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Selly Oak pub wars: who comes out on top?

Now, University of Birmingham students and Selly Oak fans from all across the city, I need your participation here. Which do you think is the best pub in Selly Oak?

The high street is home to three traditional pubs: The Goose, The S’oak and The Bristol Pear. Each is heaving of an evening, but their respective atmospheres, in my opinion, attract a different breed of student.

Below, in an order ranking them from worst to best, I will give you my thoughts and reasoning on which is my favourite haunt, and which I’d rather leave for a rainy day, if only to take shelter within its oversized doors.  

3. The Goose

Goose-lovers (and most likely sports fans), don’t get me wrong; it’s a decent pub.

It’s just that nine times out of ten it’s near-impossible to find a comfortable seat due to the dozens of beer-holding locals crowded around the main TV. You could say that there's a lively atmosphere, but that kind of noise just isn't for me.

This also seems to be the pub where people are least likely to buy food and, as a result, there don’t tend to be on-floor staff to clean up the spilled drinks that have created a puddle of booze just where you wanted to sit. Now you know the table was empty for a reason.

But hey, at least they have a beer garden, which could be the ideal place to go in summer rather than suffering inside.

2. The S’oak

Every time I’ve been to the S’oak, it’s because of a social event that they’re holding.

From the society-bonding exercise that is the Monday night pub quiz, to the open mics that transform it into an intimate music venue every Thursday, The S’oak offers students something other than the standard cheap food and drinks.

Another thing I’m a fan of is the decor: there’s just something about the thick carpets and portrait-strewn walls that suggests some effort has gone into making the place cosy, and let’s be honest, us students could do with some home comforts!

I’d also like to thank whoever came up with the name for the pub - that and Selly Soak, the launderette almost directly opposite. I’m not entirely sure whether it refers to the name of the area or the drinks that it sells, but it’s a creative choice either way!

1. The Bristol Pear

Since I’m a Writers’ Bloc member, I might be a little biased, but I would happily choose The Bristol Pear over The S’oak and The Goose if given a choice about where to spend my evening.

Kindly hosting the University of Birmingham’s creative writing society’s monthly spoken word night, the hilariously-named Grizzly Pear, on its top floor every first Thursday, this is the pub that I, and my fellow creative writers, frequent the most.

Although the bar is the main focus, there’s also a menu of good-quality dishes that are on par with many restaurants’.

The only downside to The Bristol Pear is that it’s always rammed - even in the morning. So unless you time it right, book a table, or have them open the function room for you, you’re unlikely to get a seat if you’re in a large group. It’s called ‘Selly Oak’s finest’ for a reason.


So that’s it for my verdict on Selly Oak’s best pub. You’re welcome to argue your own case for The Goose or The S’oak, or even bring a pub that I haven’t mentioned into the mix.

Regardless of their pros and cons, all of them offer a cheap and comfortable space for students to socialise and I recommend that you try at least a few of them before deciding on the one that suits you the most.