I had a few beers with West Brom’s pub expert (and only Arsenal bondholder) in Wolverhampton, as you do. The company was first-rate, the pub staff and customers were cheery, and the beer was good to excellent. Only a failure to remember to eat the faggots and grey paes soured the afternoon later.
The city has been a bit staid pub wise over the years, with HogsHeads, Wetherspoons, Gooses and Ember Inns filling out the Beer Guide allocation over the years. On a week night last month I was impressed with newcomers Slaters and Dog and Doublet, and we started our session at the urban Tap for Eccleshall’s finest.
In Slaters the cask was OK (NBSS 3), but a range of ten cask and as many keg beers looked ambitious. Nevertheless it’s an attractive modern bar, and if choice is really what’s important to drinkers, this is the place. The customer service was spot on.
The Dog and Doublet was again the star for beer quality. No Bathams this time, but the Six Bells Owdo (no doubt pronounced OwDough) was superb (NBSS 4). I should have had the 6.5% Dancing Duck stout though. Cheerful and characterful, though with little progress on the toilet block yet.
It’s a few years since I was in the Posada, the most attractive town pub. It’s a Punch place, but the beer range sensibly sticks to Black Country favourites like Ma Pardoes and Salopian, whose Lemon Dream was decent enough (NBSS 3).
This was a particularly relaxing pub, with plenty of discrete drinking areas. I’d compare it with Stockport’s Swan with Two Necks, another refuge from shopping with a similar pace to it. Brewdog was advertised, seemingly only in bottles. Folk were drinking pints here though.
We couldn’t resist the Great Western, the most famous pub in Wolves and with just the one free table. This ought to be in my Top 100, but I’d like to be convinced that the beer quality is consistently good enough for that.
As a Holdens pub, I insist on ordering Holdens Bitter (NBSS 3) here, which may not be the best option with Bathams on the bar. Our West Brom correspondent knows his Bathams.
If you were constructing your ideal pub, the Great Western would meet most of your criteria. Multi-roomed, largely unimproved, proper seating, no impediments to chat, well-kept local beers, simple food. A lot of very similar looking pale beers mind, and fairly similar looking customers.
The fact I prefer the Dog and Doublet (again) may say more about my ideals than yours.