This JD Wetherspoon operated pub that I visited earlier on in the week isn’t listed in the Good Beer Guide (which is the reason I’d usually quickly write about it) but I just liked the building. Although the interior is relatively plain, the external facade has been maintained and is quite eye-catching. It is one of the earlier pubs owned by the chain, having opened in the late 1990s.
The building originally opened in September 1913 and was used by Willie Holt, a billiards player and table manufacturer, as a billiards hall which had as many as 23 full size tables inside. The local press reported on the planned opening:
“All West Bromwich will soon be talking of breaks and cannons, kisses and hazards. Today, people in West Bromwich are talking billiards; next week almost everybody will be playing billiards. There is going to be a big billiard boom when Willie Holt, the champion trick shot expert of the world, comes amongst us to open the new billiard hall.”
There were a few real ales available, I went for half a pint of Black Knight from Goffs Brewery and half a pint of Plum Porter from Titanic. The first might have been just a little on the turn, although acceptable and not near the stage that I’d need to return it. I feel slightly guilty for marking it down on Untappd as the brewery saw it and toasted the check-in, but I’m sure they’ll get over it. Titanic are one of my favourite breweries, so always a delight to have Plum Porter.
The pub had quite a vibrant atmosphere even at lunch-time, so I can imagine it must be quite, er, challenging on weekend evenings. Service was friendly though and the pub was relatively clean, although the interior could probably do with a refurbishment. JD Wetherspoon did have another pub on the outskirts of West Bromwich, the Moon Under Water, but this was sold off to Admiral Taverns and is now the Coach & Horses. Anyway, all perfectly acceptable and a comfortable environment, in a building that I think is quite memorable.