The Loggerheads

The Loggerheads, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1UG

Originally called the Shrewsbury Arms, this is a remarkable survivor of the old-school, unassuming town pubs of a bygone age, tucked away just off the town centre on a narrow cobbled street running between two churches. Inside there are four small rooms – a lounge on the right with a parquet floor, a small front bar, a rear snug rather lacking in natural lighting, and best of all the room on the left separated from the corridor by wooden screens and featuring ancient scrubbed-top tables. This was men-only until the mid-1970s.

A Bass pub in the 1970s, it was later taken over by Banks’s who then metamorphosed into Marston’s. For a long time Draught Bass continued to be sold, which always seemed particularly appropriate for this pub, but the beer range is now limited to five or six from the Marston’s stable. The current licensees offer a speciality sausage menu, but it’s basically a drink and chat pub rather than an eaterie. The pub’s website can be seen here.

The Great Western

The Great Western, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire WV10 0DJ

Tucked away in an unpromising location behind the station, this pub was taken over a couple of decades ago by Holden’s Brewery and has since thrived under their ownership. It offers the full range of their beers plus the superb Batham’s Best Bitter and three guests.

The interior comprises a classic, bustling front bar, a snug to the right, a long lounge area to the left with bench seating along one wall, a conservatory dining area at the rear with separate tables and a south-facing beer garden which can be a surprising sun-trap. Unusually for a pub in such an urban location, it has its own sizeable car park. A range of straightforward meals is served at lunchtimes. The entire pub is, not surprisingly, packed with railway memorabilia.

It seems busy throughout the day with a wide variety of customers, although with something of a bias towards an older male clientele. Once stranded amongst post-industrial dereliction, the surrounding area has more recently seen extensive housing development which hopefully will provide a supply of future customers.

The Bird in Hand

The Bird in Hand, Mobberley, Cheshire WA16 7BW

Another classic Cheshire Sam Smith’s pub, in this case in prosperous Mobberley. Despite this, it still offers Sams’ usual bargain beer prices. It’s a long, low, attractive, whitewashed building, with four distinct rooms along the front, featuring extensive wood-backed fixed seating and real fires. The room furthest along from the door has a dartboard and in effect functions as a vault. The gents’ are still in their original tiled finery. The usual Sams’ menu of plain food is on offer, but is not allowed to dominate.