I regularly get asked what the best pub(s) are, generally be people who have no intention of ever going in a pub, let alone one outside Cambridge. I always reply “The Dead Poets Inn in Holbrook”, without qualification, so as to appear authoritative on the matter. The truth is, great pubs need to be revisited fairly regularly to test their greatness, as both atmosphere and beer quality can vary, although first impressions are generally correct.
So I’ve decided to add the pubs I’ve been impressed by over the year to this blog, as I revisit them. I may nominate a favourite, even if it isn’t the Dead Poets (4 years since last visit).
First up is the flagship for Black Country Ales (BCA), a pub I fell for when chancing on it just after it opened six years ago. Despite a beer range I’d think overambitious normally, the quality of the BCA and interesting guests was exceptional, as it again was this week. Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch looked and tasted as good as in Cardiff. What makes this a great pub though is the range of customers, and the way the gorgeous interior can accommodate the boisterous boozer and the Times reader equally comfortably.
Food isn’t vital to a great pub, but I rate the Black Country specials very highly, particularly the faggots and black peas & bacon dishes. The eating areas are unpretentiously smart, and integrate well with the rest of the pub.
On four visits now at different times, it’s always been busy enough – I would like to visit on a Friday night to compare the atmosphere.
Probably in my Top 10 pubs.