It’s time to tick off the Midlands.

I’m in Birmingham at this very moment, writing about finishing Warwickshire.

It’s never been a difficult county to complete, spared the ravages of micro fever that make Lancashire such a challenge.

And the four newbies this year were all a doddle to do once they re-opened. One in Nuneaton, one near Stratford and a couple in cocky Kenilworth, at last putting one over its more touristy neighbours.

A quick search on my site reveals ZERO posts on Kenilworth (you’ll be directed some good blogging on Luton Town though), and it must be a decade since I stepped out from the unusually smart station (which wasn’t opened till 2018).

The main shopping strip along the A452 is a bit traffic scarred, but that leaves the glories of the Old Town and castle (be patient !) unspoilt.

Some large chain pubs, the “better” supermarkets and a healthy number of curry houses, but probably not the town you’d come to for your woollen llamas.


My first target is the Ale Rooms, a name that sounds oddly familiar till I remember that ALL small bar names are a combination of a limited number of beery words.

Oh, it’s owned by the same folk as the place in Knowle, isn’t it. Figures, very similar demographics in Solihull.

I bet you can’t tell whether I’m going to like these places or not, can you ?

It depends entirely on the welcome and whether the two smartly dressed (compared to me) Old Boys respond to my attempts at conversation over a cool half of Hazy Semper (NBSS 3).

They do. The young guy at the bar (which reminds me, welcome to City, Jack Grealish) is loading up the Old Boy’s playlist.

What we looking forward to then, “We’ll Meet Again” ?” I offer.

Cheeky ! I’m not THAT old ! No, some Deep Purple..

Oooh, Black Night ?, Speed King ?”

He was impressed I don’t say “Smoke on the Water”, I think, and he entertains me with a story about Ritchie Blackmore who went out with his wife.

BEFORE you married her, I hope, that’s the best way” I said.

Lovely people, open all hours, and the soundtrack unexpectedly moved on to “Ca plane mour moi” as I headed to the park.


  1. I’ve had Kenilworth on my to-do list for a little while, and I really ought to go there before Luton Town move out of their stadium of the same name. Which gives me about three years, I reckon.

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      1. Kenilworth is worth a trip, more for the scenery than the beer perhaps. Some ancient pubs in the old town, Proper Job in the estate pub (Gauntlet) and I’m sure there’s a good backstreet boozer or two.


      2. Sharing with the franchise, as they’re usually referred to, was actually proposed 20 years or so ago. Our new ground is quite close to the railway station, a former borough council electricity generating facility called Power Court. What a great name for a football ground – hope we can produce football to match.

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      3. MK Dons is one of the few football clubs I actively loathe, along with Forest Green (vegan, up themselves) and the pure unadulterated evil that is Chester City.

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      4. It’s odd how some people find vegans threatening (see my post below Martin’s blog here: or “up themselves”. I don’t do any proselytising about vegetarianism (I stopped eating meat and fish more than 35 years ago) or veganism (I gradually cut out eggs, milk, butter, cream and yoghurt – and finally stopped eating cheese three months ago), but if people ask me I’ll tell them about why I am that way inclined. I hope no one thinks I am “up myself”!


      5. @Sheffieldhatter, l don’t feel remotely threatened by vegans/ vegetarians. People can eat what the hell they want as far as I’m concerned. I’m glad you don’t proselytise about it because this is my problem with many (not all) vegans and, in this context, Forest Green Rovers FC, in that they only sell vegan food at their ground. It’s academic to me, but I’m sure quite a few FGRFC fans would like a meat pie and a cup of Bovril at the game.


      6. I hadn’t picked up the Forest Green reference. Perhaps, like BRAPA taking his own food into the pub, you can take your own doner kebab into FGR. Incidentally, I reckon their ground is the most picturesquely located in the League.

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      7. @retiredmartin, I would hope you could take a nourishing carnivorous snack into FGRFC.
        I’ve racked my brain trying to think of a more picturesque ground but I can’t, not in league football anyway. Having said that I once went to see Newport County v Wantage Town at Moreton-in-Marsh’s ground in a FA Cup preliminary. Basically just a clearing in a wood. Like a football match out of Tolkien.


  2. Hi Martin – you seem to be bearing up remarkably well after trying out some of Beermat’s Bordesley recommendations! Haven’t made it to the Ale Rooms yet myself, although I’m sure one of my chief accomplices Nick has his eye on it as he’s very much a fan of the Knowle version. Definitely some good backstreet boozers in the Kenilworth area and the town is easier to get to now after the railway service was brought back in 2018 (might explain why the station seems so smart). Looking forward to your Brum posts! Cheers, Paul

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  3. My first GBG unequivocally stated that pubs in Kenilworth opened at 10 am, so I met a mate and at 9.55 and we rocked up at the first one. No sign of life, so we marched off to the second, muttering, “We’ll be back”; same there. And the next, and the next. In the next hour I did the most intense pubcrawl ever, ELEVEN PUBS IN AN HOUR!

    Finally found one just opening up and, to be fair, it was memorable because we got served a few minutes before 11, which I counted as getting ‘befores’ lol (anyone can get ‘afters’). All M&B, the odd Marstons and a lonely Ansells, if I recall. Happy days.

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      1. Oh every single one closed (just in case BRAPA thinks the GBG untrustworthiness is a recent phenomenon); deeply disappointing, not a drop passed our lips. Obviously the publicans had agreed amongst themselves that there was damn-all trade (even in serious proximity, 3 miles, to Warwick Uni) before 11, and no-one would defy the cartel – the swine!

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  4. “it must be a decade since I stepped out from the unusually smart station”

    So that’s the new station, which opened in 2018? Obviously it can’t be the old station, which closed in 1965.

    It only seems like a decade due to the past 18 months.

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