Pub called The Tilted Barrel is now Britain’s wonkiest boozer following loss of Crooked House
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The 200-year-old pub, in Tipton, West Midlands, is just five miles away from its demolished counterpart The Crooked House which was burnt down in a suspected arson attack. The slanted premises is also wonky due to mining subsidence but unlike the Crooked House, the site is Grade II-listed, which will help protect its future.
Landlady Haych Mann, 38, who took over The Tilted Barrel in February, said it was ‘bitter sweet’ to possibly be the new ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’. Haych has spent several months refurbishing the run-down premises - which has wonky door frames and tilted floors - to give it a new lease of life.
She says she had to move the pool table to the other bar as it proved difficult to play in the lopsided room where balls seemingly roll uphill - just like the Crooked House. But she vowed to keep the dartboard put as its slanted oche gives the pub’s darts team an advantage over visiting players.
Haych, from Smethwick, said: "It’s a bittersweet moment to know we might be Britain’s wonkiest pub now. Most of our regulars drank in the Crooked House too. I’m a local girl so I knew the pub well and we have lost an iconic pub in the Crooked House.
"So I’m both sad and proud at the same time to learn we might now have that title. It’s certainly not something I’m celebrating as the Crooked House was a landmark and a piece of Black Country history. Our pub is Grade II listed which should offer it more protection if, God forbid, the same thing would ever happen here."
Haych took over her first ever pub on a 15 year lease after ‘falling in love’ with the quirky features of The Tilted Barrel, which was built in 1820. It boasts a door more crooked than the building itself, an uneven bar and a shelf which features the illusion of items being able to roll up instead of down.
She added: "I just fell in love with the place. It was just really unique and quirky. It was a bit run down when I took it over, I couldn’t believe people were drinking in here in the state it was in but at the same time I thought it was brilliant. We’ve had a refurb and business is picking up as people have read about us online.
"I looked at a few pubs, which were probably nicer, but this one was different and it really appealed to me. I wouldn’t usually take over a pub which was doing badly but this one just seemed special and I thought ‘why not?.
"The pool table was hard to play on, they built a stage to keep the balls running straight but because of the slanted walls it was a bit disorientating. So we have moved it into the back room but I’m keeping the darts board where it is.
"That’s because our darts team hardly lose. They know how to play on the slant but when other teams play it can really throw players off. We have two staff working here and I help out on weekends when it’s busier too. This is my first pub and I really enjoy it.
"Its just the floors in the back room that need doing now. But that’s proving a challenge because of the slanted floor. However we’re getting there and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for this other historic crooked pub."
Pub regular Carl Falconer, 46, a plasterer from Tipton, has been going to the pub for 40 years since he was a young boy. The dad-of-one said: "It’s a great pub. It’s very family orientated and everybody knows everybody. I’m used to it wonkiness now.
"But I imagine anyone who walks in there for the first time will think ‘wow this is crazy. I’ve been going since I was a young boy with my dad as it’s on my doorstep. Way back when it used to have massive steel girders propping it up.
"The building itself goes back to the 19th century I believe but it started to drop in the 1930s. It now sits naturally as this strange angle. The funniest part is the darts teams who come here. The floor used to be much more slanted but it’s still on a slope now.
"When you threw a dart - you’d have to walk downhill to fetch it from the board. Away teams hated it so they tried levelling the floor off a bit but we still have the advantage. It’s got all these quirky features. I’ve also got to take my hat off to the tiler who did the tiles in the wonky gents toilet as those cuts could not have been easy."