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Pub/Bar of the Month

The Great Western, Wolverhampton, UK

It’s a Friday evening in Wolverhampton and the Great Western is buzzing.

Great Western, WolverhamptonThe after-work crowd is in, knocking back pints to wash away the dust of another week’s labour and relaxing nicely into the weekend.

Pensioners have come out for a good old natter and, judging by the balloons bobbing down the far end, there’s a private party in full swing.

Added to the mix is one impressed traveller. I’ve just broken my cross-country journey, knowing that this highly-rated pub is but a stone’s throw away from Wolverhampton station.

In fact, the Great Western sits right underneath the railway line, dwarfed by the hulk of an arch bridge that carries inter-cities and local trains to and from Birmingham.

Dwarfed it may be, but this is a surprisingly spacious pub, opening out from a smallish front bar with a red-tiled floor into a long narrow rear lounge with bare boards and a conservatory at the end.

As you might expect, railway memorabilia is scattered throughout and there are GWR motifs on the curtains, but the pub is thankfully not over-themed.

Great Value Beer and Food

I haven’t been able to find a table but I’m happy to sit at the drinking shelf that runs the length of the back room, navigating the twists and turns of the broad local dialect to eavesdrop on what’s hot and what’s not in the Black Country and watching the locals down gallons of Holden’s ale. And who wouldn’t at £2.80 a pint?

There are guest beers, too. Titanic, Sarah Hughes, Salopian and St Austell are all represented on the bar this evening but I notice that it’s not just the drinks that are keenly-priced.

The food menu – meals lunchtimes, substantial snacks through till 10pm – is refreshingly reasonable, taking me back to the days when food in most pubs was simply good-value, wholesome fare to ward off the dangers of drinking on an empty stomach.

Do I have time for a hot pork bap or some grey pays and bacon (it's a local thing)? Unfortunately, not.

I’ve been waiting to visit the Great Western for a long time, in fact ever since it was judged CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year in 1991. Heading out the door, wending my way back to the station, I am genuinely sorry that I can’t stay longer.

The Great Western, Sun Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV10 0DG
Tel: (01902) 351090
Opening Hours: 11–11 (no food Sunday)

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