughty to go and look at what’s on offer. Back on the Dark Fruits then. Certainly getting my five a day in of late. The lads on one table were worried about the gathering of pigeons up above and possible deposits from them so when another table became available we dived on it. Mase took up his offer of wall sitting himself and I plonked myself down on the bench. Everyone’s happy. Apart from the member of staff who then came and told him off. After another couple of pints, it was time to go and meet Dave.
Dave was in The Tap & Tanner. Decent pub this and I always enjoy going. The music was good and mixed until they decided on a bit of banter and played Red Red Wine by UB40, a truly dreadful song that only normally gets played at last orders when the staff want to clear the room and go home. I wondered if I’d missed an announcement from Boris that a new Sunday evening 18.41 curfew was happening. After this I think they staff knew they’d gone too far so they played some Katy Perry to make up for it. and it went down a storm.
Next up was The Watering Trough where a warning about using the garden was in effect. We risked it. A pleasant pint was had here but the it was time for a last one.
Last call was the The Wheatsheaf. This has new new people running it after the old new people left after about a month. A very pleasant pint was had in here along with a great cheeseburger. There was a live music in the garden and a real buzz about the place. This is good as it’s the closest pub to my house and I really should use it more. Which funnily enough, I will be doing later.
On Friday I met my mate Andrew in Bilston after work so we could get a taxi to Walsall in search of liquid goodness. We opted for a pint before ordering the taxi so we headed to the The Trumpet. I thought it didn’t open until 7pm but as we approached, the door was reassuringly open. This was a false dawn though as the door inside had a sign on it telling us to go round the back. So we wandered round the back and settled in the garden, which I had no idea existed. We had a Guinness and a Golden Glow and it was mentioned how we had the same style of drinks as Duffy and Joe in Early Doors. We spent a few minutes discussing that great show until being interrupted by an eager raffle ticket seller. I tried telling her that we weren’t staying long but it was like pissing in the wind while it’s blowing a gale so I accepted defeat and handed over a pound. It’s very much a live jazz pub and instruments were being set up but we left before they started. It would have been nice to hear some as jazz to me only comes in magazine form.
After a pint in Bilston Wetherspoons we grabbed an Uber to Walsall and headed for Bar 10. After being shouted at a couple of times by the barman we signed in and sat down. We had an expensive round served in flimsy plastic glasses so moved on to The Oak Inn, now accompanied by our mutual friend Comedy Dave. I like this pub but the last time I went in it was a very rare bad pub visit. I was with Craig that time and we were told we couldn’t both go on the quiz machine, they didn’t give the usual friendly welcome and everyone was sitting there in total silence. We opted not to go on quizzer as a soloists, although had one of us gone on it, it would have been Craig. He went on 15 To 1 and got to the grand final whilst I got Barnsley and Burnley mixed up on short lived ITV Sport Channel quiz show Do I Not Know That?
Anyway this time the pub was back on form. Good music on the juke box and a sing song of Remember You’re A Womble from one corner (not ours).
From there we went to The Tap And Tanner. This pub usually has bouncers on of a weekend but it’s usually just a nod and an “alright”. This time it was proper football ground style security checks. It was like Brighton away in 2009 when my mate John-Paul got his balls squeezed during a very vigorous frisking from a steward. Still it inspired a new style Prince lyric. “Tonight were getting frisked like it’s Brighton 2009”.
We rounded the night off with a couple of hours in St Matthews Hall, the highlight of which was a bizarre telling off for sitting at an empty table. We opted not to contest our eviction from the table so there was no need for the lads from Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away to get involved.
So a good few pub visits. Let’s hope June 21st happens and we can get rid of these bizarre regulations that continue to hold pubs back. Death figures are right down and when did you last hear of the Annie Nightingale hospitals on the news? Come on Boris. Let’s get ordering at the bar and mask free pissing back in our lives.