A recent invite to check out the new Crazy Pedro’s pizza bar in the Custard Factory sparked my interest, as I know this venue very well but not the brand (Manchester?).
I was advised the previous industry night was a bit mad, with queues. So I swung by after a few drinks in the Anchor and Spotted Dog on the basis of, if there’s a queue to get in I’ll pass and drop by another time.
However, I was pleased to see no queue, just a busy bar.
I was kindly handed my drinks tokens and had a mooch around.
It was a mix of local media faces on the Brum foodie scene and enough genuine punters invited to give an idea, of what this place will be like moving forward. One thing which is fair to say is, The Relationship co do differ from some other marketing/PR agencies whereby the events they curate do seem to be a mix of bloggers/foodies/industry types and genuine punters which helps to create a more authentic atmosphere rather than all the same old faces with venue launches and opening events.
With indie rock posters and alike, adorning the ceilings and walls, it is very much a commercial bar at present, which will be popular with students, reminded me of an ‘It’s A Scream’ venue I visited in Fallowfield Manchester in the late 90s. However, I am led to believe this will change with time and the Pedro’s way is to off something alternative and cool, so there will plenty of time to evolve and grow into this venue.
On the outlook, it seems to be going for similar punters who enjoy Birdies and Ghetto Golf which is no bad thing and definitely a colourful party vibe.
I have to be honest, the queues for drinks were a bit long for my liking, both downstairs and the top bar. A bloke at top bar started ordering people to spread out at the bar rather than queue, there was still the same amount of staff on hand, so it is just gonna mean some people get served before others and many people will not appreciate that sentiment, but I can see his point too. Apparently they were some staff down so fair enough, prob just bad timing and I wouldn’t let it put me off going back.
I was served quickly once at the bar anyway and stuffed my free cans in my bag and continued to have a gander before heading back to Worcester.
The set up is really nice actually, as it reminds me of the old Medicine Bar which was set up by Simon Jones in the 1990s. I am sure many people will lament the loss of the old Medicine Bar upon drinking in Pedro’s, as I did, brought back some great memories of meeting De La Soul, Afrika Bambaataa, Mr Scruff and alike – dancing to Leftfoot DJ nights with the best dance musicians on the planet with outrageously loud sound-systems.
But this is 2022, post pandemic, and the profit in cool underground music bars are probably limited these days, they are few and far between, not just in Brum either.
I took time to chat to the DJ who was a local lad, playing a wide mix of styles, quite a lot of commercial party stuff, but a smattering of pretty good hip hop too. I believe the management will be developing a more educational music policy over time – I should also mention Alfie Birds and the Oobleck live music venue who last ran this venue as a bar, so these guys do have big boots to fill and I’m sure they will give it a good go.
In all, it is great to have this wonderful venue back in operation, and it seems Crazy Pedro’s have put a lot of thought and effort into the decor and staff, who all seemed great! I’d go back for a beer just to view the skyline from the top bar again. I didn’t try the pizzas but can imagine they’re pretty good. After speaking to a couple of others who have visited the general consensus is it’s got off to a good start apart form the queues at the bar.
Time will tell, I might return to check out the pizzas and view mid week and see how it differs.
Would be nice to see some involvement from movers and shakers from the Medicine Bar music fraternity. Going here just made me miss the Medicine Bar more than ever but times do change.
One thing that did stand out for me, was upon arriving, and departing, two bars nearby, Kilo Ziro Cafe and the bar opposite, both small independents, were very quiet. Both these places offer something a bit different, both contrasting to the chain brands now appearing around Digbeth. I popped in to show my support and bought a drink and some of the best Jerk Chicken I have ever tasted, and not just saying that for effect. I’d recommend trying these places too, there still needs to be a happy medium in Brum.
*sorry for not taking any pictures of pizza – I think people know what a pizza looks like these days, and most the one’s I’ve seen are pretty generic wherever you are in the world.
Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.