I’d been looking forward to checking out The Floodgate in Digbeth for quite some time, so the August Ban Holiday seemed a perfect opportunity to do just that.
We arrived at 3pm on the Saturday, just as things were starting to busy up.
As you walk into this old converted factory, the first thing you notice is the amazing graffiti art adorning walls. The main bar and baseball area benefits from natural light which beams in via skylights, I can imagine the neon lamps would look great in the evening too.
The staff are friendly and helpful, and we took a seat to enjoy some drinks and the extremely tasty jerk chicken and chips from the street food vendor in the courtyard – highly recommended.
There was a real mix of people there that day and great to see Brum at it’s best, all ages and backgrounds enjoying a cool evening in the city’s cultural hotspot.
First up was Baseball. We were talked through the rules and allocated our cage, helmet and bat. You can set the speed of the ball up to 60mph, and trust me, it rockets out at the top setting, so we asked for it to be reduced a little. It’s important you switch off the machine at the wall before you start reloading otherwise the balls start flying out whilst you’re bent over collecting the rest of the balls, which happened to us – an added bit of excitement.
the Pit Pat rooms are decorated to the highest standard, whoever created these backdrops needs an award.
We had a half hour slot but you can opt for a full hour too, which is recommended for more than two players. Its a brilliant way to start the Floodgate experience, after a bit of practice most of the balls were connecting with the bat and we probably could have stayed a little longer as it’s quite addictive.
After our fill of baseball fun, it was onto Curling outside. There’s also a few lanes indoors with UV lighting which was quite raucous. The curling stones have tiny ball-bearings which help it speed along the lane. It takes a good few attempts to get this right, but once we found our flow it was proving an enjoyable bit of rivalry with plenty of banter. I think it was a draw but my opponent was receiving tips off a spectator. This was my first time at curling and it’s a blast. Ideal for a small group and brings out the competitive side.
Our final mission was a game of Pit Pat. As you walk along the graffiti art passageway, the whoops and screams reminded me of that feeling you had as a kid walking into a Haunted House of Horrors at a theme park or funfair.
As a huge lifelong fan of spray-can art, the Pit Pat rooms are decorated to the highest standard, whoever created these backdrops needs an award. They truly are incredible. The theme is TV/Film and so many characters which people will recognise. I think my personal favourite is Slimer off Ghost Busters.
Pit Pat is effectively a mix between table golf and pool. You have a small cue and ball each and the sole aim is to get the ball in the hole or net. You do this by way of pucking the ball along, round, up or over various obstacles. It may not sound that exciting but we were gutted we only had 30 minutes on this and both said we would return for another session.
The UV lighting, graffiti art, and cool energy boosting dance tunes such as Smack My Bitch Up (Prodigy) and Big Man Skank (Chase & Status) made for an exciting environment to try out the different tables.
After our time was up, there was a final drink whilst watching others do their best at baseball and off we trotted to Digbeth Dining Club for more food and tunes.
If you are yet to try The Floodgate I wholeheartedly recommend it. Ideal for couples or groups who want a mixture of fast paced energetic baseball, and a more relaxed game of Curling & Pit Pat – this really was a brilliant and fun way to spend an afternoon, we will be back I am certain!
Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.