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The Stirrer’s Pub Crawls

HALL GREEN

08-02-2010

Just when you thought that it was impossible to manage a full-on crawl in the Brummie ‘burbs, here’s a heartwarming tales of (mostly) busy boozers.

Maybe I’m guilty of stereotyping here, but Hall Green’s survival as a viable drinking quarter surely owes something to its history as the posh suburb of choice for Irish immigrants who’d initially settled in Digbeth and Small Heath.

At least one of the pub names betrays the celtic connection, but others have plaques and mirrors celebrating the old country; although there is a growing Asian influence in the area too – also reflected in its pub culture.

Suffice to say, Hall Green holds its own as one of Brum’s best crawl destinations – although your final destination would ideally be chosen from pubs one and two.

1) Behan’s (Highfield Road)

Friendly and busy pub with live Irish music close to Yardley Wood railway station. Previously known as The Sherwood, with a bit of a dodgy reputation, but has successfully re-invented itself as a community boozer. Good place to end a crawl, rather than start one.

2) Bulls Head (Stratford Road)

Blimey, I haven’t been here since the late 90s when Solihull Borough played a First Round FA Cup tie against Darlingon at the nearby Moorlands. It’s made big strides since then – in fact, I can’t remember seeing a suburban pub this busy in Brum for years. Plenty of lads and lasses on the pull, but loads of older drinkers too. There’s nothing obviously remarkable about this brightly lit barn, but it’s obviously a real focal point for the local community. Warm and welcoming, it’s well worth a return journey.

3) The Horseshoe (Stratford Road)

Fancies itself a bit – as evidenced by the mildly intimidating bouncers who waited until we'd got our round in and sat down before getting around to telling my two mates to take off their hoodies (not that their hoods were pulled over their heads, you understand, just attached to their jackets). There’s an Indian restaurant on the premises, and a large back room, favoured by a trendy young Asian clientele. For all its intimate (ie dark) lighting this place lacked warmth and atmosphere – tries hard, but doesn’t quite make it.

4) The York (York Road)

Big, rather lacklustre, estate pub, handy for the dog track. Nowt wrong with it, but no reason to rush back.

5) The Maggies (Shirley Road)

The plaque at the front tells you that this art deco classic was modeled – like its sister pub The Baldwin – on the Queen Mary cruise liner, launched in 1938. Musically, the duo blaring out in the lounge mine a different era, choosing to major on 50s rock n’ roll. The live music shows they are making an effort, as does the cobs behind the bar, and varied selection of snacks. The menu suggests they offer a good, traditional Sunday roast, too. Vast bar offers pool and big screens.

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