I called into Wetherspoon’s Golden Cross in Bromsgrove the other day, not so much because I’m not fussed about motorway services and don’t mind a short detour from the motorway to find a more sensible part of our sceptred isle.
Maybe it’s not, because the first thing you see when you Google it is … Bromsgrove is a town in Worcestershire, England about 16 miles north-east of Worcester and 13 miles south-west of Birmingham city centre. So maybe it just doesn’t want to be part of Birmingham?
Anyway, hard as I looked across the 10am throng in the Golden Cross Life After Football was no where to be seen. There were no mobility scooters outside neither. Not here, they drive them straight inside and park up alongside their tables. Once inside, it’s a deceptively large space, which goes right through to a pleasant outdoor drinking cum smoking area and a back door which is nicer than the front aspect.
I’ll start with the breakfast, because that’s what I went for. Large and of top quality, served in possibly record breaking time? This was surprising as the pub was at least half full and the majority of people were having some sort of food. A lot were having alcohol with their food. Not many were drinking cask ale though, even though the pub is in the 2018 Good Beer Guide. Not even when the customers can contribute to choosing what they have on, by selecting their choices from a list of monthly potentials.
In terms of beer there were the usual bank of mainstream cask products and the second one with the more interesting ales included; Enville Ale, Woods Born n Bred, Purity UBU, Unity Sebright, one turned round and Bombardier, which doesn’t qualify for the interesting bank of hand pulls in my mind.
The pub itself is quite pleasant and has a bit of a glitzy, upmarket 1930’s feel to it. A bit of research tells me the pub was rebuilt in 1932 from an existing hotel. The stained glass roof lights are typical. Whether they are original or not is a different question. The carpet was quite tame, but in keeping with the upmarket period feel.
The outstanding feature was the easy going atmosphere, it really felt quite good, all sorts of people, all types just having a drink and a bit of snap. Pensioners, blokes starting off on a day out, professional drinkers and well, you name it really.
I always reckon the ethos of a place starts with those who work there, and it starts from the top. The chap who served us was brilliant and despite it being busy managed to provide attentive service to every table. Our table was cleared just long enough after we had finished eating.
Actually engaging with us while he did this just put this branch of ‘spoons into a different league. After asking if we had anything planned for the Bank Holiday he stood with four plates in his arms, chatting with us for a good few minutes. Spot on and top marks bloke. I wish everywhere was like this.
As I walked through the town, back to the car, a baby Bentley swished past me, I stared hard into the tinted windows, but I couldn’t see a great deal. Maybe, just maybe? I think it might have actually been him, scouring the midlands for his next pint of Wolverhampton and Dudley filth?