Drinkers waiting for this year’s Good Pub Guide to take them on a tour of Birmingham’s best watering holes will have to travel further afield after the city scored a paltry single entry in the book's latest edition.
Only The Old Joint Stock, on Colmore Row, was featured in the book’s main section after being given the thumbs up by inspectors.
There was some good news for ale fans as the guide found that the West Midlands boasts the cheapest beer prices in the country.
Despite a national increase of seven per cent on a pint, drinkers in the region pay an average £2.25 for their favourite tipple, well below the £2.88 cost of a pint in Surrey.
Sixteen entries in Warwickshire, Birmingham and the Black Country made the grade, including The Turf in Bloxwich, The Vine in Brierley Hill, The Griffin in Shustoke and The Bell at Welford-on-Avon, which was named the guide’s Warwickshire Dining Pub of the Year.
Good Pub Guide editor Fiona Stapley said: “It does seem odd that only one pub from Birmingham was featured this year but it’s not necessarily indicative of the quality of entries.
“We make our inspections on the basis of recommendations from readers so if they don’t tell us about their favourite pubs, the chances are we won’t visit them.
“It’s also fair to say that one person’s view of their favourite local might be different to another, so while we try to be as objective as we can, personal tastes vary wildly.
“We are looking for some very simple qualities; a good welcome and the basic things done properly like well-kept beer.
“Not every pub which makes the guide is a grand old inn with wooden beams and a log fire; there are plenty which are simple taverns.”
The Bell and Cross in Holy Cross, near Clent, was named Worcestershire’s Dining Pub of the Year.
Jo Narbett, who runs the period pub with husband Roger, chef for the England football team, said: “We are delighted to have won the award again it’s a great boost for business and shows us that we are keeping our customers happy.
“The guide has praised us on the things that we take a lot of pride in; a warm welcome, good real ales and a wide range of food.”
Other Midlands winners of the county dining pubs awards included the Inn at Grinshill, in Grinshill, near Shrewsbury, and The Hand and Trumpet at Wrinehill in Staffordshire.