The 10 oldest pubs in Birmingham are:
The Old Crown: est. c.1368-1550
Lad In The Lane: est. c.1400
The Great Stone Inn: est. c.1700-1800
The Bell Inn: est. c.1700-1800
The Bull: est. c.1775-1800
The Brasshouse: est. 1781
The Anchor: est. 1803
The Gunmakers Arms: est. c.1820
The Tap & Spile: est. c.1821
The Eagle & Tun: est. c.1845
Birmingham’s public house industry has more than 600 years’ rich history. While there are only a handful still standing from before the 19th century, at least 15 pubs dating from the 1800s remain today.
Many of these are situated within the old industrial heartlands of the city – particularly in and around the Jewellery Quarter, the old Gun Quarter, Digbeth (centre for various manufacturing and creative industries), and Gas Street Basin, the beating heart of Birmingham’s canal network.
Here is a complete run-down of 10 of the oldest pubs in Birmingham, along with a few snippets of fascinating information about each of them.
The Old Crown: c. 1368 - 1550
188 High St, Deritend, Birmingham B12 0LD
Living up to its postcode, The Old Crown is Birmingham’s oldest pub, established in 1368. In fact, it is the oldest surviving non-religious building in Birmingham. It is a Grade II listed building and its original black and white timber frame remains standing to this day, though most of the present building dates from the early 16th century. It is rumoured that Queen Elizabeth I stayed here in 1575.
The Old Crown is situated in the heart of Digbeth and is open 7 days a week. Today, the pub retains much of its traditional charm, with its charming, rustic olde-worlde décor. Notorious for its summer beer garden and busy events calendar, landlord Alex tells us the pub also serves up “home cooked traditional pub grub and burgers to die for!” Additionally, the pub operates a hotel with 10 rooms and one apartment available for short or long term lets, and a cafe serving up breakfast, brunch and lunch, Monday – Friday.
Lad In The Lane: c. 1400
22 Bromford Lane, Erdington, Birmingham B24 8BU
The Lad in the Lane, owned by community pub company Admiral Taverns and run by licensee Donna Brough, is one of the oldest pubs in Birmingham dating back to 1306. Parts of its original Tudor-style building structure are still standing – most notably the original exposed wooden beams and fireplace. The pub was originally built as a large family home, and is believed to have remained as a house until the early 1780s, when it was converted into a public house by the owners of that time.
Steeped in history, the pub has seen a broad range of events in its past, including the arrest of the original Peaky Blinders gang, for ‘Wilful Damage’ to the premises in 1895. Throughout its lifetime as a pub, Lad In The Lane has also been known as The Green Man and The Old Green Man. The electoral register from 1912/13 shows that Billy Garraty, the famous England and Aston Villa FC footballer was the landlord. The pub was extended and refurbished during the 1930s, and in 1952 the building received listed status.
Now a welcoming Tudor local, the pub is the hub of the community with regulars who’ve been coming with their fathers and grandfathers. The pub offers weekly Sunday lunches, home cooked food, cask ales, a spacious beer garden and a function room which caters for all manner of events. A friendly pub with a fantastic array of history about the area.
The Great Stone Inn: c. 1700 – c. 1800
158 Church Rd, Birmingham B31 2LU
The Great Stone is in a quiet residential area of Northfield. The pub is named after a nearby glacial boulder more than 400 million years old, which became known locally as “The Great Stone”. Apparently, the boulder travelled from Snowdon to Northfield on an ice sheet during the Ice Age. Another interesting snippet of the pub’s rich history lies in the fact that the lead singer of 1960s band The Applejacks was landlord in residence during the late sixties.
Fast forward 50 years, and its current manager gives us a comprehensive description of the pub’s present day character: “As it has been here for hundreds of years, The Great Stone is a traditional pub with a fantastic beer garden. We are able to offer something for everyone and offer a safe and secure environment, aiming hard to give our customers a reason to visit time and again. We have a quiz night on Tuesdays, Poker night on Wednesdays, and regular entertainment on the weekends, including live bands and discos. We also have an open mic night called ‘The No Covers Club’ on the last Thursday of every month. We do lots of fundraising for charity, especially St Mary’s Hospice and the HELP appeal. We serve food daily from 12pm-8pm and have a great range of daily deals for everyone to enjoy.”
The Great Stone won Best Managed House in the 2010 Great British Pub Awards, and it continues to maintain a great reputation in the local community and beyond.
The Bell Inn, Harborne: c. 1700 – c. 1800
11 Old Church Rd, Birmingham B17 0BB
The Bell is an old coaching station inn built around 300 years ago and is situated next to St Peters, an Anglo-Saxon church. It is well-known for its preserved bowling green, which has reputedly been there for more than 140 years.
The Bell retains its village pub feel to this day, and promises “amazing food, great drinks, and a relaxing atmosphere.” The pub serves a variety of real ales and there is an extensive outside seating area.
