An award-winning local bartender is part of a trio due to open a brand new cocktail bar in Birmingham’s Custard Factory.
Tommy Matthews, former bar manager of Couch (Top 50 Cocktail bars 37th 2022) and The Edgbaston (Top 50 Cocktail Bars 24th and 25th 2018/2019) has joined forces with Matt Arnold and Eve Green of The Edgbaston and Grain & Glass, respectively. Passing Fancies will take up residence in Digbeth’s iconic Custard Factory with a venue large enough for 54 covers. With a layout akin to ‘the kitchen at a house party’, the bar will be the centre of atmosphere inside the venue.
The former home of Sir Alfred Bird’s namesake company, the Custard Factory is now a creative and cultural hub in the heart of Birmingham. Bird’s 19th-century invention of eggless custard was born out of love, as his wife, Elizabeth, suffered from an allergy to eggs. Elizabeth’s love of custard motivated Alfred, an established pharmacist, to create a formula for egg-free custard. He founded ‘Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd’, which would eventually become the famous Bird’s Custard company, the namesake of the Custard Factory.
Inspired by the idea of ‘creativity out of love’, Passing Fancies aims to brings a new kind of approachable luxury. The bar’s name nods to their vow to move with the times, regularly changing their menu and straying away from a set theme. Their combined passion for the hospitality industry has inspired them to strive to create something long-lasting out of love, just like the man their building is named after.
The trio have a varied background in hospitality and are committed to building a team of people who could one day become the ‘next big thing’ in bartending. Their passion for the industry has made them feel that they, like the man their building is named after, can create something long-lasting out of love.
Tommy Matthews, one third of the team heading up Passing Fancies, said,
At our core is our passion for what we do, the stories we share and the people we share them with. Passing Fancies is an extension of us, a place where everyone can gather to experience the comforting excellence of high-end beverages and build fond memories. Think of it not as a bar but a vehicle for community, nestled within the creative heart of Birmingham with a menu as varied and fluid as the lives we lead. We want to ensure that our staff feel as valued as our customers. It’s important to us to give back to the industry that has given so much to us.
Passing Fancies is due to open in September 2022.