“ Address: 1 Shoplatch / Shrewsbury / SY1 1HF / West Midlands / England „
A few weeks ago I drove through Shrewsbury with my brother in law, as it was around the time of Charles Darwin's anniversary we decided to park the car and have a look around this lovely little town. After ambling around for a while we popped into the first place we saw for something to eat. The Hole In The Wall pub fit the bill nicely as it looked clean and tidy from the outside, was close to the car park and also was running a very good special offer on certain main meals.
There is a fair amount of history in this pub, while it was being refurbished recently the builders uncovered part of a 13th century mansion and there are vaults under the floor which were supposedly debtors prisons. There is also a fireplace nestled into one wall which could possibly have originally been a secret staircase leading to the upstairs of the building at the time when it was part of a large Jacobean house.
It certainly feels old when you're sitting inside, I thought it had a calm and relaxing atmosphere with low ceilings and beams as well as cosy seating and a generally nice layout.
We already knew we were going to eat from the '2 meals for £5' menu as neither of us are big eaters during the day and these looked to be of a smaller size than the regular main meals. The meals you can choose from under this offer are varied and looked really very interesting, in the end I plumped for Smothered Chicken which turned out to be a chicken breast topped with bacon, melted cheese and a deliciously tangy BBQ sauce.
The food was delicious, we waited rather longer than expected for it to be honest and this irked me a little as the man who took our order assured me our meals wouldn't take long and then proceeded to fob me off every time I asked how long it would be as we had a long drive ahead of us. Really the meals myself and my brother in law chose could have been rustled together in much less time than the 45 minutes it took for them to arrive, and as the pub wasn't particularly busy I cannot understand what the delay was!
I drank soft drinks in The Hole In The Wall as it was my turn to drive on the way home but my brother in law had a traditional ale, I cannot remember the name of it but have a feeling it was called Tim Taylor or something like that. He commented that it tasted a little stale and went to change his pint, only to find that the second one was the same so in the true English fashion he drank it anyway, all the time complaining about how his drink was spoiled!
Drinks are reasonably priced in here, while at the bar ordering our food I heard a chap ordering six pints of varying lagers and ciders which cost him just over £12 - yes, I was earwigging as I knew eventually a review would be written!
The ladies toilet was clean, not wonderfully maintained for such a historic building but adequate once you learned to ignore the three Filipino ladies who were trying on various outfits in front of the sinks. No, not in the least a slur on Filipino ladies but I did find it rather odd that the three of them sat in the ladies toilets for the full hour and a half we were in the pub - only coming out to order a drink and take it back into the toilets! Surprising the staff stood for it really as although they were not rowdy or causing trouble it was a bit of a nightmare going to the loo and squeezing past them to wash your hands and get out of the toilets!
My brother in law mentioned that the gents toilet was clean too, a feat in modern day pubs I think! There was even soap in there!
Overall, the hour and a half we spent in The Hole In The Wall was nice enough. Personally I think this pub has so much history and atmosphere that much, much more could have been made of it. As it stands it has the feel and appearance of an 'old man's local' when it could be a cosy little eaterie, even if the management were to create a little historical interest inside the pub itself it would be a step towards harnessing the buildings selling points and making it so much nicer to drink and eat in.
Legend has it that the pubs cellars were once the debtors prison in the 17th century.