BIRMINGHAM’S BEST BEER GARDENS by RichardMcComb.com
THE LORD CLIFDEN
Hockley, B18 6AA
Tel: 0121 523 7515
“We noticed the influx of Euro beers and changes in customer tastes so we drafted a number of new beers to the bar. From traditional lagers – Carling, Carling Premier – to the premium European beers – Vedett, Estrella, Duvel, Kirin Ichiban, Liefmans fruit beer and ‘our very own’ UAB Lager.
We were the first pub in Birmingham to have Budvar Yeast on tap; now offering Budvar Original, Budvar Yeast, Budvar Dark and Budvar ‘half & half.'”
Cask ales from WYE Valley HPA & Bathams and guest ales that rotate daily. Also, Thatcher’s gold “frozen” cider.
Bottle beers: more than 40 bottles in the “Around the world in 40 bottles’” section – from traditional beers such as Corona and Bud to Sierra Nevada, Dos Equis, Beer Lao and Ashai.
Large main menu offering breakfast, lunch, lite-bites, starters, pub classics, main plates, chargrill, steak club, sides, Sunday roasts, vegetarian dishes and homemade desserts. “All food is freshly prepared using locally sourced produce.”
UAB burgers – New Yorker with beef and smoky bacon; Sombrero with Cajun chicken; Sloppy Joe, beef topped with chilli con carne. The special boards showcase experimental dishes, classics and homemade favourites.
A city getaway decked out in street art, vintage signage, greenery and a custom designed “post box” from local artist Temper.
The garden gives the sense of being away from the city while enjoying a bustling atmosphere.
There’s an outside bar; barbecue; ping-pong and football table; a new DJ booth for summer events including a jazz and beer festival.
There’s a large, sheltered area with heating, four TV screens for sports fans and the discoball. “We’re the one-stop shop for all live sport and music events.”
Plenty of seating with 14 benches and 16 tables.
Over-10s welcome for food between 12pm-3pm.
Allowed in the garden area but not the bar.
What’s The Lord Clifden’s beer garden song?
Talking Heads’ This Must Be the Place and Frankie Knuckles’ Your Love.
[On a personal note, I am very excited to see a DJ with possibly less hair than me. I don’t know who you are. But I know I just I love what you’re spinning. Feet don’t fail me now.]
THE SPOTTED DOG
Digbeth, B12 0NH
Tel: 0121 772 3822
Cask bitters: Jennings Cumberland, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Holden’s Golden Glow and anything brewed by the Rock and Roll Brewery, Digbeth.
Cask Mild: Holden’s, Rock and Roll Mild (occasionally). “Incidentally, mild is priced at £2.10 per pint and will stay at that price for ever.” Draught Guinness: Irish pub, so “always exceptionally good.”
Bottled beer: Lithuanian, Polish and Belgian. Also: Magner’s bottled cider (Pear, Berry, Original). Becks, Bud, Holsten, San Miguel, Crabbies.
None, generally, but we cater for pre-booked parties of up to 200 people.
“Generally regarded as one of the best in the country.”
Plants and ivy-covered walls; roof; gnomes; barbecue; PA system; free WiFi; big screen projector for TV, laptop or DVDs; go-karts; darts; Jenga; wooden Wendy house; piano; manneqins; working 78rpm gramophones.
Licensed for children of any age, without time restrictions, throughout the premises. “We do, however, expect them to be in the company of a parent or responsible adult at all times.”
Outside smoking policy
“After spending £50,000 on the bloody roof, I’m inclined to make it compulsory. Smoking is allowed throughout the garden area.”
Anything by Glenn Miller.
THE RED LION
95 Warstone Lane
Hockley, B18 6NG
Tel: 0121 233 9144
Four real ales including Bathams and Wye Valley Butty Bach and two guest beers.
Cider – Thatchers frozen Somerset cider; Rekorderlig strawberry and lime on draught; a real cider and perry always available.
Largers – Vedett; Estaminet; Budvar; Budvar Dark; Freedom larger/UAB organic English larger; Vedett White; Liefmans fruit beer.
“Proper pub food” prepared in house for meat lovers and vegetarians and weekly specials.
Breakfast including The Brummie (the full English with steak), scambled eggs and smoked salmon, egg and soldiers etc. Lunch – paninis, fish finger sarnies, jacket potaoes, wraps and toasties.
Wide selection of pub classics: faggots, fish and chips, slow roast pork belly, Barnsley lamb chops, steaks (six types), burgers etc.
Desserts – chocolate brownie, bread and butter pudding, treacle sponge. Sunday roasts – customers can pre-order their own joint for all the family.
