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Fan of the pre-match pint? Below is a list of my favourite watering holes worthy of a trip
Birmingham City Centre (Birmingham City / Aston Villa)
– The Post Office Vaults – slightly biased as owned by my old university housemate, who has done a great job converting a run down old boozer into one housing hundreds of continental beers, and a wide range of ciders. Awards galore, no food but you can bring your own (they provide the plates and sauces), check out also the humourous messages on the board outside- as an added bonus, literally 2 minutes from New Street Station;
– The Wellington – another real ale staple of the Birmingham pub scene, friendly pub with a wide range of local ales on tap, supped in the presence of ale loving locals, trainspotters on a break, and football fans en-route. Enjoy!
– The Red Lion – located in the Jewellery Quarter, bit out of the way for trips to Birmingham City and Villa, but just one stop on the train / tram from The Hawthorns.
Bristol – there are many great pubs in Bristol, most in the centre you will need to get a taxi to the ground from (including Small Bar) but would recommend the following if you are strolling to the ground and have some time on your hands.
– The Pump House – situated on the docks around 10 minutes from Ashton Gate. Gastropub in essence, but pleasant place for a pint, serving real ale, local ciders, and surprising array of gins;
– The Mardyke – a surprise choice given this would be deemed by some to be a normal pub. Serves cans as well as pints, this place has a cracking juke box, football on the TVs, and is about 15 minutes from Ashton Gate;
– Small Bar – more in the centre than near the ground, so you will need to get a cab if you decide not to embrace the 20-25 minute walk. Bit of a Bristol institution, serving a large range of craft beers, and good food.
– Head of Steam – right outside the train station and 10-15 minute walk to the ground, great range of real ales and good food. Colours not allowed when I visited last;
Liverpool / Everton
– The Crown Hotel – conveniently located outside of Lime Street Station, huge bar area, decently priced booze, food and friendly staff / clientele. Well worth visiting for a pint or two pre and post match;
– The Ship & Mitre – cracking boozer 5 minute stroll from Lime Street Station (and handily placed for those looking to grab a taxi to the ground) – great range of continental and craft lagers.
London – the capital is full of pubs for a pre-match pint; it’s size means the list of good ones is endless. Below however are my favourites, with recommendations also for which grounds they works best for.
– Prince Albert (Tube Stop: Notting Hill. Best For: Chelsea, QPR, Fulham) – real ale / craft beer pub round the corner from Notting Hill Station, serving also a fantastic range of burgers, with some very funky toppings (including pickled onion monster munch!);
– The Star of Bethnal Green (Tube Stop: Bethnal Green. Best For: West Ham) – hipster-esque, with great range of beers and food;
– Pitcher and Piano – on top of a hill above the station, set inside an old church – truly unique place to drink!
– Sheffield Tap – legendary real ale pub situated on platform 1 of Sheffield Station, filled with travellers, trainspotters and football fans. Worth a trip if visiting Sheffield or en-route to elsewhere;
– Bridge Inn – located opposite Rotherham Central station, Rotherham memorabilia covers the walls, and good ale served;
– Cutlers Arms – located on Main Street a short walk away from New York Stadium, serves good local beer with a friendly atmosphere;
West Bromwich Albion
– The Vine – I have never visited any other pub when away at West Brom, and for very good reason. 5 – 10 minutes from The Hawthorns, The Vine looks like any other pub from the outside, however on matchdays a fantastic Indian BBQ is put on. Friendly atmosphere and good priced booze, be sure to get there early as the place fills up quickly. Probably the best away day pub in the Football League, a gem of a place!