You can't go too far wrong when your hand is cradling a carefully crafted cocktail, and Birmingham's best cocktail bars, pubs and restaurants really know a thing or two about muddling, mixing, shaking and generally showcasing an art that just keeps getting better and better. We're partial to a tipple or two too, so we've put together what we think are the best Birmingham cocktail bars below. Take a look and start to sup - see you at the bar.
Birmingham cocktail bars
Part of the Opus group, this bar is the sister venue of a café renowned for its brunches and a restaurant with an established reputation for quality. Bar Opus is located at the foot of prestigious high-rise One Snow Hill. Prime position in blue chip territory makes this place a favoured post-work pit-stop for the professional high-flyers of Birmingham’s business district. Sleek furniture and floor-to-ceiling glass create a smart environment, with the inevitable touch of industrial chic. The cocktail list is a tempting menu of modern twists on classic blends.
Gas Street Social is located in the upmarket Mailbox complex, but its vibe is friendly and approachable. The interiors are a blend of cosy and trendy, combining industrial chic with rustic farmhouse. Long benches and communal seating arrangements underline the social ethos of the restaurant and bar, with sharing boards and tapas-style small plates a prominent feature of the food menu.
The Bull’s Head is dead. Long live the Cuban Embassy! The heritage building at the heart of vibrant Moseley now houses Birmingham’s premier rum destination, with Latin musicians providing a live soundtrack. After a painstaking refurbishment, everything from the intricate Spanish tiles to the wrought iron chandeliers recalls a moody Cuban nightspot. Behind the bar, you’ll find a sprawling selection of over 130 rums. The bartenders are on hand not only to pour, but also to give tips and recommendations - they know their stuff here.
With its towering ceiling, heritage features and quirky secrets, The Lost & Found is perfect for either a relaxed catch-up with friends, or as a starting post for a night on the town. A grand, grade II-listed building at the top of Bennett’s Hill has been transformed into a whimsical Victorian-inspired watering hole. It pays tribute to Hettie G Watson, a nineteenth century botanist, explorer and collector of butterflies.
40 St Paul’s took the city by storm - a specialist bar stocking over 100 different varieties was always going to be a hit in a city enamoured of gin. The miniscule bar is situated in the Jewellery Quarter, near the picturesque St Paul’s Square. It’s small and select, seating only 24 people, which adds to its aura of desirability. There is a vast range of gins available, hailing from all over the world and with a broad variety of flavour profiles.
Casual, lively and playfully Latino, Bodega is one of the most hard-to-book restaurants in Birmingham. The secret of its success lies in its combination of novel food, buzzing atmosphere and a killer drinks menu. When Bodega opened its doors back in 2011, there wasn’t really anywhere else to go for a quality South American street food experience.
The Botanist has a relaxed, fun vibe, with a major focus on cocktails. Not only do the bar staff mix these all day, but they also impart their knowledge at regular cocktail masterclasses held for members of the public. Located on Temple Street, the bar is distinctively decorated, playing on a rustic gardening theme as seen in the iron railings, arty wooden fixtures and potted plants. Drinks feature a range of exotic ingredients, with many unusual twists on classic cocktails to be expected.
Quite possibly Birmingham’s quirkiest bar, The Jekyll and Hyde is also a specialist in the subtle science and exact art of gin. With hordes of fans, this is a place that Brummies are rightly proud of. While the location is somewhat uninspiring – wedged between the old law courts and the Children’s Hospital at a far end of the city centre – The Jekyll and Hyde is a destination in itself. And once you’re in, you’re in no hurry to leave. Downstairs is the domain of Mr Hyde, which takes the form of an old Victorian pub with other retro touches, such as big sweet jars and melting candles.
Ginger’s is part of a prestigious family tree. It’s housed within Purnell’s Bistro, which, along with the nearby restaurant of the same name, is owned by Birmingham’s renowned Michelin-starred chef, Glynn Purnell. Newhall Street in the Colmore Business District is the setting for this elegant bar, and the location is perfect to tempt in the suited and booted professionals of the area after a busy day at the office. Ginger’s also does a good trade with weekend visitors too, which is testament to its popularity as a drinking destination.
Fumo, along with neighbouring restaurant San Carlo, is run by the enterprising Distefano family. With its enviable position in a sweeping corner of St Phillip’s Square, Fumo attracts those who want to see and be seen. With an interesting cocktail list and glitzy ambiance, the Waterloo Street bar and restaurant is the perfect setting for an evening of boozy experimentation.