Eating and Drinking

Where to eat in Birmingham

Broad Street - where most conference hotels are located - has a number of restaurants and pubs serving food.  However there is a wider choice of restaurants just behind the north side of Broad Street and along the canal frontage in Brindley Place, and into the neighbouring squares where you can find Cafe Opus located at the magnificant neo-gothic former Oozells Street Board School, now also the home to the Ikon contemporary art gallery, and Bank - a conpemporary canal-side restaurant.

Alternatively, try the traditional canal-side pub/restaurant, the Tap and Spile, on Gas Street (where the Conference shuttle bus departs), which runs south off Broad Street (on the corner with the Australian Bar).  A few minutes walk south along the canal past the Tap and Spittle, and over the bridge, will bring you to the Mailbox and the Cube (impossible to miss!!) where there are also large numbers of restaurants. On the other side of Broad Street, behind the ICC, is another old pub popular for its range of beers and also serving food - this is the Prince of Wales in Cambridge Street.

There are numerous café bars and restaurants close to the location of the Sunday evening welcome social and Monday evening’s civic reception between Victoria Square (where the Council House is located), Birmingham Cathedral (to the west) and New Street (to the south), on Colmore Row, Waterloo Street, Bennetts Hill and Temple Street. 

It is also easy to get from here to the 'Chinese Quarter'. Located in the Hurst Street area, within 10-15 minutes walk from Broad Street, you will find a large number of restaurants.  These range from small Chinese/Singaporean/Malaysian eateries (e.g. the Village Café on Ladywell Walk) to the larger and lively Café Soya on Upper Dean Street behind the Rag Market.  There are Korean, Japanese, Chinese, South American and other types of restaurants in the Arcadian Centre, located along Hurst Street. 

Nearby, there is a cluster of restaurants - mainly chains like Wagamama, Jamie’s, etc. - at the end of New Street by St. Martin’s Church steps.  About 10 minutes walk from here brings you to a small, friendly and very good quality vegetarian restaurant – the Warehouse – located above Friends of the Earth in Allison Street (closed Sunday and Monday).

If you are in the mood for a tasting menu – try Adam’s Resturant just off New Street.  This Michelin starred restaurant is highly praised. A 9 course tasting menu costs around £80 with an option to add paired wines.

If you like beer two places worth a try are the famous Wellington Pub on Bennetts Hill, with an ever changing selection of 15 real ales. Expect beards and carpet. You might also try the recently opened Pure Bar on Waterloo Street, stocking a full range of Purity Ales and some rather nice food. Both are close to Victoria Square

Further afield, a 15 minute taxi ride (about £12) will take you to Moseley, an inner suburb with the Prince of Wales pub located on Alcester Road - serving a wide selection of real ales (in the traditional front ‘public’ bar), and behind this small snugs, in pub garden visit the Shed du Vin for a wide selection of wines and the outdoor cocktail bar, and if you fancy a smoke ask Keith the landlord for a visit to his humidor to purchase one of his wide selection of New World Cigars from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, etc. 

The Prince doesn’t serve food, but round the corner and a few minutes walk along Woodbridge Road you will find several small, friendly restaurants, including Thai Sabai Sabai, Indian tandoori/balti Kababish, and Moroccan La Fibule.  La Fibule is ‘bring your own alcoholic dinks’; these can be purchased from the wide range available at the off-licence next to Sabai Sabai.  It is worth ringing to book a table as they can be very popular!

For something spicier, Birmingham’s renowned Balti Triangle can be found along the Ladypool Road and adjacent streets in Balsall Heath (15 minute taxi ride from Broad Street, about £12).  Many of these restaurants now offer ‘all you can eat buffets’ as well as an á la carte menu – the buffets are a good way of eating as much as you want for very little cost; however order from the menu if you want freshly cooked meals.  If you don’t want your Balti too spicy with chilli, ask the waiter for a mild one.  Most Balti restaurants do not serve alcohol, but there are several off-licences on Ladypool Road.  However if you want to take good quality wine, you are more likely to find this somewhere like the Sainsbury supermarket on Broad Street (near the Novotel)– so buy before you get your taxi!

Opening Times:  Some restaurants close Sunday evening.  

Booking: Restaurants can be popular, so if you are thinking of going somewhere particular it is worth ringing to reserve a table.  Most people eat between 19.30 and 21.30, so before or after these times restaurants are generally quieter.

Vegetarian:  All restaurants will have a vegetarian option on their menu. 

Taxis: All taxis are safe to use.  TOA is the Black Cab company operating from taxi ranks; restaurants/hotels can also order you a taxi (this will often be a ‘hire car’ rather than a Black Cab; it may not be metered and the driver may ask what you usually pay – in this case just ask him what the cost is!  Drivers are trustworthy, but there is guidance on typical costs above).