skip nav  

Old Swan, Netherton

back to pub details

user reviews of the Old Swan, Netherton

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

Superb pub. Tope quality home-brewed ales. The Original (3.5% abv) was refreshing and very tasty - and just £2.40 a pint. The food was also excellent with a large plate of braised lamb's liver and streaking bacon with mash and four different vegetables and gravy for just £6.25. A great place with a friendly welcome and loads of character. 10/10.
wobblybob - 17 May 2018 21:01
A destination visit. Mrs M asked what I wanted for my birthday.

You to drive me to Ma Pardos was the answer.

First visit and it lived up to expectations completely. Pumps are unlabeled but I did notice chalk board and saw that there was Original or something else unremembered. Looks like I should have ordered by numbers.

Now I know where it is, I will be back!
Mappiman - 11 Aug 2017 13:20
I've been going to this pub since day one of it reopening when Tim Newey took over its reins. I'd love to be able to say how poor the beer and food is, also of the total lack of respect from staff and customers but I just can't. Bostin grub and beer with a rowdy, but lovable bunch, of regulars. Traditional Victorian style decor no fruit machines no music just a 'proper' pub! Restaurant upstairs serves great 'tuck' and cobs ain't bad. Beers not too bad either ask for a 1&4 and you're in with the regulars!
Beerbelly69 - 28 Oct 2014 18:36
I went for a job interview in Netherton today and to my utter delight my possible new workplace is a couple of minutes away from Ma Pardoe's.The first time I went in the Old Swan was nearly forty years ago, and I was privileged to actually meet Doris. She entered the main bar looking like Queen Victoria, and I swear the locals tugged their forelocks and murmured "Evenin' ma". She was gracious enough to autograph a beer mat for me!
scoobybooze - 19 Jun 2013 16:29
It was my first time in here for a few years and oh dear Lord, why have I not been back before now? The beer, the customers, atmosphere, the decor, everything about it makes this one of the finest pubs in the country. If you have any love of proper pubs and good beer you must spend some time here, either in the world-famous bar or one of the back rooms.

Doris is still sitting in that great snug in the sky with a half of Original and a cheese cob, looking down on her kingdom and smiling with approval.
djw - 12 Feb 2013 20:59
This is a great pub, lots of atmosphere and lots to see. Almost a museum but still a good pub. Well worth a detour. Good value lunches too. The restaurant and parking are in the rear - this is a typical "lounge" bar. The main bar is often busier and is probably more interesting.
Sparks2000 - 25 Oct 2012 15:32
Only managed to call in at lunchtime, Thursday 5th of July. Well worth the detour on the drive to Sedgley in order to visit, on the recommendation of the reviewers here, and not disappointed in the least.
It really is a gem of a pub with a very good, local, easy-going atmosphere and friendly barstaff. To describe this place as a timewarp would be true but would also do it an injustice as in no way does it feel like a museum, as that phrase might imply, it feels very much alive.
Sampled the Entire which was marvelous and enjoyed a very nice cheese and onion cob to boot, sat in the window of the main bar. A very enjoyable fleeting visit, though must try to engineer a longer visit in the evening sometime, as I would really like to sample all of the range and more of the atmosphere.
Really nice to see that a traditional pub can survive and thrive. Agree with all the glowing comments here, one of the best I've visited.
Wirral_RealAlians - 14 Jul 2012 11:00
Our second pub on our tour of the black country. Very nice homebrewed ales, we also had lunch here. Very reasonalble on beer & food prices. The old bar is a must see with its old stove and interesting locals. Don't pass this one by
hywel2002 - 23 Jul 2011 10:54
Managed to get here last weekend for the first time in several years. The main bar has a tiled entrance, wood panelling and a tiled ceiling featuring a swan. A separate entrance leads to a lounge and restaurant with multiple seating areas. Unusually, there are no pumpclips. Beers available on my visit were Olde Swan Original, Dark Swan, Entire, Pardoe's and Bumble-Hole. Addlestones is the cider. A traditional Black Country pub that is well worth a visit.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jun 2011 20:54
very fine pint of dark swan @ just 2.10pint was quaffed,very nice pub with friendly service7/10
fat_beer_badger - 19 Mar 2011 18:39
Alas, unlike the previous commentator, I will not be in a position to visit this pub again with friends in the near future, having only managed to get here last week by virtue of a recent narrowboat holiday on the nearby canal. I had heard of "Ma Pardoe's" and knew of its legendary brew-pub history, and I now know exactly what I'm missing. The complete range of 3 Old Swan brews (as detailed by Mr Bonser 1 year ago) were available at extremely competitive prices (1.80 to 2.40) plus the latest seasonal offering for Autumn which was due to begin officially a couple of days later. All were very easy drinking ales, and covered a range of styles; happily we were in situ for long enough to sample all and they were well-kept, if a little lacking in real bite compared to some of its hoppier, more radical Southern counterparts, but that is not really a fair critique as the quality of the brews is simply different rather than inferior. To us they represented exceedingly good value, and were good for an early-start session.

