Birmingham is home to some of the most unique and outright strange craft bars we’ve ever visited. It’s currently sitting comfortably in our top 5 beer destinations, with plenty of places still to check out on return visits.
The Old Joint Stocks – 4 Temple Row W, Birmingham, B2 5NY
The Old Joint Stocks is set in an old theatre and feels like walking onto the set of a 1920’s gangster movie, with an ornate island bar and landing overlooking the high ceiling room under a glass-domed roof. The bar has a range of Sadlers on tap, including the appropriately themed Peaky Blinder black IPA. If elaborate decor isn’t your thing, there’s also some very comfortable ratan furniture in the beer garden.
The Wellington – 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN
The Wellington is so conventional by comparison to the other craft venues in Birmingham that you could be led to believe hipsters had opened it as a pub themed pub. “Think the Nags Head meets the Rovers Return”. The Wellington offered a long line of craft and more ‘real ale’ leaning beers on cask, with a few big name beers available for the punters who inevitably stumble into this pub mistaking it for a pub.
Tilt – City Arcade, 2 Union St, Birmingham, B2 4TX
From the outside of Tilt you could easily mistake this bar for a vegan coffee shop, in fact they do serve coffee, but enter the bar and you’ll soon find that’s not the only brew on offer. Enter further and you’ll get the surprisingly reveal of a line of pinball machine and keen wizards. For those less confident with their abilities (me) there are also a few additional machines hidden downstairs.
Pure Craft – 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN
Pure Craft has a fair range on tap, much of which is from Midlands brewery Purity, and an easily browsable fridge to the side of the bar. The interior feels not too dissimilar to a “posh” burger chain (think GBK, Byron) and part of the bar serves as a restaurant (with a much fancier menu than the aforementioned joints).
Bacchus – Burlington Arcade, New St, Birmingham, B2 4JH
The spiralling descent into Bacchus begins to feel more like you’re about to enter a indoor crazy golf or buffet restaurant. This unforgettable bar is set in the basement of a shopping centre with elaborate decor that spanned a bizarre mix of time periods, from medieval to Roman, via Egyptian, but don’t fear, the beer is mostly modern.
The Post Office Vaults – 84b New St, Birmingham, B2 4BA
It would be hard to top Bacchus, but The Post Office Vaults did rise to the challenge. Easily mistaken from the outside (and in) as a sorting room, The Post Office Vaults describes itself as “Birmingham’s Premier Foreign Bottled Beer Bar”. The beer I had here couldn’t have been any less foreign, it was one of their own. The only disappointment is not having a stack of letters to sort while you drink your beer. Take note, Post Office Vaults.
Brewdog – 81 John Bright St, Birmingham, B1 1BL
Brewdog’s Birmingham bar struggles to compete with the oddities to be found elsewhere in the city. It’s a safe bet, a fair size and good atmosphere, but not a pinball, pharaoh or postman in sight.
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