You can bank on Stourbridge. Another year, another excellent new GBG entry to add to the classic Batham’s pubs in the town’s suburbs. Perhaps it lacks an absolute classic like the Cooper’s or Great Western, but I can’t think of many towns with the same consistency. Just pray it doesn’t get completely overrun by brewery taps.
I feel like I’ve done the town to death, but here’s the sturdy town hall, anyway.
I must have walked past the Old Bank a dozen times the last few years, never once seeing a place with Guide potential. What Duncan, Simon and I need is something on the CAMRA Dark Web to tell us about these definite pre-emptives before they’re even opened.
Now, it all looks so obvious. Beautifully refurbished, spacious and inviting with proper seating, a range of well-kept local beers, and craft gin and prosecco to bring in the sophisticates. Plusa pool table in the middle. How can it fail ?
It really can’t, even if it feels a lot like the Red House Boutique down the High Street.
Showing rare common sense, they’ve even scaled down food operations to focus on pub grub, including some authentic looking £2 cobs/baps/rolls which I resisted.
I also resisted the lure of the Wye Valley, seen more often round here than Doom Bar, and had the Enville Ale from up the road.
Lovely cool rich beer, an easy NBSS 3.5, even if I don’t like honey in my beer (whither Waggledance ?). Heart FM were playing Ariana Grande’s song about multiple pubgoing, and all was well with the world (or at least the Black Country).
By 11.30 in the morning there were eight folk in, all in couples, Old Boys and Young lasses. It was like a Spoons without the mixed grills and detritus.
Even served me a half in a branded glass, and what lovely branding too.