Of course, the whole point of this day (in Shirley) was to beat Martin, SI and Duncan to a GBG entry and I think I might just have done it on this occasion.“.

Thus spake Zarathustra Life After Football in June, and he was right. I hadn’t been to Shirley since 2008 and this classic flat roofed boozer.

Only now do I find I missed Doom Bar at the Red Lion. Life is cruel, as Prefab Sprout once sang on missing out on Federation Bitter at the Dun Cow.

In surveys, only 0.18% of the population could place Shirley within 370 miles of its correct location on the map, which should tell you a lot about the worth of our famed education system. Give 16 year olds a copy of the Good Beer Guide and watch their geographical knowledge bloom.

The interesting thing about the map of the Shirley boundary is the presence of small areas (two just below “Shirley”, one west of “Stratford”) made by giant clearances from a cultured Birmingham City right back in the early ’90s. Small Heath subsequently laid claim to these parcels of land, on which micro pubs may be built in due course*.

Shirley always looked like a typical edge of city arterial road, packed with takeaways and cafes, perhaps akin to Edgware or Bexleyheath. The A34 is a sponsored attempt to squeeze every different chain pub and hotel into half a mile, and they almost pull it off.

As so often, I’m a big fan of the modernist Catholic church (no cask).

But it’s had a bit of a makeover of late, adding a pleasing shopping centre whose ethnic eateries ape but don’t actually steal from more established brands.

And here’s the craft bar, named after….no idea.

It was classy, in a BeerHeadZ sort of way,

and busy enough on a Thursday afternoon.

I like the styling, and the soundtrack (Springsteen’s “Better Days” an apt highlight) made a change from micropubs where you get stared at for rustling.

I had another hazy half (Pentrych, 3.5 +) and declare it the best beer in a Midlands micro in 2021. So far.

Not too sure about the seating though…

*You’re trying too hard Taylor – Ed.


  1. I believe the cultured clearances have morphed into Ale Hub Dickens Heath and Shirley and there is a covenant allowing one more after a huge sliced clearance in 89 landed in Hockley Heath!
    Top stuff and I always like your Midlands posts although planetearthisblue who comments on my Solihull posts informs me that the red lion is having a makeover and becoming a sports bar and grill… the pub world will never be the same again

    Liked by 1 person

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