Friday 11th November 2016
This little pub has been around since April of 2016, yet is still not particularly well known outside its immediate catchment area. Everyone from Greater Birmingham I spoke to during the weekend I was in the West Midlands had not heard of it. When I visited just after 18.00, it was absolutely packed and once one group left they were replaced by new visitors. I was told it was always like this on Friday and Saturday nights, yet the owner thought he could do with more customers on Wednesday and Thursday.
It seemed to me that a lot of those coming in were new to the pub and are investigating it for the first time.
It certainly looks welcoming from the street with its lights illuminating the pavement on this cold and wet evening. The sound of animated chatter from inside is probably the best recommendation for any pub. All of those first-time visitors seemed to like the experience.
Once inside I found many similar features to other micropubs yet also, some differences. To my left as I entered the front door was the main seating area, with typically mismatched seating. In front of me I found a very small counter. Because the room was so full, this is where I ended up.
There were a number of cooled casks on a stillage to the right of the room behind this “bar”.
What was a bit unusual was the open plan nature of the pub, as there are some more tables and chairs behind the counter. Basically, that was just a place to park a beer or whatever the customer ordered, whilst collecting their money.
There are several framed prints on the wall that appear to be advertisements for various varieties of hops.
The Wildcat Tap opened on Saturday 9th April 2016 and the brains behind it belong to Liam Scallon. I met him that evening. Yet, thinking about it I was almost destined to, as he runs the pub as a one-man band. The real ethos of the micropub revolution is that you can do this and still make a reasonable amount of money. As the founder of the movement, Martyn Hillier says: “keep it simple”.
He explained that he opened it on a shoestring budget. His major expense was the cooling equipment and the stillage. He prepared the former shop for its new use by himself and explained that now that there was a cash flow coming in he was going to decorate the pub properly, not that I thought there was anything wrong with it. He thought he might have to close for a few extra days to get the work done.
Although the Wildcat is run on minimalistic lines, its range of offerings is greater than the original micropubs. Liam sells spirits, “craft” keg beers and wines.
However, there are always four cask ales to be enjoyed and this is all that matters. In fact his broad range of drinks is good business as I saw at least five gin and tonics sold using unusual gins and very posh tonic water.
As said, there are four cask beers. They had Big Hand (Wrexham, North Wales) Super Tidy IPA (4.0%); Marble (Manchester) Carefully Planned Pale Ale (4.8%); Siren (Wokingham, Berkshire) Breakfast Stout (6.0%) and I have forgotten the other but I think it was also from Siren, their Undercurrent (4.5%). There were also two true ciders: Hogan’s (Alcester, Warwickshire) Hazy Rays Cider (3.9%) and Ross-on-Wye (Peterstow, Herefordshire) Browns and Norman Cider (7.2%, I think).
This pub is well worth visiting and is easily reached from Birmingham City centre.
The Wildcat Tap, 1466 Pershore Road, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2NT.
Wednesday-Friday: 17.00-23.00; Saturday: 12.00-23.00; Sunday: 12.00-18.00; Monday-Tuesday: Closed.
The pub is easy to get from Birmingham New Street station to Bournville station.
Trains are operated by London Midland. Monday to Friday every 10 minutes, every 15 minutes in evening.
The Saturday service is similar. On Sunday trains are every 30 minutes.
At Bournville station, assuming you arrive from city centre, walk to the exit at in the direction of travel.
The Worcester & Birmingham Canal should be on your left. At top of the slope turn left into Mary Vale Road. Walk down this road to Pershore Road and turn right. You will see pub on the other side after 100 metres.
Buses 45 and 47 also serve Pershore Road with stops near to the pub.