Entangling themselves in Digbeth's creative scene, one new venue has made a momentous mark on the city, and its Custard Factory alike. Nabbing a natter with owners Andrew Purvis and Damien Fell, we uncover a space that they feel Birmingham has been 'crying out for'. 

Answers for Andrew Purvis

Tell us a little about yourselves and Alfie Bird’s. Im originally from Newcastle but have lived in Birmingham since 1998, I managed to escape to London for a few years but came came back to Brum in 2012. Alfie Bird’s is a multi purpose Bar & Pizzeria with its sister venue The Oobleck situated in a Warehouse next door. For those in the know you can access both venues through a secret bookcase, come discover it for yourself. 
Considering the bar’s previous nature, what made you jump at the chance to take on this previously ignored Digbeth space? Back in my early days in Brum this site was known as The Medicine Bar. I had many a great evening spent here and it holds many good but blurry memories. The opportunity to take on this space was too good to resist and the concept we put together is something I feel Digbeth and Birmingham as a whole has been crying out for.

alfie birds birmingham interview

Alfie Bird's patrons on the second floor balcony of this up and coming Custard Factory venue.

Does the destination really make a difference? And was it important that Alfie Bird’s land in an area such as Digbeth? Digbeth is regarded as the musical & creative epicentre of Birmingham so it made perfect sense for us to look for a spot in this area. The concept is our personal take on what you tend to see in East London or the Northern Quarter of Manchester and Digbeth or The Custard Factory itself are the closest Brum has to offer to this.
You were given so grand a space to play with. What made you decide on a theme for each floor, rather than deck the venue out with a continual mode? We really wanted to create spaces that lended themselves to different experiences. For example the downstairs is our Pizzeria with a more food based element to it, above that we have a 60’s inspired retro looking Cocktail lounge with a further loft space above it which is ideal for private parties or corporate bookings as well as the live music warehouse next door. The plan is to offer spaces that appeal to people whatever their reason for being here. You can relax with a Pizza, drink some fine cocktails or see a great gig all under one roof.
Your music venue, The Oobleck, can be found behind a secret bookcase cabinet. Shoot, we just gave it away. How important is music to a venue like Alfie Bird’s? In my eyes music makes the world go round and is a great way of bringing people from all walks of life together in one place. It also helps introduce the other concepts we offer to a broader spectrum of people who may not necessarily of heard about the great bar or pizzeria that is also on site.
If you could pick a favourite floor in the venue, what would it be and why? My favourite floor has to be the loft room. We had the bar made out of scaffolding boards which we painted then destressed, it looks amazing. With its massive windows you also get a great view of Digbeth all the way to the Bullring and St Martins Church. At dusk with the lighting dimmed, this room is a pretty special place.
Libby is rustling up something special in the 60s inspired cocktail bar, but what would she suggest we try from the menu? Obviously I’m biased so I have to say there is not a bad drink on the menu. If I had to choose one however it would be the Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail, i’m not saying whats in it you will need to come find out for yourself. 
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to the future of Alfie Bird’s? More great gigs, more great pizzas, more great cocktails & meeting more great people! 
If you could sum Alfie Bird’s up in three words, what would they be and why? Gourmet Eats & Beats because that is exactly what we provide.

 alfie birds birmingham venue digbeth

Birmingham's young and creative have found a home, and pizza vouchers, in Alfie Bird's.

Answers for Damien Fell

Tell us a little about yourselves and Alfie Bird’s. Been working within the Birmingham nightlife scene for roughly 10/11 years and been involved at management level with Gatecrasher, HMV Institute & more recently The Rainbow Venues in Digbeth. 
Considering the bar’s previous nature, what made you jump at the chance to take on this previously ignored Digbeth space? As a resident and professional within Digbeth, I've always seen the need for an alternative to the dance music orientated nightclub offer the area currently provides.  i love the buzz of the live music scene and all of interesting and dedicated characters operating in it.  The space itself is perfect for what we had planned, bringing together both my own and Andrew’s main attributes.  I also had a personal agenda to bring my old stomping ground ‘The Medicine Bar’ back to life, but with our own little twist 
Does the destination really make a difference? And was it important that Alfie Bird’s land in an area such as Digbeth? Digbeth is regarded as the musical & creative epicentre of Birmingham so it made perfect sense for us to look for a spot in this area. The concept is our personal take on what you tend to see in East London or the Northern Quarter of Manchester and Digbeth or The Custard Factory itself are the closest Brum has to offer to this. 
You were given so grand a space to play with. What made you decide on a theme for each floor, rather than deck the venue out with a continual mode? We really wanted to create spaces that lended themselves to different experiences. For example the downstairs is our Pizzeria with a more food based element to it, above that we have a 60’s inspired retro looking Cocktail lounge with a further loft space above it which is ideal for private parties or corporate bookings as well as the live music warehouse next door. The plan is to offer spaces that appeal to people whatever their reason for being here. You can relax with a Pizza, drink some fine cocktails or see a great gig all under one roof.

alfie birds birmingham interview

Cocktails found in Libby's Lounge are as fun and frivolous as the clientele.

Your music venue, The Oobleck, can be found behind a secret bookcase cabinet. Shoot, we just gave it away. How important is music to a venue like Alfie Bird’s? The music aspect to the venue is of most important to us.  Its also extremely important we get a nice variety of genres, as we welcome a mixture of audiences.  Food and Music aren’t ideas explored very often, so as operators that like to do things differently, of course its the route we just had to go down.  You just cant beat pizza and rock n roll. 
If you could pick a favourite floor in the venue, what would it be and why? My personal favourite has to be The Oobleck.  There was a moment during The opening Swim Deep gig, which was packed, and showed the venue at its fullest potential, that i was stood there in awe at what we had achieved in such a short space of time.  I dont think i’ll ever forget that moment, and hope to have it repeated multiple times over in the next few years, as for me, thats what its all about.  With so many big shows lined up, im sure ill not be disappointed.