On the lookout for a new bar in Birmingham? Well, look no further.
I’m always on a mission to find somewhere new and exciting to go, suffering from “itchy feet syndrome”. And no, I don’t mean an allergy to my washing powder but that feeling people who love to travel/ explore can’t shake.
I find it hard to accept the daily grind of seeing the same places over and over again, often daydreaming about new adventures.
So when I was invited to the opening of a brand new bar and restaurant in Birmingham (which to be fair sounded pretty epic from the offset) I was like, “Yes please, sign me up!”
The place in question is The Canal House – the newly refurbished James Brindley Pub. Birmingham loves to combine the history and heritage of it’s city so it’s little surprise this new hotspot does exactly that.
Do you remember the James Brindley pub being hugely popular in the 90s? The place to be (and been seen), however it’s been a dark, abandoned space for over eight years. Now, with the help of the clever bods behind The Botanist, it’s back to its former glory and to be frank, it’s bloody amazing. Not just from the outside, the interior, the vibe, the drinks, the food, the staff, the music, the ambience… they have created a special little hideaway.
So first things first lets talk about the location. A work colleague moaned it was nowhere near a train station. “But how will you get there?” they asked. Well, yeah, it’s not a one-minute walk from Snow Hill or New Street, but to be honest I think that makes it even more special. If you can’t be bothered to find a way to get there, good, that’ll make more room for everyone who can. One thing is for sure it’s going to get extremely popular once word is out. (ps. you can find it here).
The canal side location is dreamy, the perfect backdrop for a sun-soaked afternoon or a moonlit evening. Date night dinner or a boozy night out with friends, the water side location is a complete winner. It was raining the evening I went (gotta love the Great British summer, hey?) but with the patio lights glowing we still “oohed” and “ahhed” about the outside space. And it really isn’t far to walk, you can park at the Mailbox or Brindley Place and be there in a matter of minutes.
What to expect:
The interior is an Instagramer’s delight. Everywhere you turn you’ll see eye-catching, nautical wonders. The Canal House is spread over two floors, downstairs is The Engine Room and upstairs The Residency, there are also three private dining rooms. The antique coastal decor in The Engine Room is reminiscent of a pirate ship (maybe I’d had a few too many cocktails, so bare with me!?) but there are ladders, old ship steering wheels and fire shovels hanging on walls next to industrial, softly lit lamps. Ceilings, floors, tables, the bar are all covered in rustic wood, adding to the laid back, relaxing atmosphere.
Upstairs in The Residency the space is a lot airier and lighter with a similar interior as sister venue The Botanist. The eclectic, brightly coloured chandeliers are a focal point hanging above you made of crystal glasses, clocks, jaunty shaped metal lampshades and bright bulbs.
The word revolutionary is thrown around a lot these days when it comes to cocktail menus. However, their list is seriously impressive, especially if you like drinks that smoke, flame, intoxicate and set the bar on fire.
We started with some very girlie coral fizz called Searching For Something New – lemon, thyme, strawberry liquor, elderflower liquor topped with prosecco.
Followed by Early Signs Of Greatness – a combination of mango, pineapple, lemon, egg whites and brandy.
There are over 60 ales to choose from and the pub will be handcrafting and distilling their own gin behind the bar.
The Lady Killer cocktail in action:
One word: delicious. If you like the menu at The Botanist, you’ll love it here. To start we shared Baked Camembert, Prawn and Chorizo Hanging Skewers and a bowl of Nocellara olives (seriously, these olives must be award winning?)
From here you can choose from The Rotisserie (delicious meats cooked in their own juices), Deli Board (pick four items all served with sourdough bread), The Grill (a collection of traditional favourites burgers, fish ‘n’ chips), their famous Hanging Kebabs (lamb kofta, chicken, pork belly, halloumi and falafel, jerk salmon) or Grilled Flatbread Sandwiches.
I chose the Halloumi and Falafel Hanging Skewer and Quinoa Salad:
My friends had the Lamb Kofta Hanging Skewer and the Grilled Seabass, which comes with pink grapefruit, sliced avocado and toasted quinoa.
The desert list is short and sweet. To be honest, I was so full, I skipped it, but my friends ordered Sticky Toffee Pudding and Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Both were immense.
Cocktails – £7.25 and upwards
Starters – £4.95 – £6.95
Deli board – £10.75
Hanging kebabs – £10.95 – £12.75
Flatbread – £8.95
The Grill – £9.95 – £17.95
Deserts – £5.95 – £6.95
Other things to note:
- The toilets are really nice. It’s a girls thing, I know, but I bloody love it when the toilets are fancy.
- The atmosphere inside is brilliant, buzzing with good vibes, but not too busy/ noisy you can’t enjoy a good chat over dinner
- They have a late licence until 1am on Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday
- The live musicians were fabulous. Every night they will a live mix of country, jazz, blues, RnB and everything in-between
- The canalside location means it’s a lovely, moonlit stroll home along the water (date night perfection)
I’m going to give in 5/5. Which I know is a bit crazy, but I honestly can’t really think of anyway they could improve it. So there, my first FIVE star restaurant review!
Disclaimer: I was invited to the opening of The Canal House to enjoy dinner and drinks with friends. They didn’t ask / or expect me to write a review or a blog post but we had such a good night I wanted to spread the word.