Sorry for Black Country cliches, but they were all present and correct on Friday night. Friendly folk, cheap good quality beer and curry, “Noice”.
There were a couple of Beer Guide newbies to visit, but the real reason to visit was a new indoor skatepark for my son to tick off (ticking starts young).
We stayed in the tremendously wonky and old fashioned Talbot Hotel, as the town lacks any of the chain alternatives. It has real character, even if the bar is a bit lacking;
The town itself is nicely pedestrianised by the less attractive ringroad, and has a decent collection of civic buildings, as well as one of the most brutal 60s constructions anywhere (hard luck Greggs). The parish church looked superb in the evening.
Stourbridge, like New Mills, is handy for the hills – Clent, Kinver, Lickey. It seems to be creating a niche in the activities market as well. Besides the skatepark I spotted laser quest and go karting in the industrial complex, as well as some glassblowing heritage at the Glass Cone.
The pubs were bustling with drinkers of all ages. This may be a Friday night phenomenon, but it was propping up some high quality Enville (NBSS 3) in the Waggon & Horses, and even better Salopian (NBSS 3.5) in the Red Lion. Both pubs had noticeable modern extensions to increase capacity, and I was surprised to see there were bouncers in Amblecote.
Away fans from Hyde visiting the Glassboys today would have been spoilt for choice in the suburb of Amblecote, a Heaton Chapel of the Black Country.
Lye was just outside our reach, but Tropical Spice met my son’s critical standards for cheap curry, and staff there seemed more cheerful not serving drunks.