A few weeks ago myself and a mate were going to do a Walsall Wood pub crawl but he cancelled so we said we’d do it in January. Then I saw on the Brownhills Bob Facebook page that The Black Cock Inn was closing for good on the 2nd of January. This bought a new sense of urgency to the mission so I mentioned it to another mate Sean and within 3 days we were jumping on the number 10 bus.
Walsall Wood is pretty much a straight road from Walsall Town Centre, the Romans must be very impressed and it’s about 15 minutes on the bus.
Sean had sorted out the route and times of pub openings, but I have been stung by the latter on Google before and as we we entered The Royal Exchange we were the first customers but glad it was open at just 20 minutes past midday on a Thursday afternoon.
The jukebox was off and the pub was very quiet but then my mate Madels turned up and his manic laugh broke the silence. We had a very pleasant pint in here and a good chat but then the jukebox kicked into life and it played UB40 so we moved on. Before we departed there was a toilet visit. Sean and I approached the hand driers at the same time and his kicked into life as mine remained dormant. After he walked away I realised I was trying to dry my hands beneath a paper towel dispenser. I must check if I still qualify for free eye tests when I’m back at work.
Next up was the Brickmakers Arms. I’m not sure if they were doing their bit for the planet but none of the main lights were on. The only sources of light came from festive ones running around the place, sporadic lamps and the spotlights embedded in the top of the bar. There were a few folk in along with one or two dogs (I couldn’t quite work out if it was the same dog or not but it did seem to be getting round the pub very quickly so it may been two of them). There were a few folk in and and a good atmosphere.
Pub 3 was The Drunken Duck. This is my favourite and most visited pub in the area, it’s always been a cracking time. We were letting fellow blogger Chris and his wife Mary. A great couple and Chris has really helped get my blog out to a wider and I’ll always be appreciative for that. His blog can be found here https://www.piglet-net.net/pigblog/
The car park was rammed, so it was no surprise to see the pub was busy inside. On a previous visit in 2015 with @blackpooljane, we walked unexpectedly into a full on Sunday afternoon rave complete with a smoke machine, lasers. l half expected Jane to walk straight back out but she loved it and it was her idea to break pub challenge rules and stay for a second drink. The free sausages and fire alarm going off added to that occasion but this visit was more low key but still enjoyable.
It was Black Cock time. Unfortunately the door was closed, a chain across the car park entrance didn’t offer much hope, but through a slightly open curtain we could see the drink signs still illuminated so we hoped it might be opening later on (it was still only 3.20pm).
We decided to head to The Horse & Jockey.
This had been planned as just a quick pint and move on kind of visit as to me it is a very foody pub and not quite my scene but when we walked in it was mostly people drinking and chatting. A good start.
The card machine was playing up so as Sean tried to pay for the round, I had a little mooch round. It’s certainly different to how I remember it. The decor is good and there is both Walsall Football and Rugby Clubs are represented. There was also a poster claiming that Christmas starts on November 22nd. Hmmm. Not for me. I get into the Christmas spirit around the 23rd of December and not a minute before. My big money making idea for this Christmas is Advent Calendars with just 2 or 3 doors on for miserable sods like me.
Anyway we found a table next to a family who were the only ones dining in the building. I told Sean an anecdote about a time about 10 years ago that Madels and myself made a pact that we would finish work and head straight to The Wharf Bar for outside drinks. We got there and it was tipping down, but stuck to our plan as it was what we’d agreed.
As I finished this tale the lady on the next table mentioned that her daughter had asked if we were The 3 Wise Men but having heard about us sitting in the rain drinking she’d had to conclude that we were not wise men (bit harsh that Sean got tarred with this same brush). My mind immediately flashed to a 90’s copy of Viz in which Roger Irrelevant was playing one of the Wise Men in a Nativity but turned up with a roll of lino instead of Myrrh. I do have a roll of lino that I bought in 2019 for my kitchen that I haven’t laid yet so I could have pulled this off, and anyone who knows would say I’m more Roger Irrelevant than Wise Man so it would have been good.
Anyway we had a laugh at her comment and a nice chat and then her partner returned to the table and said he recognised me from Walsall FC matches years ago so it was a nice interlude. A really good visit.
Then it was Boatmans Rest. Good to see this open as it was earmarked for demolition a few years ago but the plans were turned down. It’s now a Desi pub and this was confirmed as soon as we opened the car door as the amazing smell emanating from the place hit me straight away. My nose was in the air like a 1980’s Bisto advert.
There is a plaque by the front door with an emergency contact number. I made a note of it for future reference. “Hello, I know it’s 4am and you’re closed but this is an emergency. I need a pint and some chicken wings please”. We headed inside. It’s very smartly decked out and the roaring fire was very welcoming.
Sean tried to call The Black Cock as it was now after 4 but the number was unavailable. A gent on the next table heard our conversation and gave the grave news that it had already closed down. Sad to lose such a great iconic pub.
After a few more silly discussions we bid Madels farewell. Sean and I decided to have one more pint before the bus and as English Cricket fans we thought The Duck was topical so we headed back there. It was still very busy but now there were free mince pies and a kind of Ferrero Rocher selection box on the bar. Nobody had touched them. I find mince pies evil but I happily grabbed a chocolate. Ambassador you are spoiling us and all that.
We grabbed a table and had a another pleasant pint. I like all kind of pubs but this place is very much a me pub. I’d use it all the time if I lived nearer but I have promised Chris and Mary another and hopefully longer visit soon.
We were still in a topical mood and with the PDSA darts on at the moment we opted for the 5.01pm bus back. We had a visit to The Tap & Tanner to round off a splendid day.
Walsall Wood, I’ll be back.