With the Edgbaston cocktail bar and boutique hotel opening back in May, it’s a stark reminder of how quickly this year has flown by – I’ve been saying I’m going to go “soon” for a while. And when I visited The Highfield a few weeks ago, it seemed rude not to visit The Edgbaston too.
A boutique hotel with six bedrooms and three cocktail bars, The Edgbaston joins The Deli at Edgbaston, Simpsons fine dining and the newly opening gastropub The Highfield in Edgbaston’s gastronomic village hub. It’s also owned by Stuart & Darren Insall, who also own The Kenilworth which has an excellent reputation and so I expected great things.
Lets get the negatives out of the way first. The Edgbaston’s signage outside is understated and doesn’t make it the easiest to find. Which seems to be a theme carried inside, as I walked through the front door to a small unmanned, un-signposted reception. To the right I could see a doorway into a beautiful bar ladened with whiskies galore and peeking my head to the left into a larger bar set in a beautiful art deco cocktail lounge, complete with gold banquette seating and a fantastic chandelier. What I couldn’t find was someone to tell me what was going on. After beginning to feel like a gatecrasher, I finally found a member of staff who greeted my warmly, invited me to sit where I liked and brought my a glass of cucumber water. Negatives over.
Although I was offered some assistance with what to choose, I’d already made my mind up to try the Clover Club 3000. I’m a big fan of the classic drink; the tart and zesty gin and lemon, smoothed out with raspberry makes it, in my mind, a great drink. A friend jokes its a drink you see grannies drinking, probably owing to its pre-Prohibition era origins, but if the classic Clover Club is a grannies drink, then the Clover Club 3000 is the drink reborn. Arriving looking like something you’d give a child with baby-pink foam, sprinkles and a side of candy floss, it was clear this wasn’t going to be any run-of-the-mill cocktail. Eminently drinkable, the Clover Club 3000 had a playful lightness to it, both in colour and consistency I wasn’t expecting but being perfectly balanced it made it the sort of drink you’d easily want a second of.
Having just enough time for a second drink it seemed only right to give another spirit a try. The Silver Screen with its blend of Glenmorangie whisky, butterscotch and lemon is served in dramatic fashion – dry ice pouring smoke all over the table, which sadly I failed to get a decent picture of. The drink itself is layered in flavour; the whisky first, followed by a teasing tickle of lemon fizz, replaced by butterscotch. It’s very drinkable and the garnish of toffee popcorn in a retro container balance the dramatic with the whimsy – a real feature film of a drink.
Totalling in £21 (without service) for two drinks, a trip to The Edgbaston is not going to be cheap. But then again it’s not so much about just going for drinks as much as it is a drinking experience, pretentious as that might sound. It’s well worth the visit and an excellent addition to the cocktail scene in Birmingham. I’ll be going back to try and get a photo of the Silver Screen.