History has a way of reminding you of what once was, and how times have changed for the better. You might think that is an unrelated statement considering the title of this article, but hear me out. Pubs used to be the much-loved watering hole for local residents. That much hasn't changed, but a lot of modern-day pubs, gastro or otherwise seem to have lost a sense of 'togetherness', if you'll excuse the colloquialism. Harborne's The Plough, however, is leading the way for pubs this side of Birmingham. Paying homage to the way pubs used to be, it is paving the way, for a better, more social pub experience, and I'm a regular.
On the outside it looks like an Edwardian town house, but inside it's another world. Once inside, The Plough becomes something altogether different; it looks like a wooden cabin in the Canadian Rockies, but instead of a mounted Elk on the panelled walls, there are buckets, which gives it a slightly Texan twang.
The Plough has a traditional quality about it, from the service, down to the architecture, the pub has a palpable sense of proprietary and clearly favours the customer.
That's where the traditional aesthetic features end, however because The Plough is at the forefront of modern dining. Think easy Sunday's coupled with a rustic approach and you've got it in one. It is very now in terms of food trends. They've been jazzing up the much loved pizza, but cooking them in a stone baked oven, and injecting flavour and style with less than traditional toppings.
Any Harborne local worth their salt will tell you about their pizzas - they're famous. They don't shout about their food, nor do they have Michelin-starred chefs in the kitchen, no, but the chefs are talented and serve a mean slice of well-cooked dough.
If you're not a pizza fan, however their alternatives are just as good, and everyone who lives nearby will tell you their breakfasts are pretty special. Whilst I tucked into a pizza however, a friend of mine enjoyed a fish finger sandwich, which was served with home made tartar sauce. It's the home-made touches, which do it for me.
Fish finger sarnie
The atmosphere in The Plough is irreplaceable; all of the cool kids who roll around Harborne, those who attend the nearby UCB university are found gathered round a table of beers, as well as the suited and booted grown up who live in the nearby houses. The various customers make for a lively, yet relaxed feel to the place. The Plough is atmospheric without being rowdy, but cool enough to hang out in, with either a coffee, cuppa, cocktail or glass of vino.
I'm always down with a village vibe because it makes for a more comfortable experience; not everyone is a back-straight, knife and fork citizen after all, and really, you can only eat pizza with your hands - it's only right.