Birmingham

Out and About in Brum, Jan 2016

January was a relatively quiet month socially as we sought to shake off the excesses of the festive season. It’s traditionally the month that we say no to alcohol, bars and restaurants, and say yes to good home-cooked meals, a new fitness regime (hello, new Davina McCall fitness DVD), and Saturday nights at the cinema (a remake of a space classic the same age as me, and Leo Di Caprio being mauled by a bear). Mr Fletche insisted that his one glass of Brooklyn Brewery ale would not cause a return to the Christmas season drinking binges, and I pretended that we didn’t have a half full bottle of red wine left over from New Year tempting me every time I went into the kitchen.

But we decided to break our (moderately) dry January with the launch of the new 2016 Digbeth Dining Club season. For those not au fait with this concept, Brum’s best street food vendors come together on a Friday night to offer a selection of great food and drinks at Spotlight on Lower Trinity Street (behind Digbeth’s Old Crown pub). On special occasions – like tonight’s launch – there is a street closure and a small admission fee (£1.50). There’s always a mixed crowd and a great atmosphere. We thought the night’s torrential rain would deter people from visiting…we were wrong! We elbowed our way through the crowds to get a glimpse of the fare on offer, opting for Thai food from Sai Buddha Belly, although I also threw hungry glances over at my old fave The Kebab Cartel.  We find a place to perch and eat our food before testing the weather conditions once more. It is still raining. Not to be deterred, we find the horsebox-cum-cocktail-bar of new Digbeth joint “Peakys”, and enjoy an unseasonable English Garden gin cocktail.

We’re now soaked through to the skin, and decide that outdoor drinking at the end of January is a silly idea; and the inside areas are jam packed with fellow DDC goers who have decided the same thing. We make our way out of the venue and past the queuers still waiting to get in. With Digbeth Dining Club here every Friday night, we’ll try and pick a less manic – and drier night – for our next visit.

Not ready to call it a night just yet, we pay a flying visit to the Old Crown where everyone seems to have had the same idea to shelter from the downpour. In fact, we come in through the garden, and leave just a couple of minutes later through the front door (via a quick toilet stop) as the bar is three people deep. So we make our way round to Alfie Birds at the Custard Factory. We’re a big fan of this quirky little cafe bar; the bartender rustles me up a gin, cranberry and soda and Mr Fletche is always excited to find Belgian beers on the menu and settles down with a Vedett.  It’s good to get out of the rain and settle down in a comfy chair watching the world go by.  Looking forward to the summer when we can sit out on the terrace!
Alfie Birds, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham
Photo credit: Birmingham Mail
What are the other hidden gems of Digbeth?  
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