Old Swan, Netherton

89 Halesowen Road
West Midlands
01384 253075

It’s been a very long time since Doris Pardoe ran the Old Swan, but for people like me it’s still famous as being one of only four remaining homebrew pubs when Camra kickstarted the real ale revolution back in the 1970s (photos 1 & 2). I was lucky enough to be served a pint of the homebrew by Doris herself sometime in the late 1970s. A friend and I had hitched-hiked down from Leeds to arrive just after morning opening time, much to her surprise and amusement.

The pub went through a few changes of ownership after she died but it’s been pretty stable for quite a few years now thanks to longstanding landlord Tim Newey. It has expanded into the shop next door but the old public bar has remained almost exactly the same. It has a Victorian bar counter and mirrored bar back, and an old working stove in the middle of the room. There is a splendid vitreous enamel ceiling with a painting of a swan, which dates back to 1863 when the pub was built (photo 3). Almost as old is the sign promoting the quality of the ales (photo 4). There is a smoke room at the back, also with original features, a tiny snug, a smaller bar, and, in the extension next door, a large lounge.

The homebrew I was served all those years ago is still there, now called Old Swan Original, along with four other beers, all from the brewery behind the pub. Food is served and is quite a draw, attracting diners from far and wide.

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