New Street you have to walk to Snow Hill station and catch a train or tram to
The Hawthorns. The train is slightly quicker (7 minutes as opposed to 10
minutes), plus a through rail ticket to The Hawthorns is the same price as New
Street. There are trains every 10 minutes on Saturdays, but only two an hour on
Sundays. The trams run every 8 minutes on Saturdays, and every 15 on Sundays.
Albiontillwedie has really good info on the various options for getting from Birmingham City Centre to the ground
(under "Matchday Guide", which is half way down the page).
If you're driving down then there are a few private matchday car parks at some industrial units near the ground. There is also free street parking though. Again, Albiontillwedie has very comprehensive parking info on the Matchday Guide page.
It's a virtual desert around the ground when it comes to pubs. If arriving by train your best bet is therefore to have a few pints in the city centre and then catch a train or tram at the last minute. The best pub in the centre is arguably the Wellington, roughly half-way from New Street to Snow Street. This place is an absolute gem, having no less than 15 hand-pulled beers on at any one time, as well as a good selection of foreign beers. The only slight drawback with the pub is that it doesn't do food; however, they provide plates and cutlery for anyone who wants to consume their own food on the premises. To get to the Wellington from New Street, follow the signs for the Stephenson Street exit, and then follow the route shown on the city centre pub map below. The Old Contemptibles is another pub worth considering as it's right outside Snow Hill station, although it does only have a mere nine hand pulled beers on! For fans of Wetherspoons there's the Briar Rose, just down from the Wellington. An alternative to drinking in the centre is to jump on a tram to Benson Road or Kenrick Park and for the Black Eagle or Vine respectively (see next paragraph for more info in these).
For anyone driving then the most popular pub for away fans, and also the nearest to the ground, is the Royal Oak, right on the A41. It will no doubt get very busy, so you may want to keep on going on heading down the A41 where you will (eventually!) come across some other pubs. For a lot of fans though the only pub worth thinking about is the now legendary Vine. It's basically the food that has made this place an institution. Not to be missed on a match day is the indoor barbecue at the rear of the building serving freshly grilled chicken tikka, shish kebabs, tandoori chicken, and naans. The Vine's a bit tricky to find, but the Hawthorns pub map below has the shortest walking route from the ground marked. The main drawback with the Vine is that it will get ridiculously busy. On top of that you'll probably have to put up with plastic glasses, plus their on real ale might well run out! The lack of pubs directly around the ground might tempt you to jump on a tram. West Bromwich town centre would be an obvious place to aim for. However, the pubs there are "very partisan", attracting a heavy police presence. Better is to head in the opposite direction, getting off at Benson Road. From here it's less than a five minute walk to the Black Eagle. A winner of the local CAMRA branch's pub of the year award on numerous occasions, the Black Eagle gets universally good write-ups.
Hawthorns pub map
City centre pub map
Football Ground Guide
baggies.com (good unofficial site)
Pub guide (part of the above site)
Albiontillwedie (another good unofficial site)