A recent invite to attend the Birmingham-based spirits brand BeauFort pop-up press night at Kong Bar was a perfect opportunity to catch up on the current bar and food scene in Stirchley.
It was also an opportunity to catch up with my old mate Ollie from the Yardbird Jazz Club.
We both arrived into Bournville Train Station and made a fast exit over the road to Attic Brew Co.
Of all the breweries in Birmingham, Attic is up there as one of the busiest and progressive. The atmosphere inside, mid bleak winter was actually quite cosy. The large warehouse was filled with cheery revellers and was warm enough to enjoy the surroundings. Staff member Tom, lent me his charger, to gain a few extra bars on my phone, for that extra personal touch.
I was surprised to see just how much Attic Brew Co. has expanded in recent months, with a whole new section dedicated to brewing some of Brum’s finest ales. There was a comedy event on that evening but we had places to be – so a quick pint and we were off.. but only as far as Eat Vietnam!
Eat Vietnam was a phoenix out the flames of Atoo clothing in the city centre. I would always drop by to see what manager Ming had in his store, and made a fair few cool purchases. Sad as it was to see that go, Ming has created something so special with Eat Vietnam. I’ve tried his pop-ups at The Plough before the pandemic and was pleased to see the same supreme quality, served to us from the kitchen with love, to our bellies with high fives. There was a fab atmosphere and cannot recommend Eat Vietnam enough. It reminded me of dining on Kensington high street London many years ago, just had that vibe and the tastes are divine!
Stir Stores was our next stop, for a quick can of cider and a cocktail. We had a good chin wag with the barman and mooched around. Stir Stores opened as a vintage hub during the pandemic and quickly morphed into the cafe bar we see today. With cool vintage gear around the place, you get the feeling these guys are anticipating big things from Stirchley, a sweet little spot for hanging out and great to see Ben Drummond’s flyers advertising his music nights in the bogs.
The main reason we were there though, was the BeauFort Spirit pop-up, so off we loped, and straight into a packed Kong bar, with movers and shakers from Brum’s nightlife scene, from I Choose to Birmingham World, Killer Wave and beyond. Kong is a cool little space run by the same folk over at Stir Stores. The pop-up was a nice way to try out some mixers with this local spirits brand. We were plied with a variety of fancy sounding alcoholic concoctions and left with a slight wobble in our legs. You too can get pissed on BeauFort Hot Buttered Rum and Mulled Gin – it’s open from December 8th – 11th, 15th – 17th, 22nd – 24th and 27th – 31st, located at Kong, 1402 Pershore Road, Stirchley, B30 2XS.
From Kong, we headed to Cork & Cage for something off the tap, what a fab bar. Something you quickly notice about Stirchley, there is a such a diverse mix of young and old, cool and calm, it does take me back to nights out in London and perhaps the old Moseley days of the Bull’s Head and La Fibule. You can understand why this area is now such a destination in its own right. I took a pic of the bar man with his permission (as I always do) and, it was on to our final destination of the evening.
Couch has some award winning cocktails, seriously good drinks and a friendly professional team to serve them. There were just a few of us sat around the bar, and that was enough, a personalised experience with gorgeous tastes lingering as we left.
We met Luke who is about to open Ikigai cocktail bar, one to watch out for, as is Soi 1268 by the guys behind Buddha Belly, but even without all this mentioned, there is still so much more to explore in this great little suburb of south Birmingham. Stirchley really is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the UK and gives hope to some of the other suburbs in Brum that are long due a renaissance.. Handsworth anyone?
Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.