Since it’s opening at the end of last year, The Bureau has been high up on my list of places to visit in Birmingham! So when I was asked to go along to review this new bar as part of my internship with Design My Night Birmingham, I couldn’t wait to visit and also write my first review for the site! So on Wednesday night me and Ashleigh ventured down there to sample some of their cocktails. Setting up home in the Colmore Business District, it’s just a short walk up from New Street and really easy to find…and even if it wasn’t, this is one venue that every cocktail-lover should seek out and visit asap!
When we arrived at the bar, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful, sophisticated decor. With the marble walls, stained glass windows and leather booths, it screamed class and style. There was a laid-back, super chilled atmosphere and quiet background music, which set the mood for this unpretentious, relaxed venue.
We were greeted by the friendly bar staff and the co-owner, Paul, who showed us around the whole venue. As we ventured up the spiral staircase on our ‘behind the scenes tour’, we were given a snapshot of things to come at The Bureau and to say it’s going to be big is an understatement. Paul spoke with enthusiasm and in detail about the plans for each room we entered, and it was great to see how much passion and work is and has gone into the bar. My favourite spot was the rooftop area which they hope to open up as an outdoor bar and seating area; I think it’ll be a fantastic space for everything from lazy summer evenings sipping cocktails through to wrapping up warm with a mulled wine in winter.
The Bureau offer an extensive cocktail menu at excellent, competitive prices; all the cocktails are priced at around only £6/£6.50 each, allowing customers to enjoy amazing cocktails that won’t break the bank! The menu kicks off with a collection of bespoke cocktails created by the highly skillful bartenders; these include innovative and interesting sounding creations like Toffee Apple, Sour Grapes and The Big Huw. You will also find a handful of Smoked Cocktails, Sparkling Cocktails, non-alcoholic mocktails, and a large selection of ‘Classic and Contemporaries’ that everyone loves, including Cosmopolitan and Mojito.
Not being able to decide between all the delicious sounding cocktails, we gave the bartender free reign to experiment on our first round of drinks. We were delivered a twist on a Slow Comfortable Screw and a new rum-based creation that he’d been experimenting with. Both were excellent and we couldn’t praise them enough…which was evident by the speed at which we drank them! The also looked just as good as they tasted too, and were presented in long glasses with lots of crushed ice and quirky garnishes.
After the success of the experimental cocktails the bartender had created for us, I asked for an “anything with Southern Comfort” (my favourite liquer!). I was served up a fruity blend of flavours that went perfectly with the Southern Comfort and put my normal ‘Southern Comfort and Lemonade’ to shame! Ashleigh went for one of their quirky creations from the menu and chose the Chocolate Egg – Brugal Anejo rum, Frangelico hazlenut liqueur, caramel syrup and chocolate bitters, shaken with a whole egg. Served straight up with grated 70% cocoa chocolate. I couldn’t try this myself, but Ash assured me it was very yummy and one for all chocolate-lovers!
Despite our intentions of coming in for one cocktail each (we both had early starts at uni the next day), the drinks were so good and soon enough we found ourselves eagerly ordering our third round. We decided on the Mai Tai – Appleton’s Estate VX rum, blended with orange liquer, almond syrup and fresh lime. This was a high contender for my favourite cocktail of the night; it was fruity, refreshing and they had achieved the perfect blend of flavours. We also ordered the Singapore Sling – Broker’s gin, shaken with Benedictine, cherry brandy, fresh lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, pineapple juice, and topped with a splash of soda. They had made a few twists on this classic cocktail, and again it was flawless and delicious.
It was evident all night that the bar staff are passionate about what they do and genuinely interested in hearing our feedback on the drinks; with each cocktail we were asked how they tasted, if the new creations had worked, and offered to alter each cocktail if they weren’t to our taste. We both agreed that every cocktail we had was amazing and overall they were the best we’ve had for a long time in Birmingham. It was great to find that they hadn’t compromised on taste with the cocktails or tried too hard to be different (an error made by far too many bars!), but had still managed to deliver creative original cocktails.
With friendly staff, interesting and inventive cocktails, and a chilled atmosphere, The Bureau is definitely a must-visit cocktail bar in Birmingham! The Bureau offer up lots of tempting sounding dishes,including deli slates, deli dogs, burgers and sweet potato fries, and you can read my review of the food at The Bureau here too.