Where to drink
The Jekyll & Hyde
The two faces of this thoroughly independent establishment seem to be a pub and a bar. Although you’d be hard pressed to find many pubs that offer quite so many luscious concoctions as the jekyll & Hyde. Downstairs it’s all things candy and treats. With cocktails served in (the now obligatory) jam jars. While upstairs is a mecca to the juniper berry; a gin parlour which boasts 90 gins and counting. Put another way, this zany little bar has something for everyone. No matter which floor you’re on.
26 Steelhouse Lane, B4 6BJ
We should mention that just to get to Ginger’s Bar, you’ll need to battle through the equally mention-worthy Purnell’s Bistro. So if you do get hungry, you’ll not have to travel far. But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Ginger’s is an homage to the golden age of the silver screen. So it’s no surprise that the drinks and the decor are a sophisticated match. Classic cocktails, cocktails reimagined, they’re all in here. Just slide in and enjoy one of their many delicious libations. We recommend a Manhattan. But then we always do.
11 Newhall St, Birmingham B3 3NY
Sometimes when you head out for a drink, all you’re really looking for is a good time. That’s when you need to hop in a taxi and head to Island Bar. Described as a “tropical cocktail paradise”, it’s bright, colourful and shamelessly dazzling. But don’t be fooled into thinking this means they don’t serve great drinks. The huge tiki menu offers up no less than 70 different rums and plenty of ways to drink it. No fuss, no frills, just good old Pacific Island fun.
4-16 Suffolk Street Queensway, B1 1LT
Where to eat
Buffalo & Rye
If the name alone isn’t enough to make you drool then listen to this: Buffalo & Rye serve up a delicious blend of gourmet hot dogs, house smoked meats (they close on a Sunday to do all the smoking), deliciously dirty burgers and of course, whisky aplenty. Which you can choose to drink in milkshakes, cocktails or out of a shot glass. This is Americana on a plate, deep fried and ready to be gorged on. Probably terrible for your health, unquestionably great for your soul.
11 Bennett's Hill, B2 5RS
At the polar opposite end of the gastronomic spectrum is Bistro 1847. A fully vegetarian restaurant that is out to prove you don’t need meat to have a great time. For those carnivorous skeptics amongst you, prepared to be shocked because this place is excellent. Located in the quirky Western Arcade in Birmingham city centre, the restaurant couldn’t be more welcoming. And while the food may take some adjusting to for some, it really shows that with a little innovative cooking, vegetables can be a lot of fun.
26 Great Western Arcade, B2 5HU
Birmingham’s undergone a real transformation in the past decade. Desperate to shrug off its reputation as an ugly concrete playground. It has seen a surge in new cultural hotspots. And with that has come some fantastic places to eat. Top our list of those new eateries is Carter’s. Birmingham may already host several bona fide Michelin starred chefs but this is one for the future. Not overly expensive (if you choose the set menu at lunch) and endlessly welcoming. This is great British food done so very well.
2c St Mary's Row, Wake Green Road, Moseley, B13 9EZ
What to do
Nothing epitomises Birmingham’s cultural revolution quite like the iconic Bullring. And in spite of the super futuristic shopfront at Selfridges, the Bullring itself has been a place of commerce since the Middle Ages. Nowadays you’ll find less cattle and more consumerism, as the shopping centre holds a massive Debenhams, the afore-mentioned Selfridges and a whole host of other designer boutiques. With over 160 shops, restaurants and cafes. There’s enough here to excite even the most experienced shopper.
Birmingham B5 4BU
Yes, Birmingham truly is the home of British chocolate. And what greater way to celebrate its historic relationship with England’s premier chocolatiers than with a whole world dedicated to its production. Head through the history of chocolate, see how it’s made and learn a little about Cadbury’s themselves. This is the stuff of most kid’s (and some adults) dreams. The experience includes rides, events, historic zones and even and Aztec jungle. Oh and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Linden Rd, B30 1JR
National Sealife Centre
For any aqua aficionados, the National Sealife Centre is a must-visit. Home to the Ocean Tunnel – an underwater passageway that allows you to peer out into the deep blue from behind the safety of its glass walls – this is unlike any normal aquarium. Penguins, sharks and octopuses all reside here to name but a few. Making the centre as much fun for adults as it is for the kids. Book ahead and you can save a considerable sum too. Especially if you’re taking the whole family.
The Waters Edge, Brindley Pl, B1 2HL