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Shakespeare Inn, Birmingham

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user reviews of the Shakespeare Inn, Birmingham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Fairly standard Nicholsons that I wandered into by mistake, meaning to go to the Good Beer Guide Shakespeare in Summer Row!

Seen it done a thousand times but decent beer and comfortable environment.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 22 Mar 2018 10:46
A very good pub in Birmingham's centre. Along with the nearby Trocadero the Shakespeare epitomises what city centre pubs should be: comfortable environment, reasonable prices and good service. In my limited experience (perhaps 6 visits over 4 years, all in daylight) it has ranged between moderately crowded to rammed yet there has always been quick service & a nook to perch in. This visit I enjoyed a pint of Doom Bar (3.30) and pondered the ubiquity of that brand.
Queenslander - 15 Sep 2016 22:36
Being so close to New Street station, this pub will invariably attract its fare mix of people who often won't stay long. Unfortunately some of the bar staff encourage the transience by offering poor service. On arrival, I was expecting the female member of staff to approach me to dispense a beer. Instead, she continued talking to a couple of others further up the bar and completely blanked me. Eventually after a few minutes waiting with nobody else at the bar, another member of staff appeared from collecting glasses and offered service. This practice will never encourage repeat visitors. The pub itself is fairly nice. It's a Nicholsons, but not as good as the other Nicholsons on Summer Row (also the Shakespeare). About half of the pumpclips were turned around with only Roosters Astro, Stroud Organic Ale & Purity Ubu on offer. Surprisingly for a Nicholsons, they also stocked a real cider - Westons Old Rosie. One plus point to help recover an otherwise disappointing experience.
blue_scrumpy - 7 May 2013 20:16
Mcroyal and Odin are spot on...mind the missus reckons the ladies lavs which open straight onto the stairs could be a bit precarious if too much vino or vod had been consumed.
Blastbeat - 18 Apr 2013 12:31
Reasonable pub, if a little dull. Beer good and leather chairs very comfy.
son_of_odin - 11 Apr 2013 20:33
Martwolves - I frequent this pub and I don't think I'm shifty in any way!!!! Good range of beers on including their own Pale Ale (brewed by St.Austell). We settled for the very excellent Ossian from Inveralmond Brewery. This is a very handy pub for the station and although it is part of a chain (Nicholsons) it is usually OK and we had no problem getting served and there was abosultely no hassle from any of the customers - in fact quite a pleasant mix of people (we don't hang around in pubs where it is in any way "dodgey"). It can probably get very busy at certain times but then again if it didn't get busy it would probably be shut!! If you have time you can easily walk from here to The Briar Rose and The Wellington and even The Post Office Vaults (you may have to miss a train or two though!)
mcroyal - 6 Mar 2013 10:48
Have used this pub on various visits to Brum and always found it very decent.
Being a Nicholson’s pub the range of beers has been decent on all of my visits.

Normally a mixed crowd of shoppers, locals and football fans which isn’t a problem in the slightest.

Decent pub for a city centre joint not sure why the previous review is so bad.

lezford - 4 Mar 2013 11:56
A horrid little hole of a pub. The people who generally frequent this place look right shifty. Not my type of pub. It's handy if you have to catch a train right after a pint, but then again you could go to the Chameleon round the corner which is an altogether more pleasant experience.
martwolves - 23 Nov 2012 17:52
Blow it, went in when two of the clips were turned round. Settled for an ok pint of purity ubu then had to dash off and noticed they had just restored Thornbridge jaipur to the pumps. Nicholson pubs try to balance with the food with the beer, on this visit they were too busy serving food and not changing barrels...yes i've still got a monk on as i missed out on jaipur. will try again next time i'm town.
rob372 - 26 Sep 2012 08:48
Enfield must have caught it on an off day.My first visit since it changed to a Nicholsons , who have given it a minor makeover but kept the original wall tiles.I was served by friendly staff and a good range of real ales were on sale. Tried Acorn and Oakleaf and both were in excellent condition.
covman45 - 24 Nov 2011 16:17
Round the corner from the back entrance to New St train station, this is a good local pub to kill time in whilst waiting for trains, but not much else.