The place was an absolute dream for traditional pub lovers who prefer to do their suppage in a cosy, comfortable time-warp, which betrays very little of the present world in its decor and layout and hopefully that will never alter. It boasts a large drinking area, with walls bedecked by old brewery/boozer memorabilia, and a wonderful photograph of the aforementioned proprietress resplendent in 1920s garb. Quite a looker in her day, actually. The pub has various smaller drinking snugs accessible from the corridor at the side. One could easily bury oneself in here and be willingly forgotten.

Bar staff were smartly-attired and contrary to other reports were favourable to us, and provided good service. Indeed, we chanced our arm and asked for a quick tour of the small tower brewery at the back, which proved worthwhile as they kindly agreed to show us around, despite the fact that they were brewing at the time. The brewery is fascinating, with its old-fashioned accoutrements (including a wooden tun which they have to keep moist to stop it leaking!), and homely, small-scale activity. The brewer was a mild-mannered quiet sort of cove who was clearly very good at his job; you got the feeling he'd been doing it for decades and probably his father before him. There was a whiff of malt but much more subtle than many small breweries, and the whole place exuded a character which most industrial-estate-based modern micros simply cannot emulate. It was a real bonus to be granted access to view it in action.

Food was available, albeit no-nonsense basic pie-orientated fare, which had we not had other plans would have been useful, especially at equally low prices as the beer.

Really this was chalked up by myself and my other 7 crew members as one of the best pub experiences of our holiday (actually I could cut the word "pub" as most of our experiences off the water were in pubs!), and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who truly loves the features I and others have described on these reviews. A gem on the coal face, almost literally.

TWG - 29 Sep 2010 16:48
One of the best pubs I have ever visited - Swan Dark 4.2 % @ 1.90 a pint was excellent - the bar is very interesting - just over a mile walk from Cradley Heath station - will be visiting with friends to this excellent establishment in the very near future. Also the customer service/bar staff are a credit to their profession.
KeithP - 15 Aug 2010 18:08
Hard to add much to previous reviews - a "must visit" pub if in the West Midlands. The weaker beers are still under 2 a pint. Service was quick although we did haveto ask for top ups - which were given with comment.
cheshirecat - 26 Jun 2010 10:08
A real treasure, comprising of a maze of rooms in what must originally have been two separate buildings. The lounge bar is entered from underneath the embossed swan sign on the left-hand side, with another door in the larger part of the building to the right which boldly proclaims "Pure Home Brewd Beers" (with its old-fashioned spelling of brewed). The public bar is justly renowned for its well-preserved interior which is full of curiosities ranging from the enameled tiles on the ceiling to an ancient wighing machine and a modern 'backwards clock'. No clips on the four pumps, but the four regular house beers are listed on the blackboard (including the execellent Dark Swan at 2.40), together with the local gastronomic delicacy - home-made scotch eggs. Rather out of the way, but one of the 'must visit' Black Country pubs.
rpadam - 5 Jun 2010 16:36
The landlord Tim has returned Ma Pardoes to its previous position as one of the best pubs in the black country.

You have a classic building (especially the bar) humourous staff and customers, excellent Olde Swan beers brewed on site, always served in good condition, and also very good quality and reasonably priced food (try the gammon or scampi).

Difficult to beat!!
Andythebaggie - 3 Dec 2009 08:50
Another famous Black Country institution this - and a must for the first time visitor to the West Midlands.

Older drinkers may recall that, in the early 70's when CAMRA was formed, there were less than half a dozen home brew pubs active, of which the Old Swan was one. Whilst it has not brewed on site continuously since that time, it does now, having recommenced in 2001. The pub sign now bears the name - "Inn Business" - not sure who they are.

