Reader “Dave” asks if all these highlights posts are for recommended places.

Of course they are, Dave. Except this one.

Solihull is a marginal entry, I thought. That was before LifeAfterFootball began a lone crusade to present the borough the town as the “Stockport of the Midlands”.

Carling stronghold

The GBG suggests the local CAMRAs aren’t convinced, but as we all know they hate Fun. And Proper Beer.

Search for the Solihull entries. Go on.

In fact, spend a day enjoying the glorious east Brum,

Villa Park marked for context

and you’ll be convinced they only drink these (and Purity).

All you need, says Stirchley Pete


Here’s the highlights from my epic 2018 walk that at least keep Solihull above Maidenhead on my UK Town League Ladders (I’m using the ones from 1980 Shoot ! for this purpose).

The Heritage Walk waymarkers are themselves heritage.

Brutalist underpass

Formerly a Blues stronghold, allegiances have long changed.

Go O’s

Solihull has a similar population and level of affluence to Cambridge, and like my own town has seen a Craft beer revolution of late;

Punk IPA on the top shelf

You wouldn’t guess it’s the most affluent part of the West Midlands from the brutalist centre,

Modelled on Coventry

but the indoor shopping centre is the smartest I’ve been to in the UK. And I’ve been to Wigan.

Rumours of a new Joules pubs had raised false hopes for a pre-emptive tick.

Also modelled on Coventry

Zero GBG entries when I visited, just an edge of town Ember on the App.


But “Respected” chain pubs there were many. Spoons, O’Neill’s, Walkabout, Yates, Hogshead/Stonegate, Slug & Lettuce – a full house.  The places offering a Josper grill and Purity to smartly dressed folk with John Lewis bags.

I recommend wrapchic for your lunch though.


For beer, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, you can’t beat the evil Embers.

A mile north the Olton Tavern (top) has that 4pm buzz you normally get in South-east London. 4pm in a busy suburban pub really can be the Golden Hour. Few diners, tradesmen, Professional Drinkers, mums and toddlers.  Pub life.

Proper beer ranges, too.

3.5 for the Pedi

And Solihull does the micropub better than most.

In Olton the Pup & Duckling was a cracker.


Of course, I don’t go in pubs for beer. I only had to wait 5 minutes for the arrival of the two Brum pub regulars, dog walking couple and Hi-Vis jacket man.  They all said “Hi

Oh, it’s gotta be that Cootch, hasn’t it

While I contemplated my Cwtch, the big dog licked his doggie biscuits off the table in front of me. I guess it could have been worse.

But where’s the posh Solihull ?” you ask.

That’ll be Knowle, then.

Even the micropub in Knowle leads with Holden’s. You can tell it’s posh; they get the apostrophe in the right place.



  1. “that at least keep Solihull above Maidenhead” –I hope this means “well above Maidenhead,” because if it’s “just one notch above Maidenhead” then Solihull’s in trouble!

    Interesting (to me, at least) that among the beers seen stacked up in the window of that shop, Carling is the only one you can’t find in the USA. It would seem the Carling people never attempted to build up a presence over here– can’t blame them though, that corner of the marketplace must be crowded indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Solihull isn’t a place that I visit often for drinking…it’s a bit out of the way for me and, as you’ve identified, it isn’t a stellar drinking destination!
    The Olton Tavern is the last pub I visited to do my last pub quiz of the year so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete,
      “it’s a bit out of the way for me”.
      I thought Solihull was within a mile of the Grand Union Canal – and then realised that if Birmingham has more canals than Venice then many places in Birmingham must be much less than a mile from a canal..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Unfortunately, the stretch of canal that skirts by Solihull is one of my least favourite parts of the whole system! From Camp Hill Locks (in Birmingham) to Catherine-de-Barnes the canal is mostly hidden away in a tree lined cutting and there are no canalside pubs, in fact, little sign of civilisation at all! The main cutting is tree lined and looks quite attractive, but when on a boat you are a target for the many stone-throwing kids that seem to line that particular stretch. One day I felt the wind of a stone flying by as it narrowly missed my eyebrow – I looked up to see a blue-shirted youth running off through the trees!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pete,
        I think I once heard that the canal “skirts by Solihull” because the direct route of a tunnel underneath it would have been too expensive.


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