Day 3 of my 4 day Midlands tickathon ended in east Birmingham, with a gig, a pub and a Chinese takeaway.  I know how to live.


Cheapest room was in the Ibis Budget, that probably wanted more to park than to stay, so I dumped my Aygo in industrial Balsall Heath and walked.


Just round that corner is the Old Moseley Arms, which would have made a good pre-gig pint stop.

View from Balsall Heath

Instead I took the Victorian trail, which is a bit gorgeous.

Second class men

Suddenly you’re in industrial Digbeth, which is a different sort of treat.

Look what Zeb out of Dexy’s Midnight Runners is doing now

You really need a local expert like BeerMat to guide you to the best rough boozers in Digbeth.

No idea what’s in here

Instead, I found myself popping into Irish pub extraordinaire the Lamp Tavern, a return visit after a mere 22 years.

Spot the black pudding
Great seating

It had life, it had characters, it had little pots of complimentary black pudding and cheese.

And it had Hobsons Mild.  After 3 days of drinking Wye Valley in Hobsons glasses I owed our Cleobury Mortimer chums a bit of custom.

Just spotted the shandy Bass sign

Our Irish landlord looked familiar from that 1997 visit, and I found out later he’d just won Brum’s Pub of the Year, hence a large CAMRA commitment (I can tell ’em a mile off, they were comparing Spoons vouchers).

3.2% ABV, 3.5 NBSS

A wonderful pub, oddly missed off our Digbeth pub crawl back in July.

The Castle & Falcon is unashamedly a live music venue with lesser CAMRA ambitions.


Julia Jacklin had been exploring the garage next door before the gig (Aussies don’t do pubs) and trying to find out what Brum is famous for.

I should have shouted out “Irish pubs, Pete Allen and Balti” of course, but instead 200 blokes screamed “Block Sabboff”.

The gig in Borough last year was astonishing; this was better.  Two old colleagues from NHS days turned up and we never mentioned the NHS or B****t, just Julia’s remarkable set.


I really should have had a curry in the Balti Triangle to conclude the evening, but how can you resist this lil fella ?


New Little Kitchen’s Singapore rice was OK, no more, or less. Bridlington set a high bar.

Brum looked marvellous, though.






  1. It says something about how architectural standards have changed that the doorway to the Men’s Bath Second Class is more grandiose-looking than any doorway that’s been built anywhere on earth in the last 50 years. 😉

    I do love the idea of little pots of complimentary black pudding and cheese. Did you have a taste?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, and the Men’s Bath Second Class ( with a healthy buddleia growing from the roof ) isn’t Grade I listed but Coventry Cathedral is – it just doesn’t make sense.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well it’s lost on me then.
        Mrs TSM was in Coventry a few days ago and returned saying what a terrible place it is and I had to agree with her.


  2. Well, well – a blog post where I’ve been in ALL of the pubs pictured! (but not for about 20 years!)

    The Fountain, as we quickly discovered is a gay pub, which probably accounts for its survival on the corner of a block where all the other buildings were knocked down years ago (apart from the British Oak on another corner). It will be interesting to see how the new building work transforms the culture of the area.

    The last time I was in the Lamp Tavern was to see a work colleague perform in a band. His name is Dan Bode, he’s from Cleveland and here’s a YouTube clip of him performing with his regular band Moko Bovo – he’s the singer and has an amazing voice. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkFMzY_EvCw It is a pub that I featured some time ago https://pubsthenandnow.blogspot.com/2011/09/014-lamp-tavern-highgate-1998-to-2011.html

    Finally, it was the Ceol Castle when I went to see Australian band The Waifs there in the late 1990’s. I think I may have been back once since then, but still over 20 years ago!

    At least you got to see (and record) parts of Brum that rarely appear on the tourist trails! As the pubs are a bit out of the way they rely on a loyal trade and by each catering foir a different niche market.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s marked as Ceol Castle on my map, so switch to Castle & Falcon may be recent name change.

      You’ve made a good point about how isolated those pubs are. I’d forgotten how far from the rest the Old Moseley Arms is.


      1. Hi Martin, always look forward to your posts from the West Midlands area. The Lamp Tavern seems a real survivor to me, tucked away on a grim industrial backstreet with some appealing Stanway branding. Eddie is an absolute gent as well. Brum has some wonderful municipal bath/library buildings, sadly not all of them still in public use. That Balsall Heath one is a particular gem and I also like the one in Stirchley.
        The Ceol Castle change of name is a relatively recent one (late 2017/early 2018 I think) – apparently when doing work on the building they uncovered the old sign for the Castle & Falcon thus reverting back to a previous title. Cheers, Paul

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks Paul. I go to gigs at Hare & Hounds occasionally and had never heard of Castle & Falcon before, seemed a busy venue.

        There’s more survivors in Digbeth and Highgate than you’d guess. Not all cask of course.


  3. So we’ve found ourselves occupying a million dollar house in Mexico for a week.
    Bit of a surprise really.
    I’d explain more but I haven’t slept for two nights and since that pint of Punk IPA at LHR on Wednesday morning there have been eight G&T’s,three bottles of red wine,15-20 margaritas,half a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label,a bottle of Mexican craft beer called Lasscivia,( seeing as this is a beer blog)and five brandies and coke.
    It involves a home exchange website but we think they’re probably drug dealers.
    Nice people though.
    The place is called San Miguel de Allende and I really like it a lot.
    Cheap as chips too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a post! Terrific stuff 👍 I’ve not been to the Lamp for a couple of years but Eddie is great value and always has (a) great beer (b) the racing on the TV on and (c) a healthy local contingent of old school Brummies either singing, telling jokes, drinking heavily or all of the above! About time it was recognised…lots of great old and new boozers in digbeth…never been to castle and falcoln in any guise but anywhere in that part of town that’s surviving/ thriving must be worth a visit 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pubs with racing on TV are rarely rubbish ! I think the Lamp has been a Beer Guide fixture for as long as I’ve been “doing” the GBG. But I couldn’t easily give you directions to it, it’s stuck under “Highgate” and gets a bot taken for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

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