The pub is situated a couple of miles outside Dudley - on a frequent bus route incidentally - and has been expanded into the building next door on the left since my previous visit in the early 80's.

The pub features in CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors for its unspoilt public bar, featuring an enamelled swan - motiffed ceiling, old fittings, a stove and an antique "try your weight" weighing machine. Above this weighing machine is an enamelled sign telling us that "the Ales brewed at this establishment are the purest in the borough" and that they are "brewed by a medalist and certificated brewer". Of note also, although probably more recent, is a back to front clock over the bar. The public bar is where beer and conversation rule and, on my recent Sunday lunchtime visit, the atmosphere felt akin to that of an old style Scottish "drinking shop".

Round the back behind the public bar are several cosy snugs, served via a hatch from the public bar, which are traditionally furnished, comfortable and much quieter. A corridor - the walls of which bear framed certificates awarded to the beers at CAMRA festivals - leads to an outside drinking area at the back with a smokers shelter behind the newer part of the pub.

On the real ale front, there 4 pumps, all unclipped, but the home brewed beers are detailed on a blackboard and range from Old Swan Bitter ( 3.5% at 1.80p ) through to Bumblehole ( 5.2% at 2.40p ) . I found the Old Swan Bitter rather thin and bland, but both the Bumblehole and the Entire ( 4.4% at 2.20p) were excellent tasty pints in good condition. The pub has been a GBG regular in recent years.

Do make the effort of visiting this one when you can.
JohnBonser - 28 Sep 2009 12:56
Fantastic pub architecture, the service from the bar staff is also worth a mention, they took the 25 pints being ordered (I kid you not) from our coach party in their stride and even had the time to get me a taxi as I had to depart all too early. Oh and the beer was both cheap and lovely. An absolute must visit pub if you are in the area.
Abteilung - 28 Jun 2009 18:41
Renowned Black Country brewpub that features on CAMRA's National Inventory of historic pub interiors. A welcome sight after a dingy walk through the Netherton tunnel, it's pleasantly rustic rather than spectacular, although the original stoves in both the cosy front room and the rear snug (on a different level) are well worth seeing. The beer is home brewed and is displayed on a blackboard rather than pump clips. It's excellent and very good value, I tried Bumble Hole and it went down a treat. Out of the way but worth the trip from Dudley.
Carlurmston - 23 Jun 2009 13:09
Just about as good as a pub can be.
BUFFETBORE - 4 Jun 2009 13:42
As an American with a Black Country wife, I visit the Old Swan about once a year when visiting the UK. It's perhaps my ver favorite pub anywhere. And the beer is wonderful, and a great value for money. The Original is an incredible beer for only about 3.6% strength. The food is great, if you arrive early enough to get some before it sells out.

We own a terraced house just down the street from Pardoe's, currently rented out. Hopefully we'll be living there in future, and thus Pardoe's will only be steps away!
Camfinch - 21 Jan 2009 18:58
A pub that really can be described as unique - from the gigantic tiled swan on the ceiling of the public bar through to the home brewed beer of the Olde Swan brewery which is enjoyable and cheap too (and in the Black Country, the word 'cheap' is a whole different concept for someone from Berkshire).

Beer is best drunk in the cosy rear snug, after a ten minute tour taking in all the CAMRA National Inventory-listed fixtures and fittings.

Well worth a visit. Again, I was only able to spend a small amount of time here but will endeavour to return.
Quinno - 13 Oct 2008 19:47
What a great pub, always part of our Black Country crawl - shame we only get an hour here, so it's 2 pints then we're off. I had the Original & the Dark Mild, both under 2 and both lovely - 2.50 for indifferent GK IPA in Buckinghamshire - I live in the wrong place. Fantastic interior and it's nice to spend some time in the quieter back room behind the bar. Part of some bland looking terraced housing but don't be fooled, inside it's paradise.
Booze_Allen - 30 Jun 2008 18:39
Where can I possibly begin? Under my alias' BeerBolshevik, BolshevikBoozer and currently BolshevistBoozehound, I have attempted in my own small way to bring pressure to bear upon the worst doss holes in the UK and at the same time expose the evil swine who water (nay neglect) the workers beer. In my selfless exploits I've travelled near and far, and on 23rd December 2007 I had a great reward.

