our pub of the season, spring 2023
the tenth lock, brierley hill
I don't know whether it is the location, the quality of food and drinks, or the landlord and landlady and their team which make a pub that little bit more special than others. In the case of The Tenth Lock, it is all three factors which make the difference.
The location of The Tenth Lock is excellent, being right beside the bottom lock of a flight which runs down from Merry Hill towards the Stourbridge Canal. There are eight locks. Which leads one to question what happened to the Ninth Lock, and why the pub is called the Tenth. The pub has a back garden which overlooks the 7th lock, and the car park opens directly onto the canal, so it is very handy for boaters. There is even a secluded mooring spot just over the lock, enough for two boats, and with a very convenient layby next to it where you can safely park your car if you have one.
wining and dining
The pub is a Marstons pub, so the food is standard fare that you would expect in any of these establishments. We can, however, personally recommend the fish, scampi, Hunters chicken, steak and ale pie (and especially the gravy). The children's menu is good, too - with a choice of larger appetite dishes for those who are almost ready for a full adult portion (but have eyes bigger than their bellies!). Food is served daily from noon.
The bar is a busy one with real ale, good choice of lagers, wines and spirits - anything you might want. If you go there on a Tuesday, you will hit Real Ale night with discounted prices on any real ale on tap.
The locals are very friendly and there is a television area with live sports, plus a darts board. The pub has its own successful darts team (described affectionately as 'the dream team'). Tenth Lock is also popular with card players.
The pub holds charity events, has live music on special occasions, and more frequently, disco cum karaoke evenings. All of these are well attended and very popular with locals and visitors alike.
Children and dogs are welcomed.
The Tenth Lock is run by Nicola Potts, (Nic, the Boss) and supported by a team which are second to none. There is Ruby (Gobby) and Chloe (Silent but Deadly). There is one other person on the team - and that is Patrick, Nicola's fiancé. Patrick is always ready to talk, and he told us how he and Nicola came to be running the Tenth Lock. Patrick says:
"My fianceé Nicola had a dream of one day running her own pub. She dreamed, but never made any move toward bringing this dream to reality. She never had the push she needed. Until one day she actually listened to me, and started to look at a few that were available. Nothing really suited her - until we came to view the Tenth Lock, and it just clicked with her. She knew it was her home, her dream.
"I am her biggest fan, and even now I'm still astonished at how she gains her momentum and stamina. It is her commitment, her passion and her drive to make the pub work, that has made everything happen."
Patrick went on to tell us of their early days in the pub, and about their first official engagement - a charity Duck Race. He said:
"From start to wobbly duck finish, It was hilarious.The kids loved squirting water and throwing bucketfuls at us; we were like drowned rats! But it was all for a good cause, and after it all calmed down we realised it had all been a pleasure.
Patrick then went on to tell us about a charity walk which started and finished at the pub.
"The walk was for Maya, 3 years old. We didnt know her, but her dad Ray came into the pub one day and asked if Nic would provide a finishing point for the walk, and before he could finish his sentence, both Nic and myself had said yes. It was an honour and a pleasure.
"We started out at 7am, with 29 walkers, locals in the pub, plus sponsors. We raised £10,038!
Patrick told us that he had pushed Ray's friend Al in a wheelchair for 22 miles, and that it was hard graft but worth it:
"Walking behind the fire brigade with little Maya in her father's arms, smiling after three bouts of chemotherapy - it was well worth all the effort. 28.6 miles for a smile!"
The evening then went on, with Nicola hosting the entertainment, providing food, and overseeing everything with dignity and humility. As Patrick says, the pub is her life. They have never had so many friends, and they love it!
Nicola Potts and her fiancé Patrick offer more than a warm welcome as they invite you in to their home, their dream, their castle! Plus they say that anyone visiting will be welcomed by the very best local people - wonderful people! We can certainly vouch for that!