The garden, a little haven from the city’s hustle and bustle, is a sun-trap and like many of Brum’s best it’s actually a yard. There’s an abundance of plants, hanging baskets, plant boxes, trees; art work painted on the walls; old pub signs; sheltered areas; plasma TV for all Sky HD sport; music. There are nine tables with chairs and standing areas.
Children are welcome to dine upstairs in the function room but are not allowed in the beer garden or downstairs bars.
Anywhere in the beer garden apart from near the pub entrance.
Club Tropicana by Wham!
THE JEKYLL & HYDE
28 Steelhouse Lane, B4 6BJ
Tel: 0121 236 0345
Gins are a speciality with more than 80 different names to choose from served in many different ways – with tonic, in a cocktail or “a bath tub.”
Global beers, including locally brewed Freedom. Cask ales, on rotation, including Wye Valley and Thornbridge.
Wide range of cocktails from the classic to the more inventive including the “Sweetie Jar” collection.
Homemade pub grub, the lunch menu includes a £6 sandwich and drink offer.
Evening food includes special offers on pies, fish and chips, hot dogs and burgers.
Enjoy the Eat Me, Drink Me Gin and Food Fusion menu in the gin parlour.
The Wonderland Courtyard is a sun trap decorated in Tim Burton-style Alice In Wonderland characters.
With cover for when the rain hits, customers can enjoy a G&T any time of the year. Snug area is perfect for al fresco dining. The courtyard can seat 40.
The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon.
21 High Street
Harborne, B17 9NT
Tel: 0121 427 3678
Locally-sourced ales from Urban Red to Wye Valley’s HPA. Always open to suggestions. A selection of ever-changing whiskies, unusual homegrown vodkas and fruity gins.
Fresh homemade food, including a selection of daily specials.
Favourites include homemade stone-baked pizzas and popular Plough burgers.
“We take a lot of pride in our garden – colanders full of flowers, pansies sporting table numbers and some interesting bottles and cars dotted around the place. Not to mention a lovely sheltered smoking area and lots of heating for the chilly evenings.”
Children are welcome to dine until 9.30pm, as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult. There is colouring equipment and plenty of games.
Large garden area for smokers, as well as an undercover shelter.
Everyone Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers.
THE PRINCE OF WALES
118 Alcester Road
Moseley, B13 8EE
Tel: 0121 449 4198
Facebook address: www.thefacebook.com/thePrinceMoseley
Eight cask beers, including “our own Sad Bastard.”
Two real ciders (plus two keg ciders – Symonds and Stowford Press). 30 Belgian beers; 40 single malts; 100 of the world’s finest rums.
Classic cocktail lounge. Mo-tiki Garden Cocktail Beach Bar; Shed du Vin, specialist wine bar offering 15 reds, 15 whites, rose, prosecco and Champagnes. Supplied by local boutique wine specialist Paul Roberts Wines.
“We also offer La Choza, one of the finest collections of New World and Cuban cigars outside London.”
Sundays only – Moseley Brunch Club from noon to 3pm followed by street food pioneer The Meat Shack, with occasional guest appearances from other street food stars.
It’s “Glastonbury meets the bierkeller” with a 200-seater heated and covered garden with three outside bars and areas for private parties.
Children are allowed until 9pm “but they would be better off down the park or at home.”
“Relax and enjoy a cigar. Large covered and heater smoking area.”
Ella Fitzgerald’s In the Summertime for midweek – and The Isley Brothers’ Summer Breeze for the weekends.
THE LOFT LOUNGE
Bromsgrove Street, B5 6RG
Tel: 0121 622 2444
Draught: Strongbow, Becks, Peroni, Stella, Carling, Boddingtons.
Bottles: Kopperberg, Peroni, San Miguel Fresca, Becks, Leffe, Hoegarden.
Cocktails including Pink Lady, Gothic Night Fall and Long Island iced tea. (2 for 1 cocktails Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 5pm – 9pm and Thursdays 5pm – midnight.)
Champagne: Masse Pere Et Fils , Lanson, Veuve Clicquot. Wide selection of white, red, rose and sparkling wines.
A selection of sharers including the Loft Lounge sharer, mixed tapas sharer, seafood sharer and pizzas; salads and pasta; burgers; steaks; beer battered fish of the day. Sunday lunch.
Sizeable outdoor space in the heart of Southside, minutes from the Hippodrome Theatre. Covered, heated bar area, nine tables of four, outdoor bandstand which provides a platform for DJs on Saturday nights and live, local music on Sunday evenings.Shrubs and exotic potted plants, subtle lighting.
“Perfect for lazy sunny afternoon dining and cocktails and a perfect place for party-lovers by night.”
