Located just outside of the now world-class Grand Central Station in Birmingham, the Bacchus Bar is the place to come - be it for a swift after-work pint or celebratory cocktail. While Birmingham’s new station shows the passer-by visions of the future with its chrome-plated exterior and spotlight windows similar to that of the Millennium Falcon; the Bacchus Bar takes its clientele light years into the past with its medieval theme. It is a well-established venue for Birmingham locals, but despite being next to one of the largest train stations in Europe it has remained one of the city’s best kept secrets underneath Birmingham’s main commercial district of Broad Street.
Legend has it that the bar sits on one of the oldest streets in Birmingham; the deeds of the tavern highlighting that it has stood the test of time - since 1398 to be exact –how befitting of its medieval theme. This quirky bar is hidden away and whilst signposted, it is easy to miss if you aren’t specifically seeking it out which gives it a cool, speakeasy kind of feel. Head down the marble stairs in the middle of a small shopping arcade and you will be greeted by the sounds of clinking glasses and raucous laughter from a crowd enjoying a party right under the noses of those walking the streets above. The entrance opens out on what looks like a vaulted dungeon, with high-arched, stone ceilings and metal railings encompassing a small VIP section complete with thrones and red carpets for the premium drinkers – the King Arthur wannabes. With everything lit by low candlelight, walls draped in tapestry and a suit of armour standing guard in the corner; it can feel like you have stumbled onto the set of the latest Harry Potter revamp- the Bacchus bar its very own Chamber of Secrets. The bar is truly magical, casting a spell over anyone who wishes to enter, enticing an array of muggles to try a variety of their freshly made potions.
Music: Jazz, Live
Dress Code: None
Train Station: Birmingham New Street
Address: Bacchus Bar, Burlington Arcade, Birmingham, B2 4JH
The Bacchus Bar is piled high with booze and Harry Potter becomes Harry Shotter quicker than the flick of a wand. The bar’s main selling point is it’s spellbinding choice of premium gins, accompanied by an array of tantalising mixers. The bar is quintessentially British, with the gins originating from all the corners of Blighty. A fine recommendation was the Edwards Victoria Rhubarb Gin mixed with Ginger Ale. With the rhubarb apparently grown in Buckingham Palace, you could almost taste the grandeur as we imagined sitting on a corgi-filled lawn, enjoying a tipple with old Queenie herself. Bacchus also prides itself on its top quality craft beers, funnelled in from around the globe. There’s even a range of guest ales on tap – Birmingham’s beer revolution starts here. In a setting fit for a King, the prices remain reasonable in the £4-7 price range, meaning that even a pauper could enjoy a drink or two. The crowd tends to sway to a light and jazzy mix, as Louis Armstrong battles with Miles Davies, jousting with their trumpets over the speakers. However, Friday and Saturday night kick off with more smooth RnB and classic soul – a far cry from the 14th Century’s number one floor filler, Greensleeves.
The crowd is a mixed one, but one thing is for sure – everyone is beautiful. Perhaps it is the low-lighting, or the shiny metal suits of armour, maybe even the gin, but everyone seems to be glowing in one of Birmingham’s hottest night spots. The regality of the setting seems to be reflected in the crowds that the bar draws in. With million-dollar smiles dotted throughout the vaults that lie beneath Grand Central Station; don’t be surprised if you find yourself your own knight in shining armour or fair maiden. No girdles or codpieces here though, instead The Bacchus Bar adopt a smart-casual dress code meaning that everyone is relaxed enough to let loose, but still feeling classy and upmarket.
While the world outside rushes head first into the future, the Bacchus Bar takes things back to a simpler time, where the only thing that mattered was a good drink and good company – something that this place provides in abundance. Take yourself down into the vaults, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and become that valiant knight you always thought you could be to enjoy goblet or two of the finest booze Sir Bacchus has to offer. One thing’s for sure though, that hangover isn’t going away for Middle Ages...