The Bartons Arms

The Bartons Arms in Birmingham is renowned for its opulent, turn of the century, decor and for being home to some fine Oakham beer. What few customers may be aware of are the many rooms upstairs and the extensive cellar that lies beneath their feet.

Of course the pub itself is a large Grade 11 listed masterpiece. Built in 1901 for the princely sum of £12,000, it was intended to be the flagship of the Mitchell & Butler estate. Serving the Aston Hippodrome, it could boast guests of the quality of Laurel & Hardy, Caruso and a certain Mr Charlie Chaplin.

But times change and the Bartons was in a sorry state by the time it was rescued by Oakham Ales in 2002. I’ve visited many times since then, but have never had the pleasure of a guided tour until recently.

Under the direction of the very amiable and very knowledgeable General Manager, John Wilson, I had the opportunity to view the upstairs and the aforementioned cellar. The upper level was interesting with its boardroom and dance room, but it was below ground that really captured the imagination.

The cellar is huge and runs the entire length of the building. In fact it’s even larger than that, but the rest is now closed off. Allegedly there is a tunnel that used to run from the cellar of the original pub that was on the site and the nearby Aston Hall.

Certainly having a cellar of that size makes life easier in many ways. And the Bartons does need a good cellar as it gets through an impressive amount of beer. Nearly 100 gallons of JHB alone per week. Then there are the other Oakham ales, guest beers, cider and a surprisingly large amount of lager as well.

If you get the chance, I’d definitely recommend a look round. Don’t forget to admire the Minton-Hollins tiles and ask about the staircase that’s insured for £2M.


Leigh said…
Wow - that's a beer hall.
Tandleman said…
You could get a brewery in there. Above or below, though I suppose below is more practical.

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