Children permitted, accompanied by an adult, until 9pm.
Smoking permitted outside.
Summer Sun by Texas.
THE QUEENS ARMS
150 Newhall Street, B3 1RY
Tel: 0121 2363710
Hand pulls – four ales at any time – always Wye Valley HPA & Sharps Doom Bar, along with local cask beers and two local box ciders.
Range of bottle beers including Stevens Point Pale Ale, Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada.
Draft – Carling, Becks, Stella, Coors Light, Kronenbourg, Boddingtons Extra Cold, Guinness, Thatcher’s Gold and Magners Golden.
Cocktail List – Saturday any for £4.50 each from 8pm ‘til midnight.
Traditional pub food with a modern twist – locally sourced, including Edward Moon Proper Pies (Stratford-Upon-Avon); Lashford’s Butchers (Knowle) – list of 16 sausages which changes regularly; Birchstead Steaks (Woodmore Farm, Chirbury, Shrops); Exotic Burgers – Wild Boar & Stilton, Curried Goat & Jerk Sauce and Kangaroo & Chipotle. Homemade Pizzas BOGOF Thursday and Friday, all day.
Sheltered with tall walls and a roof. “Rough-sawn” wood-panelled and white washed. “Shack/beach hut” in concept.
Sixteen classic 1930’s cinema seats, reclaimed from Odeon Cinema in Newport, Wales. Bench seating reclaimed and recovered from 1970’s double decker bus.
Light fittings are glass boxes with Edison vintage light bulbs and hanging patio heaters are La Hacienda 2100W (“very warm in the winter”). Further tables and chairs. Patio heaters and planting. Speakers for music, outdoor TV for live sport due before football season starts.
“Snug” to one side with more shelter, privacy, heating and fairy lights.
Children allowed inside before 7pm, all week.
Permitted in courtyard to the rear, or in front of the premises (more tables and chairs out front).
The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon.
31 Summer Row
Birmingham, B3 1JJ
Facebook: Shakespeare Summer Row
Cask ale – Doom Bar, Purity UBU, Nicholson’s Pale Ale and three additional guest ales.
Draught: Carling, Becks Vier, Peroni, San Miguel, Stella Black, Pilsner Urquell, Veltins, Strongbow, Aspall, Guinness.
Speciality drinks: Nicholson’s Brewski, Nicholson’s Bloody Mary.
Served everyday, 10am ’til 10pm, lunch deal for meal and drink £7 (between 12pm & 4pm), and evening deal for meal and drink £9 (between 4pm & 9pm) everyday.
Some more popular dishes are: steak frites, pulled beef pudding, Nicholson’s ultimate burger, pork belly, half Shropshire chicken.
20 tables and an additional four in the front of the pub; two Jumberellas with heat lamps; flowers and plants all around and lighting. Barbecues every Thursday evening 6pm ’til 9pm.
Children are allowed in the dining room and outside areas until 9pm.
Permitted in the beer garden and the front of the pub.
Katrina and the Waves’ Walking on Sunshine.
22 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham
Tel: 0121 291 5087
Everards ales, cocktails from New Orleans to Paris, an ever changing wine list.
Soul Food provided by the Soul Food Project. Expect house jambalaya, glazed pork with collard greens and mash, ranch eggs, black snapper fillets with home fries and fruit salsa. “Long Sweet Tooth” desserts like classic key lime pie and chocolate and pecan brownie.
Roof terrace is tucked away in the Jewellery Quarter with seating for 50-60, surrounded by an edible garden and pink flamingos.
Events: a recent cray fish boil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1wU7NJrFWo) and more fun planned for September.
Until 8pm every day.
Big Chief by Professor Longhair [Editor: “If Roger Whittaker had been black. Sweet. Take it away:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhYyFnFPhBg]
THE NEW INN
Tel: 0121 426 3373
Five real ales on hand pump as well as draught and bottled beers, cider, wine list and an extensive cocktail menu.
Primarily a steakhouse, serving a range of organic and free-range meat sourced from local butcher Roger Brown. “Our focus is on good quality food with a traditional feel.”
A mix of paved and grass, with tables on the lawn and patio. People can also enjoy a picnic on the grass.
Children are welcome at The New Inn.
“Smoking is fine but we ask that people are respectful of others, particularly of those people dining outside.”
The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever.
[P.S No cash or beers were exchanged in return for this article. Which is insane. The Jekyll and Hyde threw in a fantastic martini because they’re like that. Can I have another one?]
[P.P.S This list is not exhaustive. If I have missed a gem, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org – better still, invite me for a drink.]