It was a Wednesday night and I wanted to meet my girlfriend somewhere for a drink…that wasn’t a pub! We both work in Birmingham City Centre so I decided to treat her to some fancy cocktails at Ginger's Bar within Purnell’s Bistro. You’re only young once right?
As you step up the stairs from the street and into Purnell’s, a sleek, chic ambience hits you in the face. To the right and straight ahead is Ginger's bar area and further on down is the restaurant. The idea behind Ginger's is a 1930s, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers inspired space that “embraces the relaxed vibes of Manhattan” and the style is a nod to “the glamour experienced in the 1930s era”. I’m lucky enough to have been to Manhattan quite a few times and I don’t think it quite matches up to that billing but there is definitely an air of somewhere classier and chicer than your average Birmingham bar. The stark bright walls are contrasted with cosy chesterfield sofas and pouffes. It definitely lends itself to lounging down in a corner and sipping away on cocktails, forgetting the hustle and bustle of Birmingham’s Square Mile outside.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
We arrived at about seven o’clock on a Wednesday night so no surprise the bar was pretty full with groups of suits and pencil skirts all winding down after a hard day at the office. It is definitely a young professional and business crowd here due to the higher prices than its surrounding competitors. How busy it was on a Wednesday night must be testament to its popularity and quality. The lively background music and loud chitter chatter and laughing created a really fun and buzzy atmosphere.
Ginger's is a serious cocktail bar in Birmingham. Cocktails run at the heart of everything they do; this is self proclaimed too with their mantra of, “knowledge, passion and inventiveness.” They “aim to re-educate Birmingham and get the City drinking great cocktails once again.” Anyone that has such passion and desire to rekindle a city’s drinking habits gets the thumbs up in my book. So…to the drinks; the cocktail menu reads like a drinking science experiment of spirits and flavours that most would never have heard of. We opted for the Blackcurrant and Ginseng Rickey that included Ginseng infused Gin, Cassis, Vanilla Gomme, Lime, Soda and Jerry Thomas Bitters. See what I mean! A veritable feast of complex and balanced cocktail making. Second on the taste list was the Positive Curiosity; a blend of pear liquor, Cardamon bitters, Cognac, Pinot Grigio and Plum Sake…not one for the faint hearted! Both were delicious though and it makes a real difference to have something served up that was created and mixed with such thought. This precision comes at a price with cocktails around the £9+ mark; expensive for Birmingham. There is also a substantial bar food menu including burgers, steak and pork belly and chips around the £9.50 mark.
While I was not blown away with the décor, the promise of a Ginger Rogers Manhattan inspired bar fell short of the mark. However the Ginger's team more than make up for it with the superb creation and execution of a cocktail menu that, for me, is far ahead of most of their counterparts in Birmingham. So yes, the Ginger's team do live up to their self-hype and perhaps they are the ones to drag the Birmingham cocktail scene into the modern era.