Into Warwickshire, always a joy (no, really) and a long-awaited return to That Nuneaton,


Back in 2016 it produced a memorable night of top quality beer and curry, but craft hasn’t quite taken hold as I predicted and the Longshoot Hotel hardly enticed me back.

There was a newbie near the suburb of Hartshill last year, but this time the Black Swan In Hand (BSIH) is mercifully close to the station and the cider trees.


Train station art speaks to the human condition
The source of gravity or something

The BSIH is apparently open from 10:00 to 01:00, which is longer than the entire annual opening hours for a certain GBG entry in St Helens, so I’ve time for culture.

A girl called George
Future dark beer micropub called in MildInMarch House

There’s history in Nuneaton; Larry Grayson lived here for goodness sake. But there’s also some brutalism of the highest order.


Today’s video was going to be of “meat pack man” but I deleted it, but you’ll get the idea.

“A whole leg Madam, that’s what you want for Christmas”

The BSIH is an odd mix of modernism and 60s social club.

Breaking all the rules

Formerly called Bilberries, which is how Bing Maps still regard it,

I can confidently predict this will be the BRAPA Pub of October 2037.


Amber Taverns run what I call value pubs in [roper places like Worksop and St Helens. They’d undercut Spoons in many towns, though Craft Union may have something to ay about that.

Packed at noon on Friday, and not a chip in sight, which always improves NBSS scores by 0.1 or so.

Oooh. Handled jug

The Doom Bar was off so I had to make do with a Marston’s Christmas beer.


Darn, I forgot to use my vouchers (because I haven’t got them yet).

So I had to pay a whopping £1.10 for a decent (NBSS 3) half of something that tasted close enough to Pedigree to convince me it was. I trust Marston’s will be complaining to CAMRA about the cheapening of cask.

It was worth £1.10 just to soak in the atmosphere of blokey pub.

Note indoor mob scooter

But you also get cutting edge music like “Bumpy Dance” and whatever this is;


Stuff your Christmas music, give us dance and cheap booze.

Pub life

YET another reason to include Nuneaton on your CAMRA bus trip in 2020, particularly if you live in Dundee.


30 thoughts on “NUNEATON’S £2.20 PINT

  1. Nice to see a place where ordinary people and OAPs can afford to meet and drink. I recently had the misfortune to spend four days in Crawley. The local Spoons was rammed at from morning to early evening. Places like this are hardly destination pubs, but they serve their purpose.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, Amber Taverns run “value pubs” and their new Hogarths two miles from me undercuts Tim’s Butlers Bell across the road. It’ll be £1.40 a pint with vouchers from next April – but as I keep hearing that cask beer should be more expensive maybe I should boycott it.


    1. But if you boycott it then hardworking family brewers like Jeremiah and Obadiah Marston’s will be denied the economies of scale they need to produce good value and consistent beers drunk by hardworking people rather than beer sippers photographed cradling half pints.


  3. How on earth does a “Session IPA” qualify as a Christmas beer? The pub looks great, though – can we have more of these and fewer micropubs and brewery taps?


    1. Christmas is whatever you want it to be, or nothing at all of course.

      Amber certainly have a winning formula and I suspect they care not one jot about being in the Beer Guide more widely.


  4. Hi Martin, Nuneaton was in the pipeline for my recent Festive Forage outing until the train strikes intervened (Digbeth was a more than acceptable contingency). You’ve convinced me that I need to try the BSIH asap, and I definitely want a closer look at that station art. I see the meat van took care of your obligatory mobility scooter photo, and I recommend the town’s library if you ever need an extra brutalism fix. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, thanks Paul, missed the library.

      It was 3 years since my previous visit to the centre when Lord Hop, Felix Holt and the Crown (RIP for now) were great.

      Horseshoes and Attleborough pubs also good.


  5. It will be a sad day when old boys in caps disappear from pubs -perhaps I should get Mr S kitted out -found an old cap that belongs to the lad that will do just fine !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good description. Now you tell me it was once Bilberries, which I am sure got a GBG listing once despite having no cask beer. Accidental Revisit Syndrome kicks in again. Amber Taverns have opened the new cask outlet in Paisley.


  7. I’ve noticed in this post and earlier ones your appreciation of brutalist architecture. Is it something you were always interested in, or was there a particular time/place/building that won you over?

    Modern art and modern architecture seem to be despised by so many people, in a way that goes beyond “it’s not my cup of tea” to the level of “it makes me shake with rage.” 😉


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