The Bull: c. 1775 – c. 1800
1 Price St, Birmingham B4 6JU
The Bull is a traditional, award-winning pub situated in the heart of what was once Birmingham’s historic Gun Quarter. The Evening Mail has described it as “a jewel in the crown of Birmingham’s pubs.” Landlady, Rose McCann has managed the pub for the past 25 years, and regulars describe it as “down to earth,” “welcoming” and “friendly.”
Featuring traditional Victorian décor, a comfy snug, delicious home-cooked food, and a sociable resident cat, you will feel right at home in this pub. A wide selection of hand-pulled cask conditioned ales, stouts, lagers, ciders, wines and spirits ensures a merry evening for all who visit. Open from midday until 11pm, Monday – Saturday. B&B also available.
The Brasshouse: est. 1781
44 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HP
Formerly a brass foundry, The Brasshouse is situated in Gas Street Basin, just off the Canal Old Line. During the 18th century, Birmingham was a major brass-making centre, with metal being transported from Bristol via the River Severn and by canal.
Nowadays, The Brasshouse offers an extensive range of good-quality pub meals, with everything from tapas to a traditional Sunday roast, and great lunchtime deals. The pub has a cocktail menu, cask and craft beers, a function room, and an outside seating area. The Brasshouse also offers weekly live music and Sky Sports / BT Sports.
The Anchor: est. 1803
308 Bradford St, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6ET
This Grade II listed Digbeth pub was first built in the late 1700s, and was later re-designed by leading Birmingham pub architects James & Lister Lea in 1901, when it was renamed The Anchor. James and Lister Lea were renowned for their distinctive red brick buildings, which were popular for the period. A couple of their other pubs include The Bartons Arms in Aston and The British Oak in Stirchley.
The Anchor has won CAMRA’s Regional Pub Of The Year Award for Birmingham no less than four times, and the pub is also featured regularly in the Good Beer Guide. The Anchor serves real ale, ciders, craft beers, wines, spirits, and even cocktails, and they have described their offer as “modern drinking in a traditional boozer.” They also provide a varied menu, from pub classics to modern Mediterranean dishes.
The Gunmakers Arms: c. 1820
93 Bath Street, Birmingham B4 6HG
As the name would suggest, The Gunmakers Arms is another historic, well-established pub situated in the old Gun Quarter of Birmingham. The pub dates back to around 1820, although at that time it occupied just the end house on the corner of Little Shadwell Street and Bath Street. Over the centuries more houses were merged to form the existing pub. According to current landlord, Mark Arnott-Job, “the last addition to the current building happened in the early 1980s and is still remembered by some people who have worked in the area for many years. We also had people visit the pub who actually lived in the last house prior to it being swallowed up!”
These days, The Gunmakers Arms is also the tap house of Two Towers Brewery. In 2016, the pub underwent a major redevelopment when the brewery was relocated to a derelict building right behind it. There are now at least ten ales on the hand pulls, many brewed onsite, including a range of unique porters. The pub was voted 3rd in the CAMRA Pub Of The Year Awards for Birmingham in 2017 and 2018.
With a clientele consisting of all ages, ranging from students to mature real ale enthusiasts, the pub offers a full menu of activities from art exhibitions and live music, to quiz nights and spoken word events. Artistic representations of Birmingham past and present adorn the walls, and there is an eclectic, well-stocked jukebox and a pool table to boot. Guesthouse accommodation above the pub is also available.
The Tap & Spile: c. 1821
10-16 Gas Street, Birmingham B1 2JT
Dating back to the heyday of Birmingham’s canal network, The Tap & Spile overlooks the city’s ever-popular Gas Street Canal Basin – where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal meets the Birmingham Canal Navigations mainline. With its impressive architecture, the pub sits alongside several Grade II listed buildings.
The Tap & Spile has canal-side seating, and inside you will find simple décor, stripped wood floors, crooked corners, hearty homemade British food, and a selection of real ales.
The Eagle & Tun: c. 1845
54 Banbury Street, Birmingham B5 5RH
Originally built around 1845, this pub was purchased by the legendary Ansell’s Brewery in 1897, and during the early 1900s it was transformed into The Eagle & Tun. This was another renovation designed by Birmingham pub architects, James and Lister Lea. The pub was temporarily renamed The Cauliflower Ear in the 1980s by a local boxer, who reputedly hosted boxing matches in the upstairs function room.
The pub’s claim to fame is its association with UB40, who filmed the video for their chart-topping single Red Red Wine here in 1983. It was the closest bar to the band’s Depp International studios, and they often visited the pub during their recording session breaks over a period of 27 years.
The Eagle & Tun closed temporarily for almost eight years between 2008 and 2016, but reopened after a period of renovation by its new owner. The bar retains many remaining original features, including the Victorian wall tiles and the seats around the wall. Noteworthy features include great food (with an excellent reputation for curries), a fully-equipped games room, B&B accommodation, and plenty of UB40 memorabilia.