Karl Daniels

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Taking advantage of the great weather,…

Having grown up in Harborne, I have a strong affinity with it. So when the girls at Cherry Tree Interiors secured a lease for a shop at the foot of the High Street, coupled with Andrea setting up a studio in the new shop, it gave me cause to visit Harborne more often.

Yesterday, I popped in to the shop to check on the refurbishment on the way back from Greta’s weekly streetdance class in Digbeth. The sun was shining and it was actually warm. In March. With The Plough situated directly opposite, it would be a crime to not go in for lunch!!

When I was young, the Plough was a ‘locals’ pub. I remember going there with my Dad for the occasional lunch of sausage, egg and chips during the school summer holidays; everybody knew everybody, men drank pints, women drank half pints. Nobody knew what a cappucino was and bar snacks were peanuts attached to cardboard with a semi-clad model behind them; the more you bought, the more you saw.  Everybody seemed to smoke and the nicotine stained anaglypta wallpaper reflected that!

It underwent an eclectic but stylish refurbishment in late 2008. The locals didn’t like it and begrudgingly moved on elsewhere. My late Dad would not have liked it!

Harborne is renowned for its pubs, they come thick and fast along the relatively small High Street. But the stand-out pub has to be the Plough in my opinion. It has been voted as one of the UK’s top 20 pubs and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s an eclectic place, the inside is intimate and the outside area is superb. It has a great selection of beers, and their food is fantastic. Pizzas and burgers form a large part of the menu, but are delicious!

Children are made very welcome. A selection of toys and games are available and sweets are sold behind the bar. The staff are extremely friendly and there are plenty of them, so you don’t need to wait long for service.

But what stands out for me is it’s incredible attention to detail. No stone has been left unturned in their attempts to maximise their customers’ experience. This list of ‘nice touches’ is vast, but the ones that stand out for me are:

There’s a display cabinet near the bar which displays original Star Wars figures (not the recent figures with the bending joints, the original ones. They’ve been played with and aren’t pristine).

When my burger was brought out, it was serviced on a wooden board (not uncommon these days I admit), but the chips were served in a mini stainless steel frying basket.

It was the warmest day of the year yesterday and the rear garden can be a bit of a suntrap. The manager brought out suncream and left bottles on the tables so parents would ensure their children were protected.

Tea cosies on all teapots. Great touch.

Condiments are placed on small wooden shelves so are lifted above the table, giving more space.

There’s a large tub by the back door with 10-15 umbrellas, so the smokers don’t get wet.

I could go on, but I think it would be better to see it for yourself if you’re ever in the area! I’m looking forward to spending quite a few summer afternoons and evenings there, highly recommended!!

Written by guest blogger: Karl Daniels

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