Joyfully different, this is a venue run by people who take real pride in what they do. Since 2010 the folks at The Soul Food Project have been treating people to their own brand of hospitality in the form of great food and music across the city. Now they have a place to call their own in the form of The Church Inn.
Step inside from the run-down industrial edge of the Jewellery Quarter, at first sight you’re in a lovingly restored British pub. Look a little closer and you begin to realise that this isn’t an ordinary pub. Amid the beautiful stained glass windows and rich wooden panelling emerge a few plush dining booths, exotic smells drift from the kitchen and your eye is drawn to the array of cocktail equipment on the bar.
Head upstairs and you’re confronted with a true rarity in Birmingham. A roof terrace. With the beer garden of The Lord Clifden next door, alfresco dining and drinking in these parts just raised its game.
Just a pub? Look a little closer to find the true and exciting essence of The Church Inn (Photo credit: Jack Spicer Adams)
The Food and Drink
Those familiar with the Deep South comfort food of The Soul Food Project will recognise a few old favourites, but the menu here has matured and reflects more of the traditional aspects of Cajun and Creole home cooking. Anyone expecting traditional pub food should brace themselves and expect to try something new. Catfish Goujons anyone?
Cocktails range from beautifully simple to ornate and elaborate. There’s a big tip of the hat to their Deep South heritage that comes through in the New Orleans Classics section. Modern creations also catch the eye along with a selection of reassuringly simple offerings. A handful of decent ales, a few premium imported lagers, a local stout and a good wheat beer provide enough diversity to keep all except perhaps the beer geeks amongst us happy.
New Orleans has struck an awesome nerve with the tailor made cocktails at The Church Inn (Photo credit: Jack Spicer Adams)
The Atmosphere and Clientele
In the best pub tradition, all are welcome. Expect to find a reassuring mixture of the well attired, the food enthusiast and the curious passer by. The music reflects the diversity and energy of the place, and alongside the food is the beating heart of the Soul Food Project.
The cool and curious are set to be regulars at this relaxed pub come cocktail bar (Photo credit: Jack Spicer Adams)
The Deep South is a huge melting pot of cultures that has given us most importantly, great food and music. For me, the essence of this tradition is alive and kicking in Birmingham; another place made famous for its multiculturalism. With the freedom of The Church Inn, The Soul Food Project are in touch with their roots and are no doubt richer for it.