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Published May 1st 2018
It's table service only at the friendly pub without a bar
There is something pretty special about the newest pub in the historic Staffordshire city of Lichfield - it doesn't have a bar for a start! The Bitter-Suite Micropub, which has only been open to the public for a few months since December 2017, consists of just two cosy snug rooms, leaving no space for a traditional bar area. It is a welcome return to the use of the building as a drinking establishment as the Bitter-Suite Micropub, in Upper St John Street, is situated in the former premises of the Bridge Tavern which, I am told, closed more than 30 years ago.
The Bitter-Suite Micropub has been open just five months
Despite its position on the fringes of Lichfield city centre, the Bitter-Suite is clearly doing something right as it was pretty packed when I called in early one Saturday evening. After a quick but fruitless search for the bar, I was directed to the one remaining empty table by one of the micropub's friendly staff who, in turn, pointed out the list of available real ales and ciders on the notice boards positioned in each room. Unlike one or two other micropubs I have visited, the Bitter-Suite usually has an impressive choice of five real ales and five traditional ciders, all direct from the adjacent cellar, as well as a selection of gins and wines. Real ale buffs can see their drinks being served straight from the cask through a cellar viewing window.
One of the real ales is listed as a 'house beer' and is always available, while the other ales constantly change. The 'house beer' has been chosen because of its name - Bridge Strike Bitter, by the Burton Bridge brewery - the reason apparently being because the railway bridge next door to the pub is the sixth most struck bridge in the country. I decided on a pint of the Bridge Strike, a medium strength bitter at 4.2 percent, while my wife opted for half a pint of the guest Frizzle IPA at a slightly stronger 4.5%. The cask real ales all cost £3.50 a pint while the range of traditional ciders are £3.70 a pint. Patrons are welcome to bring their own food if they want something to eat, although the pub very generously provides complimentary bowls of crisps on the tables. Pub snacks, including crisps, are available to buy.
A fine array of real ales and traditional ciders are always available
The Bitter-Suite Micropub is located just a one minute walk from Lichfield City train station and the Bus Station, although the latter is scheduled to move in due course as part of new development work. CAMRA members can enjoy a discount of 20p per pint and 10p per half pint. Dogs are welcome at the pub, as I discovered on my visit, but there are no televisions, gambling machines or music to distract people from their beer and conversation. The Bitter-Suite is closed all day Monday and Tuesday, and is open from 5pm to 10pm on Wednesday; 12 noon to 10pm on Thursday; 12 noon to 11pm on Friday and Saturday; and 2pm to 7pm on Sunday.