The White Swan in Digbeth is a throw back to a Birmingham which is in fast decline. There are no city centre Victorian pubs with anywhere near as much atmosphere and character as The Swan, and this really is a sign of the times.
Birmingham central is becoming a corporate, fast paced, cocktail endowed hotbed of activity, and while that is no bad thing, there will be some who lament the existance of pubs such as the White Swan.
This is where Digbeth comes into its own. This gritty industrial area has retained a good few traditional boozers, some of which serve real ale and many of which have strong Irish connections. A perfect example is the White Swan.
The Landlady’s family have been in the pub for over 40 years and there are a steady trickle of regulars during the week with additional drinkers during Birmingham City home games.
It may look like it has the potential to be a tad rough from the outside, but nothing could be further than the truth. It is a welcoming, friendly old Victorian pub with a juke box, small selection of real ales on tap, a great pint of Guinness and Banks’ ale and bitter, which are always pulled to near perfection.
The interior is a stunning example of Victorian architecture, with original wood bar, and tiling. Even the brass foot rail still works, keeping punters feet warm on cold winter eves. There’s a small courtyard out back for smokers and a function room for small events.
Well worth a nip into en route to or back from, The Spotted Dog at the top of Bradford Street.
*Main image courtesy of the brilliant “Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs (CAMRA)” photographer who happened to be reviewing the pub at the same time as Grapevine Birmingham. Anyone recognise the guy drinking at the bar? Moving swiftly on!