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Who's off to the pub tomorrow? with hondo on the Pub Forum

The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham

176 Edmund Street
B3 2HB
Phone: 01212003310

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Delboy 20 left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Impressive Nicholson's pub which is very handy for Snow Hill station and I call in quite often before getting my train home. It always seems to be busy and I have never had a bad pint in here. There is also usually a good choice of beers on. I remember how bad this pub was before Nicholson's took it over! Well worth a visit in my opinion.

On 16th December 2018 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 1049 recommendations about 1010 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Moby Duck left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Typical Nicholson's pub with a rather poor beer selection,only a choice of four beers, that said my Yorkshire Brewery Blackout porter was a decent beer, the food was also decent despite the best part of a half hour wait. A pub that serves its purpose but one I wouldn't rush back to.

On 8th October 2017 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1325 recommendations about 1311 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Old Contemptibles

An imposing Victorian building occupying a large corner site, the building has notably proportioned windows and elegant stonework. Named in "honour" of Kaiser Wilhems derogatory insult about the British Expeditionary Force in WW1 and celebrated by the murals of soldiers from the Great War above the bar. The main room has the bar opposite on entering, a dark wood affair that looks relatively recent, this room is an elongated L-shape and has a polished boarded floor, a blood red Lincrusta style ceiling and elaborate cornices. Leaded obscure windows with stained glass inserts, the entrance lobby has hops draped over the canopy. There is a large old looking Bass mirror and various bits of framed stuff, globe lights and fancy chandeliers hanging from chains. A ledge had seasonal daffodils in a series of glasses which looked the part, the 6 Nations flags though spoiled the rather reverent feeling interior a bit I thought. Seating at red leather button backed banquettes and the usual chairs although there is the occasional high table. Another snug like room to the rear is The Campaign Room and has more WW1 militaria but seemed to be dining only with some tables already reserved.
Being a Nicholson's pub you generally will get some decent beer choices and here was not an exception. 10 handpumps, nine were on; three from Sharp's, Two Tides, Atlantic and the ubiquitous Doom Bar, Nicholson's Pale Ale (St Austell), Purity Pure Ubu, Brain's Rev James, Blackwolf Brewery Florida Black plus Thatcher's Cheddar Valley cider and Weston's Rosie's Pig. One missing, I think a pump was unclipped or perhaps reversed.
Previous reviews are mixed, certainly regarding busy evening times but at teatime on a Monday this was a very pleasant spot indeed.

On 19th April 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Old Contemptibles

2nd visit here - an once again, the beer was not in great condition. I know Purity range pretty well and the gold here was just slightly off. The Purity UBU has half turned around.

Has all the ingredients - great decor, great architecture. Maybe I've just been unlucky.

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On 24th December 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 276 recommendations about 275 pubs]

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Mark Davey left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Massive old Victorian pile of a pub, that was packed at 7pm on a Saturday evening. Decent beer, but the locals out on the lash somewhat spoilt the place, especially the idiot who thought it was a real laugh to urinate in the toilet wash hand basin!! Won't be rushing back.

On 28th April 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 292 recommendations about 276 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Another of Birmingham’s impressive pubs under the Nicholson stable and we headed here in hope of being fed after not getting into the dining area of the Old Joint stock.
The pub is well described by PSM below and fortunately we managed to get a seat in the aforementioned dining area to the left of the pub when one of the serving staff allowed us to utilise a table that was booked for later on in the evening on the presence that we would be done and dusted before it was needed, immediately accelerating him into ‘top bloke’ category by my reckoning.
Decent enough pint of St Austell’s Proper job and the two pies we had off the standard Nicholson menu hit the spot as well..
Nice pub this, liked it here..

On 9th March 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1699 recommendations about 1648 pubs]

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Al Bundy left this review about The Old Contemptibles

A nice pub with a sort of "J" shaped bar. 15 handpumps dispensed 9 real ales/cider. Interior descriptions elsewhere. Had a couple of tellies showing the Rugby World Cup.

On 23rd September 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3381 recommendations about 3299 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Ornate Nicholson's pub with quite a dark interior. 8 real ales and food served.

On 2nd August 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2693 recommendations about 2637 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Old Contemptibles

Another of Birmingham's Nicholson's outlets, the Old Contemptibles takes its name from the nickname given to the British Expeditionary Force and is handily located to the side of Snow Hill station. It's a large, sprawling pub that has undergone recent refurbishment and was packed on my Saturday evening visit with lots of people who looked like they were off to a rock concert. You enter through the corner door into a bare boarded bar area with plush banquettes on both side, including some on a slightly raised section to the right. The windows along the front are huge and have decorative obscured glasswork. The servery runs along the back wall with what I assumed was a section of original gantry with an arm that extended out into the room, acting as part of an old doorway and partitioning wall, now lined with hops. There are large paintings of the aforementioned armed forces in action behind the bar, extending up to the very high ceiling which is painted in a dark shade with a gold frieze running beneath and hung with some suitably grand chandeliers. The mid section of the pub is much the same, but has some round copper topped tables in front of a hop lined cabinet that has beer books, bottles and tankards on display. The left side of the pub has a mix of banquette and tub chair seating to the front and high tables and stools closer to the bar. There is an excellent photo montage on the left hand wall which pays homage to the pub's war time tenants and is well worth a look. There are more impressive chandeliers here, each set into a decorative ceiling rose, although these have been lost somewhat under the dark paint they've been covered with. The room extends to the rear on this side, into what could be described as the dining area which has some nice wood panelling, lots of standard tables and chairs and old photos of the local area on display.
Nicholson's usual decent ale range was available here with the handpulls dispensing Nicholson's Pale Ale, Stewart's Dakota, Sharps Doom Bar and Atlantic, Purity Ubu and Saddler's JPA, plus two real ciders. The JPA was in pretty good shape and served by one of the well drilled bar team who handled the large crowd very well.
This is another good Nicholson's pub with some interesting features and a reliable ale range. It's very handy for a quick pint before leaving from Snow Hill station and a good solid option to include on any crawl around the city.

On 17th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2468 recommendations about 2468 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Old Contemptibles

An imposing red brick Nicholsons outlet with impressive high Victorian stylings within. Well reviewed below so will keep it brief. Enter to the main bar with a high ceiling, up a step past a divider to a further room with a dining area off to the right. Visual highlights include; WWI wall murals, large marble fireplace, frosted leaded windows, dark wood bar and back, maroon leather banquettes, lovely gold leaf cornices, dark green walls, heavy velvet curtains. Clientèle on my 2pm visit mainly business types on late lunches - plenty of money being flashed around as this seems to be the local pub of choice of the middle-aged manager. An impressive ale selection 8+, my Adnams Ruby was in good form. Also a couple of ciders from Westons. Incongruous piped music spoiled the grandeur of the pub, as is usual in Nicholsons (why not have something a little more traditional and relaxing during the daytime at least?). The combination of interior and beer selection makes this one another Brum must-visit.

On 13th November 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3997 recommendations about 3985 pubs]

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