Did you know that we give you a complimentary Independent Birmingham card to use during your stay in Brum? Enjoy Birmingham’s thriving independent scene with discounts and deals at 105 of Brum’s cinemas, cafes, pubs, restaurants, theatres, bars, and shops.
We’ve put together a dream tour of the best independents. We’ve focused on some of the top indies in Birmingham city centre – within easy reach of our serviced apartments at the city’s iconic Rotunda building.
18/81 is very proudly not a chain (and offers an off-menu exclusive IB cocktail for £7.50 anytime). It’s a new kid on the Birmingham cocktails block and has a pleasingly relaxed vibe.
For dinner, we’re giving you two suggestions as it’s sometimes hard to get a table at either of these two gems. Opus Restaurant celebrates the best of British market produce – Vibrant colours, bold tastes – they have it all. Glynn Purnell’s eponymous restaurant is more established and can be found in the Michelin Guide. The food is very, very good.
Purnells IB offer
Opus IB offer
Don’t miss The Electric, Britain’s oldest working cinema. We love (in no particular order) its Edwardian architecture, cool interior and brilliant programming. It’s unique to Birmingham and runs some very cool annual festivals such as Shock and Gore.
The Electric IB offer
Birmingham is huge on culture. BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) is just up the road from us in Victoria Square. Entrance to this stately, beautiful building is free, so no discounts required. We could spend hours just looking at the stained glass on show, but we’re weird like that… Must-sees are the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard and the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. BMAG also happens to have one of the coolest cafes in Birmingham. Joyously, the Edwardian Tea Rooms are covered by the IB Card. Whether you fancy a sandwich, cake, afternoon tea or champagne the ETR is a great spot.
Edwardian Tea Rooms IB offer
Why not start with drinks at Loki Wine? This wine merchants, hidden away in the city’s historic Great Western Arcade, is only five minutes away from our apartments by foot. It’s much more than just a wine store and you can enjoy wine by the glass or the bottle in-house. They also run events and they’re not just about wine – recent successes include a Mackmyra Swedish Whisky Tasting and World of Gin tasting.
Loki Wine IB offer
Where next? The Independent Birmingham card has offers for three of Birmingham’s mightiest venues and they are all within easy walking distance of our Rotunda serviced apartments.
Birmingham Hippodrome is a big, beautiful theatre that sells more tickets than any other in the UK. This is the place to come for all the excitement of seeing a West End show without London prices. The Hippodrome is big on musicals (and its annual panto, of course), but it also offers world-class ballet, opera, comedy, contemporary dance… Going to the Hippodrome really feels like a big occasion.
THSH stands for Town Hall Symphony Hall, so you get two venues in one. Together they provide some of the best entertainment on offer in Birmingham.
Symphony Hall has outstanding acoustics and is one of the world’s best concert halls and home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. It’s not all about classical music, however – you can see some outstanding comedy and pop and rock music here too.
Town Hall is a little more intimate. It looks like a classical Corinthian temple from outside and hosts jazz, world, folk, rock, pop and classical concerts among other things.
Last but not least comes the Birmingham Rep. It’s much smaller than the Hippodrome (825 seats versus 1900) and is an outstanding repertory theatre with packed houses.
Birmingham Rep IB offer
Hungry? Medicine – found on Birmingham’s New Street, just like us – is an artisan bakery, café and gallery. This first-floor gem occupies a wonderful space which was formerly home to the Royal Society of Birmingham Artists. The menu currently ranges from tempting cakes such as kronuts and brownies (vegan options on the menu) to savoury delights like a croissant with goats cheese and caramelized onion or salt beef, pickle and mustard on rye.
Medicine IB offer
Birmingham offers outstanding mainstream shopping, of course, but we’d like to suggest some independent heroes to seek out while you are here:
- Vinyl is back big time and Swordfish Records (est. 1979) managed to survive the dark times
Swordfish IB offer
- Vincent Van Doodle designs are inspired by icons of art, science, music and culture. Everything they sell is made locally and it’s a great place to find an unusual gift. Proudly quirky!
Vincent Van Doodle IB offer
How about grabbing a meal to bring your time in Birmingham to a close? Want elegant fine dining (and an emphasis on sustainability)? Opus Restaurant is the place for you. If you want something more informal, Gas Street Social at The Mailbox or Bodega Bar Y Cantina could be good options.
Opus IB offer
Gas Street Social IB offer
Bodega Bar Y Cantina IB offer
We’ve only scratched the surface of what the Independent Birmingham Card has to offer. Check the Independent Birmingham website for more deals.
We’re proud to be part of the independent scene in Birmingham. Take a look at our 5* & 4* serviced apartments at the heart of Birmingham city centre. They’re a great base for making the most of the Second City.