The posh pub near Birmingham Airport with Porsches and Range Rovers outside

The Boat pub in Catherine-de-Barnes, close to Solihull's millionaire's row
The Boat pub in Catherine-de-Barnes, close to Solihull's millionaire's row -Credit:BirminghamLive

A pub near Birmingham Airport with Range Rovers and Porsches parked outside could be just the treat you're looking for - if you fancy a posh day out. Located smartly between Solihull's millionaire's rows is The Boat in the semi-rural neighbourhood of Catherine-de-Barnes.

Just a 25-minute drive from Coventry, the 19th-century pub serves a traditional British menu with open fires and a beer garden. The pub is near some of the most exclusive streets in the West Midlands, with mansions on Alderbook Road in Solihull going for an average price of £1.17 million.

Over in Dorridge, homes in Bushwood Drive average at £1.06million. The cheapest - comparatively - is Copper Beech Close, where prices are a touch under a million at £917,000.

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Senior reporter Alison Brinkworth at BirminghamLive has popped over to visit the swanky pub and give her verdict. And it really does seem quite posh there.

When she pulled up into the large car park, there was a silver Porsche straight ahead of her. She said her regular motor looked a little 'out of place' amongst the high-end designer Range Rovers. The pub is a 15-minute drive from Birmingham Airport and the NEC, off Junction 6 of the M42.

Alison visited the pub mid-week where there was a 'chilled out' vibe outside with conversations among some 'yummy mummies' and 'well-heeled' folk in designer shades. The front had a dozen tables with umbrella shades, while out back there was a charming second large beer garden with a cosy circular marquee with several fire pits.

The pub underwent a six-figure renovation in 2021, which Alison says still looks 'sparkingly new'. From the outside, The Boat has a plush country house feel with chimneys and small red brick tiles, while inside is more modern and glamourous with plenty of tables in discreet alcoves, she said.

The large circular bar was also very well-stocked. Happily, a few locals and workmen were on a break hanging out.

Diners can enjoy the outdoor beer garden area this summer at The Boat Pub
Diners can enjoy the outdoor beer garden area this summer at The Boat Pub -Credit:Emily Collis/BirminghamLive

The bar staff were described as 'very friendly' and seemed keen to 'go the extra mile' - even running downstairs to check if there was one last pack of Tyrell's Mature Cheddar and Chive Crisps. There were other flavours of the posh crisps, plus servings of mixed nuts flavoured with harissa spice or rosemary.

Alison said despite the luxury set-up and rich list location, it's a pub that feels welcoming for everyone, including families with children - even if you are just visiting for a coke and packet of crisps like she did.

Food at The Boat in Catherine-De-Barnes

Let's give you a taste of what's on offer. There's roast chicken and chorizo with new potatoes, spinach and saffron aioli for £18.

There's also slow-cooked ox cheek with garlic mash, red cabbage, crispy shallots and red wine jus for £25. The dessert special is peanut butter parfait with caramelised banana, candied pistachio and chocolate and sea salt ice cream for £8.

Diners rave about the food online and some five-star Google reviews say the fish pie is a must. Pizzas and cocktails are popular too. Chris Harris recommended it, saying: "Beautiful surroundings and the meals were excellent. We were disappointed there wasn’t Cabernet Sauvignon on the wine list, but our other choice hit the spot."

Prices at The Boat Pub

Alison says prices are slightly on the expensive side, but there's a lot of variety and some of the mains are more reasonable. The menu includes pizzas, burgers, cheese plates and steaks along with Stix snacks.

Small dishes range from £7.50 to £10 and sharing dishes like a brie is £16. Pizzas are between £13.50 and £16.50, a cheeseburger with fries is £16 and a pea and broad bean risotto with salted lemons, mint and watercress pesto is £15.

Steaks are £29 for a sirloin up to £38 for a dry-aged 16oz T-bone. They are all served with chunky chips, roasted beef tomato, portobello mushroom and herb crumb, a beer-battered pickled onion ring and a choice of peppercorn and brandy sauce, chimichurri or lemon & roast garlic butter.

Cocktails are around £9.50 to £10 and, no surprise, there's a long 'fizz' list, including a bottle of Bolly. The Bollinger Special Cuvée is £100 but that's a fraction of the price for the bottle of Dom Pérignon Vintage at £300.

There's a long wine list starting from £7 for a small glass. Beers are priced from £5.50 for a Guinness and £5.75 for Estrella Damm or £6.25 for a Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Overall verdict

The fully stocked bar which oozes elegance
The fully stocked bar which oozes elegance -Credit:BirminghamLive

Alison rated the service as 'excellent' and praised the luxurious surroundings - from the toilets with their vase of fresh flowers to huge beer gardens filled with smart garden furniture. She said it feels like a special trip out of the city to a 'well-groomed' establishment catering to the rich and famous.

There's a touch of class to it, she explained. Yet the real attraction are the beer gardens - especially with summer upon us.

Where to find The Boat Pub

  • Location: 222 Hampton Lane, Catherine-de-Barnes, Solihull B91 2TJ - 25 minutes from Coventry via the A45 with postcode B91 2TJ

  • Opening times: 9am-11pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-11.30pm Friday and Saturday, and Sunday 9am-10.30pm

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