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Published April 21st 2017
Splendid Historic Pub Where 'Angels' Don't Fear To Tread
Once an angel, always an angel. The Angel Inn pub in the centre of Lichfield has recently been restored to its original name after previously serving customers as Samuels for more than 40 years. The historic pub, which bears the date 1716 on its sign, had always been known as The Angel as it satisfied the needs of thirsty market traders and their customers for centuries.
The front of The Angel Inn displaying its 1716 date
It apparently changed its name to Samuels some time during the 1970s, perhaps due to the close proximity of the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Musuem. However, having been acquired by the Joule's Brewery in 2014, and subsequently refurbished, the name of the pub has since been changed back to The Angel Inn. Whatever the name, the pub has always benefited from sitting on one of the towns' busiest streets, namely Market Street, with no shortage of passing trade in what is essentially a pedestrianized area.
The pub's welcoming interior with the main bar and the beams above
Certainly The Angel Inn proudly displays its rich and historic heritage throughout the pub's welcoming interior, with what appears to be original wooden beams and having been carefully refurbished with the creation of cosy snugs and corners and real fires just like I imagine back in the days of the old-fashioned parlour pubs. The Angel Inn, which provides regular live music and also has a monthly folk session where you can bring your own instrument, is also home to a range of interesting memorabilia, as well as a free to read folder detailing some of the pub's - and the Joule's Brewery's - interesting history.
In fact, Joule's, which also runs The Duke of York, also in Lichfield, can trace its heritage back to the 1400s when monks used to brew their own beer and bless each barrel with a red cross, which still forms part of the brewery's emblem today. Joule's was bought by William Bass in 1974, who later ceased production of its ales. But Joule's was resurrected in 2010 with a new brewery in Market Drayton, Shropshire, using mineral water drawn from underneath the brewery to create its distinctive ales.
Just like its sister pub, The Duke of York, the Joule's Blonde is an excellent beer, while its accompanying Joule's Pale Ale and the darker Slumbering Monk beers are also well received. But if draft is not your fancy, then The Angel Inn also offers an amazing range of 37 beers from around the world, ranging from the USA and Mexico to China and Thailand. But be warned, some of them are extremely strong and should be confined to a single bottle.
On our arrival I was initially disappointed that there didn't seem to be much of a choice of food available. But what there was proved ample enough, and perhaps helps to retain the feel and atmosphere of the place as a parlour pub compared to some more modern public houses which look more like restaurants. The Angel Inn apparently works with a local company called 'Tart Pastries' in order to offer locally sourced home cooked bar snacks. On the day we arrived that choice consisted of a cheese or pate board served with fresh chunky bread, butter, pickles and chutneys. A 'nibble', which consists of one choice of cheese or pate, costs just £2.95, while diners can also go up to the 'platter' size made up of four cheeses or three cheeses and a pate for £9.95.
Live music is actively encouraged at The Angel Inn
My wife opted for the 'nibble' with pate, which she actually couldn't finish, while I had half a pork pie with pickle costing just £2, whereas a whole one - too much for me - would have been £3.50. Other food choices, depending on availability, include toasted sandwiches, soup, and either sage and onion or black pudding sausage rolls. It is a pub certainly worth a return visit in the not too distant future.