One of the West Midlands’ legendary pubs, once a regular haunt of members of the Birmingham business community, is to live again, according to its new owners.
The Grade II-listed Waterloo Hotel, on Shireland Road, in Cape Hill, sold for £150,000 – three times the guide price – when it went under the hammer at CPBigwood’s auction.
The Edwardian hostelry was built as a flagship pub-hotel in 1908 for Mitchells & Butlers, which had a brewery nearby, and dominating a corner site, it boasted a lavish Baroque front and ornate interior.
A spokesman for Zafar Rashid, who purchased the venue in association with partners, said they “fell in love with the character of the building” and planned to bring it back to life.
He said: “We want to preserve it and we are going to get professional advice on how best to do that. Our initial thoughts are that it becomes a bar/restaurant, perhaps with residential on the first and second floors.”
The spokesman for Mr Rashid promised it would be refurbished and they plan to have it up and running within 12 months.”
The pub was on the site of a one-time off-licence called Waterloo Stores, which was owned by Titus Mason, of the famous Mason’s pop company.
But it became better known as a haunt for the Birmingham business community – many of whom enjoyed many a “lost” Friday afternoon on the premises.
Among those was John James, then a lawyer with the then Edge & Ellison, who said: “You would get a lot of the great and good of Birmingham in there.”
Unfortunately, it has been shut for several years and is in a dilapidated state – but was still one of the star lots at the auction held at Aston Villa FC.
CPBigwood director Ian Tudor said: “It is something of a sad place these days – the vandals have been at work. For anyone who knew it in its heyday it is a great pity. Let’s hope it now gets the tender loving care it needs.”
When it was still in operation, real ale campaigners CAMRA described the pub thus: “The astonishing feature of the interior is the tile work. It covers the walls of the public bar – and even the ceiling. There are bands of green, blue, cream and salmon with highly decorative motifs and descending wreaths. The counter and bar back are excellent, original work. But the really spectacular room is the Grill Room in the basement. This is the restaurant and features walls and ceilings extravagantly tiled with a frieze of galleons.”