Also, the unkempt, balding, moody fat guy behind the bar should probably seek alternative employment if being courteous and pleasant is too much of a stretch.

EnfieldTaaaanBlud - 19 Oct 2011 15:29
Visited Friday 15th July 2011. 21.00 till closing.

Used to be a punk rockers haunt of mine back in the early 80's, and although the layout hasn't changed much, obviously everything else has! A good selection of ales on draught for those who like that sort of thing on here, with the popular choice being something called Blonde. Our strongbow and lager orders were nice and flowed with ease, and the bar staff were very friendly and helpful. Nice atmosphere in there as well, candles always make a nice touch when you are out with your partner, so they are making an aesthetic mark straight away. Music was varied and crucially, not too loud so as you could hold a conversation with others.

Yeah we liked it 8/10
Bitterville - 18 Jul 2011 03:48
In here on Saturday morning just after 11.00 so a bit quiet.
Eight handpulls one had cider on the others all real ale @ 2.35 - 3.10 a pint
I tried the localy brewed Purity UBU @ 2.65 and very nice it was too.
A good place for a quick pint if catching a train as some of the other pubs around the station do not open till 12. (ie the Crown & the Victoria)

bjbrummiejohn - 13 Jul 2011 07:41
Went there last night and whilst it was busy it wasn't packed like its sister pub The OC's which is rammed every Saturday, the Shakey has changed a lot since I used to drink in there in the early 90's, 8 real ales on and all apart from the Jaipur were under 3 where a pint of real ale in OC's is 3+ . Another good thing is that it feels like a proper boozer where sometimes OC's feels like an overpriced wine bar, out of the 2 I know which one I'll be frequenting now.
Ispy - 27 Mar 2011 12:33
After living in Brum for forty years I finally went in this pub a couple of weeks back. Glad I did! It used to be one of a pair of pubs next to each other, the other was called The Temple Bar, and both were as rough as a badger's backside. What an amazing change! Smart, welcoming, good food, and THWAITES'S NUTTY BLACK ON HANDPULL!!! Will be a regular visitor from now on.
scoobybooze - 23 Mar 2011 13:26
A pleasant back street pub very close to New st station and just off the main shopping street. Recently branded as a Nichollsons house (very much like The Old Contemptibles)the focus is now very much on quality real ale and good food. Around 8 Ales are on tap with some more unusual ones plus the usual Marstons Pedigree at 2.20 a pint was quite reasonable - Guest Ales are more but around 50p a pint less than its sister pub already mentioned.
It can be very busy at tea time with a decent outside area , which will probably mean it will be very busy in the summer. Worth a visit , 8 out of 10.
DiscoJoe - 24 Feb 2011 22:31
Can't really add much to the review below.

Went here last Sunday for a couple of pints while waiting for a train. Four real ales on offer - two Everards (Sunchaser and Tiger), and two Marstons (Pedigree and EPA). Ended up going for a Sunchaser, which though very tasty, was quite warm. Nothing else appealed so I had to throw down a Strongbow next and my mate had a Mickey Mouse.

There is a regular barmaid though, who is quite sublime. Worth going for one pint, in the hope that she's there.
berkfromtrapdoor - 24 Aug 2010 16:59
Mitchell and Butlers pub in the pedestrianised part of the City Centre in a side street off New Street.

A rather garish and unattractive looking yellow painted exterior leads into a fairly standard city centre pub type interior, yet one that does retain some original features, principally in the form of some fine tiling and an old M & B floor mosaic in the front entrance.

The pub prominently advertises itself in several places by the entrance as a "smoke-free pub" , which makes one wonder if recent legislation has passed the pub's management by. The Cask Marque symbol and a 2009 GBG sticker are also displayed, but the pub is not in the current 2010 edition.

