Swapping Party Hats and Cake for Organic Wine and a Jazz Band: 1000 Trades’ First Birthday.
Having rarely ventured beyond the areas of Moseley, Digbeth and Edgbaston, I was intrigued as my Uber driver continuously asked me for directions to a new(ish) bar on a stunning Saturday afternoon. Clearly the taxi driver, like myself, was also unaware of one of the Jewellery Quarter’s newest pubs; 1000 Trades. Clambering out of the taxi, I was greeted by the exposed front of 1000 Trades, with tables and pints aplenty under the restored brickwork arches of the Jewellery Quarter.
It seemed like the customers were dedicated locals of many years, rather than just 12 months.
I’ll admit, walking in wearing culottes and being the youngest customer by probably two decades at first made me slightly apprehensive; I stuck out like a sore thumb, a very naïve, baby faced thumb with student stamped across my forehead. But as the afternoon and early evening would go on, I began to embrace the relaxed city vibe. I picture it as a place that hipsters would happily hang out at when they retire their man buns and peculiar facial hair. It’s all exposed brick, mismatched chairs, rustic décor and emphasis on craft beers and boxed wine. A very different spot to Selly Oak’s pubs and the cocktail bar chains such as Be At One and Turtle Bay – my usual haunts.
And an occasion it was: this not so hidden gem was celebrating its first year. This shocked me as the place began to fill up as the clock ticked further towards the evening. It seemed like the customers were dedicated locals of many years, rather than just 12 months. To celebrate, they’d had a drip feed of events that were spaced out enough it didn’t feel as though you were being forced into organised fun.
By the time I arrived I had just missed the talk on the history of the place, but I caught Sam Olive of Wine Freedom’s talk and tasting session in the top floor of 1000 Trades, a beautiful rustic space that’ll be converted into a restaurant. Needless to say as someone who has only been to a singular wine tasting session in Niagara, Canada (but I spent it sunbathing in a deckchair rather than listening), I felt illuminated on the world of organic wines, and the dedication and passion that goes into the products that the pub sells.
the bartender then proceeded to evolve to the jazz singer, accompanied by a three piece band on the floor
Just hanging around near the bar and hearing the bartender converse with 1000 Trades clientele, all about the differences between the craft beers, the foreign beers, made me feel incredibly inadequate and awed as a drinker who normally just reaches for the cheapest bottle of vodka available. And even more awed when the bartender then proceeded to evolve to the jazz singer, accompanied by a three piece band on the floor. The soft jazz in the background, coupled with busy chatter and June weather made for a perfect way to discuss Birmingham, the bar and summer memories with various collaborators of 1000 trades, and co-founder John.
1000 Trades I understood from the five-ish hours I spent at the exposed wood bar, doesn’t comply with pub stereotypes. While you have the sort of gastropubs popping up everywhere, it combines simplicity with culture. No fuss, no muss, but definite soul and character to the place. While many establishments can take a place and attempt to give it character, you really can feel the character at the core of this place. I loved the inclusion of the history timeline as you go up the stairs. The posters dotted around displaying art exhibitions, music events and comedy nights. Phil Asher’s DJ set was to follow, his blend of genres is a true reflection of ‘The Trades’ itself, a real coup to get this well respected DJ up for some bar room vibes.
The place had a great buzz, but not one that can make you feel lost in a roar of customers. It was loosely intimate, a friendly feel. A place that has that extra something, that goes the extra mile, but doesn’t have the snooty, arrogant air so many places do these days. It didn’t matter that I was a mere foetus compared to every other person there, or that I couldn’t tell you to save my life how one wine differs from the other. 1000 Trades offers a fantastic atmosphere, and while in its infancy, I believe has got a great amount of potential, and will go from strength to strength. I’m eager to return, especially once the restaurant opens, as judging from the pop up Mexican food stand (that unfortunately I didn’t manage to sample but dear god those burritos looked delicious), 1000 trades will definitely become a mark on the map of Birmingham bars – if it hasn’t done so already.
Review by Iesha Thomas for Grapevine Birmingham @IeshaMaeThomas