Saturday, 24 September 2011
#018 The Dubliner, Digbeth : 1998 to 2011
This is the seventh in my 'Birmingham Eastside' series.
When I first came to Brum as a student in the late 70's this was the Barrel Organ, but I never visited it. There are some reminiscences of the old Barrel Organ from the 1980's here when it was a popular music venue as well. I'm not entirely sure when it changed it's name to The Dubliner, but when I took this photo in 1998 it had been that for a few years.
I still had never set foot inside the place until 19th September 2002. We were returning from our second trip up the Caldon Canal. We had planned to go to Chester, but a lock gate had 'blown out' ahead of us on the Shropshire Union Canal and we were forced to make an alternative plan.
Often the penultimate night of our canal trips is spent in Birmingham and, in those days, I tried to visit pubs that we'd never been to before. The Dubliner was one of the pubs we visited that night. My only two observations that survive are that it was cavernous inside and the lager was the most expensive of the night! One pint was enough!
In 2006 it was the victim of an arson attack and didn't reopen until February 2008 as reported here. I have been back since the reopening, but again only stayed for one pint. It was about 9:30 on a Saturday night and the place was virtually empty. A disco was being set up, there was a bouncer on the door and, in the Gents, a bloke was setting up his range of perfumes and emollients for later in the evening! We discovered that they had a licence until 4 am! I'd like to say that I've become too old for that sort of scene...but I think I've always been too old for it!!
In 2011 it is still there and still thriving. It looks pretty much like it did in 1998, but closer inspection shows that the windows are new (not surprisingly) and the Ansells sign has gone (praise be!). Next door is the completely rebuilt
Digbeth Birmingham Coach Station.