On my recent lunchtime visit, the pub was quite busy with a mixture of shoppers and office people, enjoying the cheap food and drink.

Beers on were Pedigree, Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep and Marstons EPA. the Pedigree was in reasonable form - 2.29p.

This is a perfectly adequate, if not particularly inspiring, pub and it's not one to specifically seek out.
JohnBonser - 26 Mar 2010 12:38
small-fronted M&B pub just off the pedestrianised New Street.
we called here both in the day and in the evening. each session had a different feel.
the evening felt like a typical town boozer, whilst the lunchtime session had a much livelier, friendlier, relaxed feel.
There were a few in for a drink by the bar, most were dining in the back room.
The inside has a lived-in, traditional look, with old timber bar and coloured ceramic tiling on the staircase & some walls.
The menu was quite varied, with meals around 4-5, plus grills & burgers, etc.
we had the check/bacon barbeque sauce & cheese at 4, with was very tasty.
2 cask ales were on. draught bass and shepherd neame spitfire.
The staff were quite friendly and helpful.
we liked it here and we'd go back again to eat if we visited.
unfortunately the cask ales [I tried both] were a little off colour.
however I should have guessed, as I have found this to be the case in a number of M&B pubs I've visited, even though the meals and other drinks tend to be fine.
so a 7 from me. more if the beers had been good.

reynard - 8 Dec 2009 12:20
Had an excellent pint of London Pride last week and there was Tiger and Deuchars IPA available. For some reason best known to Bham CAMRA this pub has just lost its CAMRA Good Beer Guide status as it has not been included in the 2010 edition. I've never ever had a bad pint in here and it is always very reasonably priced. (A pub called the Canalside Cafe which sells warm beer has been included in the guide by the way!!). I'm sure Bham CAMRA have their reasons and sincerly hope folk are not put off by it's non inclusion. Shame on you Bham CAMRA.
ICTGringo - 9 Sep 2009 13:26
Good stopping off point when on a wander round the city. Good pint of Deuchars IPA, room to sit outside.
keith253 - 18 Aug 2009 09:40
Popped in when waiting for a train and found what I expected, a decent city centre boozer with a standard choice of ales- Black Sheep, Deuchars and bottled Brains and Brakspear- the latter only 2, which is pretty decent. Tried a few which were fine. Standard cheap-as-chips pub grub- 2 for a fiver- which was pretty darn good considering the price, although hardly restaurant standard-obviously. Some points of interest such as the bar back and stiarcase (as mentioned) put pretty open-plan and nondescript inside. Sky sports shown. Not bad, worth a visit if you've done Birmingham's 'must' pubs.
Carlurmston - 2 Jul 2009 13:05
Called in here to get out of the rain a few weeks ago. Good beer, good staff. Perhaps a tad too small for a city centre pub however. We were standing for five minutes before we got a seat. The food is served from a chimney (or at least an old chimney shaft converted for bringing it down from upstairs). Didn't try it but it seemed to be very popular amongst other customers.
jarofporter - 12 May 2009 16:23
This pub and the Briar Rose close by used to have constant snipes at each other as to which one was the first non smoking pub in Birmingham. I dont know the answer but it means that the dcor is still all bright and clean in here. The back of the bar is all polished wood and one of the walls is still tiled. Quite a few high tables near the bar and dining tables further back, it also has a quiz machine. There are 3 handpumps but they never seem to have anything unusual on e.g. Wednesday night Everards Tiger, Bombardier and Deuchars. The Tiger was a decent pint, its OK in here although its not my favourite pub in Birmingham.
ROBCamra - 30 Apr 2009 14:59
There were no ales available when I visited so I opted for a pint of Guinness which was nicely chilled and very tasty but the barman who served us wasn't the sharpest tool in the box. I ordered a pint of guinness and a southern comfort and lemonade and this nearly turned into a much bigger order, basically I had to phisically stop the guy pouring two pints of guinness and had to repeat my order several times. Now he was very polite and maybe he had things on his mind but it was abit of a struggle. The fact that all four pumps where off was annouying but working in a bar myself I can kind of understand that this happens now and again. The decor isnt anything to shout about and I really think this place is abit over rated. But to be fair we enjoyed ourselves in there and thats the main thing.
thatchrisdude - 17 Feb 2009 19:36
My comments on the Shakespeare, Summer Row could equally apply to this particular Shakey, which is run by the same chain. In short, diners munch away in one part, daytime drinkers either stare impassively at the horrors of BBC News 24 or chat away in clusters over a lunchtime pint 'n' wine around the main bar. A reasonable choice of ales are on offer, at competitive prices. I have to admit I've run out of things to say about this pub - slightly above average is the best I can do really.
ILooklikeme - 4 Jan 2009 09:14
We called here at 11.15am on a Sat morning...and it was shut.

