Barton Arms

The Barton Arms is a pub I pass every time I go into town. I’ve always been interested in it – it’s an absolutely beautiful building. It was built in 1901 and has some of the most beautiful tiles – several of which are claret and blue and have held the myth that the colours for Aston Villa were picked from the tiles in this pub (although it is more likely to be the other way round).

Now if you think the outside is beautiful…the inside is magnificent in comparison. It is full of original and charming features, and those that have had to have been replaced have been restored beautifully – it’s difficult to know what is and is not original in this pub. I love this pub, it reminds my very much of 1912 and it just reminds me of as chic Parisian cafe you’d find on the Titanic. Total elegance.  I have been a couple of times and sit underneath the beautiful stained glass window built into the wall (not it’s original place, it originally sat on the wall on the right which is out of shot of the photo).

Now, I’m going to have to be honest – the location of the pub is far from ideal. It is a bit of an area which is renowned for being rough and even dangerous. It is something that put me off going for a long time. Me and my Mum finally decided to give it a try, because we always read good reviews about it in the paper. We went once and we’ve gone back several times since. The food is simply wonderful. I really enjoy it. It’s so fresh and tasty. Below is some pictures from our latest trip to the pub last week.




Vegetarian sharing platter for two.


Tofu Pad Thai in front, with noodles and Crispy Shredded Beef in the back.

If you’ve not been before, you absolutely have to give it a go. If you want to make a really good evening out of it, I recommend going to the Taste and Tour evening, which you can find on their website. It usually takes place the first Monday on the month – but has been so popular that it has been run twice a month. For £19.95, you get a talk, tour and a two course meal (excluding drinks). Another option is to go on a Tuesday as it’s two courses for £10.

The Old Joint Stock

The Old Joint Stock is a fairly central pub located within the heart of Birmingham. It’s opposite St. Philip’s Cathedral and is about a five minute walk from the Bullring and Grand Central.

It was built in 1864 and was originally designed to be a library. It was later required by the Birmingham Joint Stock Bank, which was were the name of the pub comes from. When the Birmingham Joint Stock Company merged with Llyods Bank in 1889, the building then became a Lloyd’s bank.

It became a pub in 1997, it has a very impressive oval bar which is the focal point of the room. Despite being convert into a pub the building still retains a lot of traditional features and the building feels substitutional and traditional. It doesn’t feel like a modern overly glass and minimalist pub, that lacks a certain charm. This pub has charm in buckets.

The downside to this pub is that it is popular, which is great – but I’m not one for standing in busy grounded pubs. I have been a couple of time on a Saturday afternoon and it is busy but still comfortable enough to move and there is options to find tables.

I’ve not eaten here in a long time, so I cannot comment on the food. When I went several years ago to eat the food was very nice and reasonably priced. It felt less mass produced as some pubs, such as Sizzling pubs. However, pubs do change with different chefs so it is difficult to comment.

Since 2006 the pub has also being a theatre. I have yet to experience it, whenever I have looked nothing has really taken my fancy. I wish I could remember to look more so I could see if there is anything upcoming that I would like to go and see. You can find out about performances here.

The Fiddle and Bone

The Fiddle and Bone forms part of the Round House and is located on Sheepcote Street, just off Broad Street.

It’s a fantastic historical building located next to the canal and has beautiful outside tables so you can enjoy the outdoor atmosphere, although it is getting a little too cold to do that right now.

The food is excellent however at over £11 for a Sunday Roast dinner (vegetarian option is not available on the menu but you can have a meat free one at the same price as a meat one). Whilst the food is lovely and well cooked I think the portion size for the price is not fair able and I still felt hungry after my main meal (and I’m not a big eater). I would have eaten a pudding as well but the venue was just too over price and I didn’t feel like spending more for a pudding because my meal did not satisfy me.

The venue’s best selling feature however is the upstairs music venue which plays live music every Friday and Saturday evening and every Sunday afternoon. It’s an eclectic mix of different styles and bands and there is something to suit everyone. So I really recommend checking out their website and find something that takes your fancy.

I think this is a fantastic reuse of an historic building…which dates back to 1769 and was constructed by James Brindley. It first appeared on an O.S. map in 1887. This venue was once closed overnight because of complaints of noise by nearby residents. I even heard a story that empty glasses were left on the tables for years before it was allowed to reopen. I am glad it’s still around and I look forward to the next time I attend, although probably not for food.

Hen and Chickens

I’ve walked past this pub many times but I’ve never actually walked in before. I always assumed it was just a drinking pub where people could go and watch sports…and it is. This is not a fancy restaurant. It’s a loud pub where people go to watch sports and cheer. In fact if you’re not into sports it can be a bit off putting especially as people get loud cheering over sport. It’s not a comfortable, relaxing venue where you can sit and relax over food..HOWEVER, saying that it I would really recommend giving it a try. This pub serves Indian food and it would be exactly how I imagined Indian pub food to be. It has a limited menu but covers the basics…poppadoms, samosas, mix grills, various different curries as well as sides of rice, naan and chips. The menu is limited, but surprisingly they have a good variety of vegetarian options.

I’ve been twice and had the Chili paneer both times – this stuff is amazing. It’s £7 which seems quite pricey, but the portion is enough for two and combine that with chips and maybe a naan. You have a very reasonably priced – filling meal. The first time I had the chilli paneer was the day after I’d gone raw vegan for a day. I had never enjoyed cheese as much as I did with the chilli paneer. The second time was just as good as well.

Yes the venue isn’t the grandest or the quietest but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the food and I really would recommend going – just maybe try to go on a day that has no football, cricket or rugby!