The Anchor Inn
308 Bradford Street
behind National Express
Mon-Sat 11-11, Sun 12-10.30
The Anchor Inn
This is an old fashioned style pub in a now deserted part of the city in the evenings. It is situated in a poorly lit industrial area that shuts down at night.
The pub is an old fashioned corner pub, there are three rooms all served from one really long 'L' shaped bar that covers three sides of the pub. The two smaller rooms (cramped and smokey at busy times) have the problem of being mainly out of sight of the main serving area.
The staff have to be very vigilant at busy times as in one room you are only visible via a mirror. A little patience and a little waving goes a long way at busy times. One reviewer has waited 20 minutes in the past to get served in the small room at peak times. However, don't let this put you off the pub.
It is very much a locals pub (looks a bit like the 'Queen Vic' from Eastenders on the inside), with a friendly atmosphere. These locals are matched for numbers by those seeking a good real ale pub in Birmingham. The pool table is situated in the main room and they have two pool teams. Try not to sit near it though as there is not a lot of space around it.
The décor has not changed in ten years, but far from making this a dowdy place, it has enhanced its charm and retro feel - there are no plastic or fake memorabilia here.
The Anchor also has regular beer festivals and themed weeks/weekends throughout the year. On this occasion it was the 60+ ales Spring Festival. They also have special selected brewery weekends, Church End on this time; including, Stout Coffin, Father Brown, Old Pal, Pew's Porter, Hooker Ale, Avon Ale, Pooh Beer and Vicar's Ruin, etc..
As for food, this is served at lunch time and evenings and for the summer there is a an outdoor drinking area - though it is concrete floored and surrounded by high buildings.
No accommodation is available here, but you are not far from the Hyatt, Copthorne and Holiday Inn, all B&B, but all expensive in their own way.
The Anchor Inn, Bradford Street, Birmingham. Sited directly behind the infamous sleazy Digbeth Coach Station, the Anchor is a lively and popular free house. The only two beers present on a regular basis are Tetleys Bitter and Ansells Mild, but these are rarely advertised on the beer lists. Instead, you'll find a constantly changing range of guest beers appearing. Small breweries such as Church End, Hobsons, Lichfield and Beowulf feature strongly, but many other 'exotic' beers can be found. A wide range of bottled beers and odd alcoholic beverages are also sold. Occasional small beer festivals are held, the only drawback being Saturday night performances by ghastly trad jazz bands. The Anchor can get very busy and very noisy, and the service can leave something to be desired, as fellow reviewers have found. This is usually down to simply not noticing you, rather than rudeness, as I've always found the staff friendly and obliging. Assertiveness is needed if the staff ignore you. The main bar is the best spot for service, preferable by the middle of the newly-restored wooden bar. Waving paper money works wonders, and a strangulated sound of terminal thirst can do the trick as well. After years of practice, I have no complaints about the service (well, not too often!) Digbeth may be next in line for the ambitions of modern developers with their theme pubs and cafe bars, and pubs like the Anchor should be cherished and enjoyed as long as they survive. No accommodation, but the city centre is only half a mile away, and the coach station is a matter of yards away. (P. Glover)
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10-13 real ales
25 Bennetts Hill
0121 634 8100.