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For two days I had been serving up culinary delights for a private party but not a morsel of the fine food I cooked had passed my lips, so by the close of play, I was rather famished and ready for a decent meal. In light of my recent unfortunate dining out experiences, I approached the concept of dining out with trepidation. I found my self in Ironbridge home of the rather well known and commendable Blists Hill (Victorian  town) and after a quick drive through the town it became apparent that parking, especially for two vans, was going to prove difficult so I headed to a pub I have passed many times but never ventured into, a privately owned pub, by the name of The Bird in Hand.

 

Upon walking into the pub I was pleasantly surprised by how well-kept and clean the establishment was. The bar gleamed and the tables were clean. Indeed there was no sign of a sticky table nor dog-eared beer mat. How delightful I thought, a venue without flies, dust and sticky carpets! It was coming up for 9 pm, but the owner kindly said that he would still serve us food, but was unable to griddle anything.

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I enjoyed a pleasant drink and enjoyed the traditional pub surroundings whilst perusing the menu and specials. I didn’t opt for anything exotic, indeed quite the opposite a good old vegetable lasagne with chips, but this arrived as expected hot and edible. This was exactly what I needed a well-earned dose of pub grub, just how it used to be and just how it should be:  simple and well cooked.  No shrivelled up salads, no dreadful sauces and attempts at dishes fresh from a microwave just friendly service and honest pub grub.

 

My children enjoyed egg and chips, albeit it scrambled eggs because the griddle had been turned off and my husband perfectly acceptable beef chilli. We left the pub feeling happy to pay the bill and contented. Now, this has become a rarity because in recent months we have experienced some shocking food and service. My only sadness was that the place wasn’t busy in fact they were waiting for us to leave so that they could close. The owner explained that after 33 years in the same family the pub was up for sale and that it didn’t warrant the running costs to stay open after 9 pm during the week. The Bird in Hand at Ironbridge is one of the few remaining privately owned pubs, it will be a great shame to see it go and I hope that a chain doesn’t snaffle it up like it has so many of the other pubs on the Gorge.

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Alas, I and the present owner shared our concerns for the independent future of the pub, but I urge you to visit this little gem of a pub before it is lost. It was decorated in a naturally eclectic and quirky fashion and delivered with genuine service and professionalism that is becoming as rare as hen’s teeth nowadays. I could really ramble on about the loss of the traditional pub and demise of the wet trade, but alas time and ink thankfully prevent me.

 

The Bird in Hand , Waterloo St, Ironbridge, Telford TF8 7HG