As a wine lover and newcomer to the UK’s second city (yes, I escaped London), I decided to take part in a pilgrimage of wine bars in Birmingham.
Birmingham is celebrated for its characterful pubs, Balti Triangle, and growing number of Michelin-starred restaurants. But what if you’re in the mood for a glass, or two, of wine?
From perfect date venues to well-stocked wine merchants offering specialised tasting events, I was excited to find such a burgeoning wine scene.
Here are my top 5 picks for anyone seeking a wine bar in Birmingham
1. Cheval Blanc wine bar in Moseley
Cheval Blanc is well worth the trip out of the city centre. This Birmingham wine bar offers its guests an intimate setting.
Low-hanging lampshades, comfy armchairs and a glass floor, which overlooks the wine cellar below, all create real warmth and a vintage feel.
Here, you can sample around 25 wines by the glass, and if you’re after a bottle, the cellar has room for up to 1,500 of them!
Wine is paired with sharing plates and the menu is seasonal, changing around every 3 months. Special events include themed menu nights, and cheese tasting.
The bartenders all have their WSET qualification, and like to share stories and insights into the wines they have chosen to stock here.
Conversations between creatives during the day and late-night weekend drinking for couples seeking a nightcap (the bar stays open until 2am on weekends).
What I drank
Perched by the bar, and enjoying the company of knowledgeable barman/wine expert Rory, I drank a glass of Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand (2014).
2. Bottles wine bar at The Mailbox
In a prime spot next to the Mailbox, and overlooking the canal, Bottles is the newest wine bar Birmingham has to offer.
Since opening in December 2016, it has been enjoying real success with wine-drinkers, who are drawn to its laid-back feel and generous menu of 30 wines by the glass and choice of 300 wines by the bottle.
The bar also boasts two wine dispensers, which allow you to taste premium wines, some priced at £100, for as little as 60p per measure.
Alongside wine, the bar offers a range of Mediterranean-style tapas plates, perfect for sharing.
If you’re looking for a party venue, you can hire the bar for an evening of conviviality and wine drinking.
Friends wanting to try a range of wines, without breaking the bank. Or on quieter weekday evenings, for dates looking to impress.
What I drank
Sitting at one of the bar’s trendy wine barrels, I sampled a selection of wines from the dispensers, before drinking a glass of Château Vitallis, Pouilly-Fuissé, Chardonnay (2014).
3. Loki wine bar in Birmingham City Centre
Situated in Birmingham’s elegant Great Western Arcade, Loki is both a wine bar and wine merchant, offering fine wines from around the world.
It very feels at home amongst the independent shops in this unique Victorian passageway.
Step inside, and you will find that this Birmingham wine bar boasts 5 wine dispensers, with over 40 wines by the glass on offer, including unusual grape varieties and wines from non-traditional regions.
You can also pay a £5 corkage fee and drink any wine stocked in the shop.
Working closely with other boutiques in the arcade, Loki offers artisan breads, meats and cheeses to accompany your glass of wine.
It also hosts wine tasting events, including prosecco and champagne tasting.
Wine lovers in search of new and unusual wines to try. Unarguably the most traditional wine bar Birmingham has, Loki has an old world charm whilst still remaining universally welcoming.
What I drank
Too many wines to remember, but a glass of Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella (2012) was memorable.
4. Hotel du Vin wine bar in the Colmore Business District
With high ceilings, long mirrors, and soft-back chairs, this hotel-bar feels like it could feature in a scene from a classic rom-com.
Smartly-dressed, well-groomed barmen, including 3 trained sommeliers, serve an array of 24 wines by the glass to your table, alongside a range of champagnes.
Next door is the bistro, where they offer themed dinners and wine tastings, for those new to wine and experts alike.
In partnership with the Birmingham Wine School they host tutored weekend wine courses, which include lunch in the restaurant and a glass of champagne.
Wining (and dining) your date during the week or for couples after a weekend away. By night is best, with candle-lit corners offering the perfect escape from the city outside.
The wine tasting courses would make a great gift.
What I drank A glass of The Liberator, Francophile Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch (2015).
5. Connolly’s wine shop in the Jewellery Quarter
Based on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter, Connolly’s is not so much a Birmingham wine bar as it is wine merchant.
With nearly 2,000 bottles in stock, this is a treasure trove where you could easily while away a Saturday afternoon exploring wines by region.
Knowledgeable and helpful staff are only too happy to recommend an impressive wine to pair with the dinner you are cooking for your parents-in-law/friends/self/delete as appropriate.
It also offers an extensive range of events, including ‘The Connolly's Challenge’.
You’ll taste 8 wines centred around a theme, such as Australian Reds or Pinot Noir, learn a little about the background of each wine and then launch into a competition, re-tasting all eight wines from unmarked bottles to see how many you can identify.
Browsing in a haven of wine, or tutored tasting in a fun, relaxed atmosphere during one of their many events.
What I drank
I bought a bottle of Louisvale Dominique Red Blend, Stellenbosch (2014) to be drunk one lazy afternoon, whilst writing about wine.
Ruth Millington is a freelance writer and can frequently be found sampling fine wines in Birmingham’s best wine bars!
(Generous amounts of wine were drunk in the research undertaken for this article)
Posted by Ruth Millington