Very rare is true love. Indeed, so good is this pub I must invoke Shakespeare;
"Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate"

What more apt description of a beautifully maintained pub, serving tasty Pardoes Black Widow at 6.7% and delightful Bumble Hole at the 5% mark. The landlord is a gent who has nutured a loving child. I was overcome with joy at finding this place, its well worth the journey. In fact, its a good point of call to get twisted before heading into Dudley or back towards brum.

No swine, no bummers, no food and few women in here. Just great beer, pork scratchings and plenty of character.

Mr Landlord, I salute you Sir! Inquilab Zindabad!
BolshevistBoozehound - 28 Dec 2007 19:06
Spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon working my way through all the home brewed beers, all excellent and to get a pint of bitter for 1.70 is very rare indeed in ripoff Britain. A Black Country institution, this is a suprb pub.
julestrainspotter - 19 Nov 2007 10:35
The 2007 Camra GBG mentions this pub in its National Inventory listing.
lad_newton - 3 Oct 2007 09:45
Cracking pub and atmosphere with a large range of Real Ale, plenty of interest throughout, check out the tiled ceiling in the front bar. The Landlord was so pleased with the atmosphere we created that he did a turn on the piano, brilliant.
The hand made pork pies are a must too.
imdownthepub - 17 Jun 2007 12:05
It has been a long-held ambition to visit this legendary pub, don't know why it has taken so long...Finally managed it this weekend and wasn't disappointed in the slightest. Mistimed our journey from Reading slightly and ended up waiting outside at 10.50am for them to open, trying not to look too much like alkies! What greeted us promptly at 11.00 was magical. Fantastic interior, like a living museum, wonderful tin roof and individual rooms everywhere, each with their own bar or hatch to the main bar. Very friendly staff, spuerbly conditioned beer, especially the Entire.
If that is right about the the local CAMRA branch, then something is seriously amiss. with their procedures and opinions. We are CAMRA members of many years standing and this oasis ticks every box ever created for us.
Gristy - 29 Jan 2007 08:58
I do not know what problem Camra have with this pub (I think it's personal) that's caused them to drop it from the Good Beer Guide, although they have put in the Wetherspoons in Wolverhampton (WHY!!!). We love the pub, the staff and customers are always friendly and the beers are wonderful (the same as always).

We eat in the restaurant and the food was amazing with very efficient waiting staff.

Come on Dudley Camra get your tastebuds sorted.

crosswordqueen - 30 Oct 2006 11:49
Fantastic pub, the ales are superb. And the food is probably the best for miles - Sunday lunches are a must. Well done Tim and Co!
petem111 - 29 Aug 2006 11:29
A proper Black Country Pub, very busy. Ma Pardoes DARK SWAN MILD is one of the best drinks you can get. It's brewed here and only occassionally goes out elsewhere as a guest. The only other place to get this very rare MILD as a regular is at the Falcon in Willenhall. - 8 May 2006 15:36
Wonderful brew-pub, which is back on fine form after a checkered
history. it has even recreated the sadly missed Holt Plant and Deakin Entire. Out of the way but well worth a 'pilgrimage'.
Uncle_Dunkel - 24 Feb 2006 16:38
If you visit this pub, its for the beer & food not "water & your own food"
pappadamjoe - 7 Oct 2005 17:07
Visited this pub for the first time this week, lovely day so sat in the court yard at back. Noise from the pump/cooler very noticable, but my main concern and the reason I have visited this site - Due to being on serious anti-biotics at present, I was drinking soda water with ice and a slice by the pint (you would not begin to understand this hardship unless you knew me!)
the cost of said pint 1.40!!! I could not believe it, for WATER, needless to say drank tap water after that, and ate my own food on their premises out of sheer mischief!!
carolyn - 19 Aug 2005 11:28
Better known as "Ma Pardoes". Mrs Pardoe used to own it. there is so much to learn about this place that you have to visit. food id fabulous, you must book a bar table most luchtimes. the beer is incredable. most of it is brewed in the micro brewery behind the pub. very old & full of history. a must for anyone touring the black country
pappadamjoe - 14 Feb 2005 12:25

got anything to say about this pub?

Please read our reviews policy before posting.
Only registered users can post reviews. Please log in. If you don't have an account yet, register here.