Called back at 4.30pm and it was rammed! Average beer. Couldn't see any evidence of food being ordered or eaten.

Handy not the station and buzzes going south.
LickeyEndBooze - 30 Nov 2008 10:53
Whilst not the place you'd choose for the epicentre of your crawl(there's not a whole lot actually going on inside), prob. the top place in town for a lunchtime glass 'n' grub combo, as both are of a fine fine standard
getsit - 30 Mar 2008 14:39
we use this place as a regular lunchtime meeting place firstly because it opens at 11am.& its convenient for the stations., its very useful.
the beers are always good & the prices great for city centre.
food is usually good quality & of course it has been a no smoking pub for years before the ban.
pappadamjoe - 22 Oct 2007 16:21
Not a bad place. 3 real ales on when we visited, nothing unusual though.
Not very many in on Friday night. Staff pleasant enough okay prices. Nothing to rave about but certainly no reason to avoid it.
Nice old tiling at various places around the pub.
SW6 - 18 Jun 2007 10:23
This place is a good pub, and the no smoking factor does not make this place empty. Although all pubs will be that way soon. Nice beer at decent prices considering city centre. Its a good pub to disapear in whilst shopping and good for a drink whilst on a crawl. Not tried the food but seems good prices and usual chain offers. 7/10
seaman_max - 16 Apr 2007 08:49
Probably Birmingham's first totally non-smoking pub and all the better for it. Only ever seen two real ale's available but never had a bad pint. Staff are usually friendly too. Food is excellent value for money. Well worth a visit if you're out shopping and what to escape from the missus.
ICTGringo - 2 Jan 2007 04:17
Pleasant exterior, looks the sort of place to have MILD but no chance. Three cask bitters and the usual display of chemical kegs. Quite a nice pub for the bitter drinker but not for us so carried on with our Birmingham mini MILD trail which we started at the Wellington heading through Chinatown to the Lamp Tavern and Anchor in Digbeth then back to the Old Joint Stock. - 25 Jun 2006 20:51
A good pub, definitly above average compared to some of the other bars in this area. Good, however small selection on real ale......I quite enjoyed a broadside. Well done for introducing a complete non smoking ban !. Its a shame that all the pubs in the area couldnt be as brave and follow the lead.
snpjim - 14 Mar 2006 22:04
good little pub just where you need one when shopping with missus. Leave her shopping go for a pint here and snack then meet her later when shes finished. Staff friendly to so makes it worth while. Oh and forget the good chose of beers to try
baggie25 - 14 Mar 2006 21:51
Was pleased to find Adnams Broadside when I visited, but this is still a very average city centre sort of place. The no-smoking policy is good though.
Muzthing - 5 Feb 2006 12:07
Very reasonably priced, well-kept real ale. Also served a decent quality bottle of wine for less than a fiver!! All this, along with good, solid wholesome food and to top it off it's a Non-smoking pub. Was quiet when we visited over Easter, but deserves more local support for the smoking ban alone.
Gordie - 31 Mar 2005 18:06

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