Hardest pubs in Birmingham


The Skylark is the only pub left standing in Castle Vale. Gone are the Artful Dodger, the Trade Winds, The Lancaster, The Albatross and The Trees.
Perhaps pubs are no longer as much a part of English life as they used to be. Clubs, restaurants, drinking at home… have they replaced the good old English pub?
Castle Vale is unrecognisable from the place it was ten years ago. But for some who haven’t visited it in recent years, its reputation stays the same. There’s a campaign in Birmingham that wants to rid Birmingham of its poor reputation. It’s called, rather sadly, ‘Birmingham’s not sxxt‘. Its calendar is on sale around the City centre.
It has a website, and over the past months, various contributors to its forum have been discussing the merits of various pubs of the ‘old days’ and assessing which is entitled to the claim of ‘ the hardest pub in Birmingham’.
As an indication of Vale’s  low reputation amongst the drinking classes, here is a selection of the comments:

Comment A: What about the (ex)Trooper in Chelmsley Wood. The Artful Dodger or the Trade Winds on Castle Vale ? Or , dare I say it, The Bagot ! 
Comment B: The Trade Winds on the Vale certainly takes some beating, but I’d like to nominate the British Oak in Stirchley. Go in there on your own without a crash helmet on and you’ll certainly take some beating. 
Comment C: what about the shotgun in castle vale (well its what the locals call it). 
Comment D: Some that I came across that have long lingered in the memory and some that I have heard great things about are;the Bagot, Pype Hayes. The Chester Arms, Castle Bromwich.The Mackadown .The Stockland, Stockland Green.The Skylark, Castle Vale.The Yenton, Wylde Green.

Comment E : The Adventurers – by Villa Park.  The Dubliner – Digbeth.  The Skylark, Lancaster, Trade Winds, Artful Dodger, ( or anything on the Vale). 

Comment F: Been in Bondi for 20yrs I remember drinkin in yates wine bar then over to the windsor & parrsiene? had me scooter nicked from round the corner there.In the suburbs always thought the bulls head and swan yardley full of Skins on cov rd. Castle Vale was cool lots of good drugs.


Times change, so do places. But reputations linger a little longer !

14 responses to “Hardest pubs in Birmingham

  1. garry kilday

    i found castle vale was a better place to live,people knew each other the only thing thats better is the housing refurbs,
    and the tower blocks demolised
    ask any castle vale born and bred person and you will get the anwser.
    trade winds pub was a good pub,
    as same as the albotrose pub.
    we have football faciltys second to none
    the best around
    gary kilday resident

  2. Just interested!!

    What has happened to the Sky lark, why is it boarded up!!

  3. Because it’s closed!

  4. It said on the news last week, that 400 pubs close in the UK every week. At this rate, there will be none left in the near future. I think it very sad that centuries of tradition has suddenly come to an end within such a short time. Perhaps though, the pubs have priced themselves out of the market.

  5. the bird family in caslte vale, stuart and andrew bird!

  6. Well said Gary, old skool Castle Vale rocked, new style Castle Vale sucks and has become a depressing former shadow of what it once was

  7. Born and bread on the vale and still live hear i wouldn’t want to live anywhere else here is the alternatives Erdington/Kingstanding/pype hayes/Bromford/Castle Brom/chelmsly wood ect ect ect you get what im trying to say better the devil you know than the rest of the cesspits that you could choose

  8. theres nothing wrong with chelmsley apart from all the pubs that have closed and some of the idiots who live on the estate.

  9. Castle Vale
    Our key success factors:
    Our Neighbourhood Partnership and Management model to set its own strategic agenda
    The capacity to deliver through a strong resident –led community housing association that keeps its assets on Castle Vale.
    Leadership from our capable residents
    Estate-based agencies working together to make Castle Vale a successful neighbourhood.
    Sharing our experiences with others.
    Where have we come from?
    Built in the mid 1960’s, Castle Vale is one of the largest post-war housing estates in the Midlands. Its open, flat site on the edge of North East Birmingham was once the Castle Bromwich Airfield, home to the Spitfire. The estate became home to families from run-down areas of inner-city Birmingham, whose homes had been declared unfit to live in as part of the 1960’s clearance programs. Originally Castle Vale comprised of a mixture of houses, maisonette blocks and 34 high-rise towers.
    Approximately one-third of this estate was built for sale. In common with many such estates, the social environment and living conditions deteriorated rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s and, in Birmingham, the name ‘Castle Vale’ came to be associated with social exclusion, unemployment and crime.
    In 1993 a Housing Action Trust (HAT) was established for Castle Vale, supported by a group of strong committed tenants and residents. This enabled the tenanted homes to be transferred out of local authority control, and a massive regeneration programme to commence.
    Over the next twelve years 2200 homes were demolished and further 1333 were improved. 1500 new homes were built, along with a shopping centre, community facilities and health centres. The physical environment was improved and landscaped, and the new park was created on the site of some of the old tower blocks. Economic regeneration activities included the creation of new jobs. Health and life expectancy improved.
    In 2005 the HAT came to the end of it’s life. 98% of the tenants voted to transfer to Castle vale Community Housing Association (CVCHA) and a Neighbourhood Partnership Board, hosted by the housing association, was formed to co-ordinate the activities of all the successor agencies working on the Estate.
    In 2005 CVCHA was awarded Guide Neighbourhoods status – this provided funding for resident consultants to work with other communities. The Guide Neighbourhood consultancy work is continuing…..Do you agree with this statement……….

    THEY WERE GREAT and the vale punks too

  11. All the punks and skinheads were glue sniffers

  12. no they were not

  13. what about the norton kingsbury road in its heyday.

  14. the norton was full of smack heads