Sunday, 21 August 2011
#009 Country Girl, Selly Oak : 1996 to 2011
This is the pub which, over the years, I've spent most drinking time in! My first visit to the Country Girl was back in my student days when it was a proper pub, but it was a bit off my 'beaten track' so I was never a regular in those days.
Following my move to Stirchley in 1983 I became a more regular visitor to the Country Girl as it is only a 15 minute walk away. However, in those days I would go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, often into Birmingham, but going 'local' was an infrequent occurrence!
As I've grown older, the number of nights I go out drinking has dwindled (now just Friday and Saturday!), and I've become less adventurous and so the Country Girl has become, by default, my local!
It has undergone several expansions and refurbishments and when these first two pictures were taken it was still a proper pub with a Bar and a Lounge.
This photo is from 1996 and is the earliest picture that I've taken of the Country Girl.
Now it is 1998 and very little has changed. I do remember watching the second half of the 1999 Champions League Final in the Bar. Just over a year later and the Country Girl was changed beyond all recognition. Whilst the refurbishment was going on we had to visit several other establishments and became regulars at the Bell in Harborne for a while.
Then the Country Girl reopened as an Ember Inn...and I was there on opening night. As with all Ember Inns it became a one room pub done out more like a wine bar than a proper pub, but still an acceptable place to drink and chat. I don't have any photos from the early Ember days, but more recently I've taken some.
This is from 2009. The distinctive Country Girl sign has gone and the M&B sign has disappeared from the pub. Other than those changes, the outside seems to be largely untouched. Unfortunately, because of its position, it is difficult to get a good shot of the pub from the front.
Now it is 2011 and the place is still pretty much the same as before. Shortly it is due to become an Ember Pub and Dining establishment. I'll reserve judgement until I've been into one, but from a drinkers perspective I don't think this is such a good move. However, as a quiz master (not at the Country Girl) I'm thankful that the new re-branded pubs will still be including quiz nights as part of their strategy. Watch this space!