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Bacchus, Birmingham

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user reviews of Bacchus, Birmingham

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Bacchus was the solitary remaining pub in Birmingham in the last 14 Good Beer Guides I'd yet to visit. So I put that right on Tuesday evening. It's an unusual Nicholsons pub situated in an arcade under a hotel. The décor is impressive. Sadly the beer range isn't - St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale & Tribute, Sharps Doom Bar, Hook Norton Lion, Brains Phonics, Purity Ubu & Kelburn Goldihops. Nothing we tried was any good. So we only stayed for a half. Worth trying once to see the interior though.
blue_scrumpy - 3 Mar 2016 22:29
Just popped in for the decor, which is as stated by previous reviewers.
Service was painfully slow and when i asked about food, there was a 1hr wait.
The bar was nearly empty so i can't see where a 1hr wait came from.
Average beers on, Marston's Pedigree £3.20. Nicholsons pale and the dreaded Doomed bar. Worth a look.
rpf1955 - 19 Aug 2015 19:51
In the Birmingham Mail top 10 bars in Birmingham to visit.

I simply cannot believe that I have not been here before.

Tucked down below a hotel/shopping arcade on New Street, its an oasis of fine decor - all in the roman style. Columns, water jugs, murals, paintings and so on.

An unexpected joy in the centre of BRM.

Beer was OK as well - say Korev Cornish Lager for the first time outside the South West.
Mappiman - 19 Dec 2014 15:01
Yup, worth going in just to admire the place. Personally didn`t have too much trouble getting served...helps if your a bit of a buildery type as the suits think they'll get mucky if they stand next to you! Prices not vastly expensive...better than the OJS looked ok and beers in good nick..must visit.
Blastbeat - 25 Jun 2014 13:38
First time in here - you have to go just to look at the decor! It is grand; elegant; different; pastiche;genuine; arty-farty - whatever! It's a mix and is worth seeing. It is run by the Nicholson's chain so there was (or should have been) a good selection of ales. However some were not available and their serving policy is wierd to say the least. We stood at the bar waiting to get our drinks whilst staff watzed to and fro none of them serving! One girl appeared to be the only staff member "on duty". however a chap standing next to us got servied before us and when we complained to the young barman who had suddenly turned up he told us that where we were standing was not in his serving area so he served the next gut!! We waited and eventually got our beer. So it's a fascinating place which needs more staff (Saturday 6.30pm). Worth a look though.
mcroyal - 24 Mar 2014 10:14
I like this place a lot. Mainly because of the dcor and you can pop in for a quiet drink. However, it can get painfully busy, especially after work. This is not so good as being a vaulted bar it can get too warm inside.

Good cask ale and wine selection. They do Malbec by the glass, which is a rarity these days as you only seem to get it by the bottle in most places. They also now have their own signature ale; Nicholson's Pale Ale brewed exclusively by St. Austell but Im yet to sample.

The bar area is small and so if it is busy it can feel like a lifetime to get served.

The food is good, but at a price 10-14 for a Sunday roast cant quite figure out if its actually worth that much to sit in a Renaissance style library or Egyptian tomb yeah I can, the answer is no.

Finally, if you want to escape work or the Mrss calls and have a quiet (albeit expensive) pint this is the place as you will NEVER get a phone signal in this place.
B3XTER - 28 Jun 2012 13:06
Bar service painfully slow at times. But beer very good: despite being disappointed that the UBU was out, I had a superb pint of Brains' Reverend James. Very well kept. Food was good and only took half an hour. Given the bar service I was worried it would take much longer. Superb "vault" location, very atmospheric.
john8pr - 30 Dec 2011 18:37
Pretty good - interesting decor, decent pint of Doombar. Tad overpriced (7.80 for that and a vodka & tonic).

Relaex atmosphere, can be a bit tricky getting a table at times.
MisterSifter - 20 Sep 2011 13:31
Excellent decor (* its mostly fibreglass ..), not easy to find as in a hotel lobby cum shopping arcade ! On my visit there were two Thornbridge beers on both were excellent, well recommend this place if passing.
Number.6 - 21 Feb 2011 21:50
Bacchus is a strange pub. But in a good way.

Upon first entering you might be mistaken for thinking it's actually four different bars. If you go in with somebody, one of you could be sitting in a Medieval banquet room, while three feet away your friend is in a Rennaissance Library. It's beautifully decorated whichever room you sit in.

Unfortunately it's let down by expensive drinks and food. Don't get me wrong, the meals my girlfriend and I had were very nice (standard Nicholsons' menu) but the beer was pretty poor and not worth the 3 and upwards I paid for it (and this was 2 years ago). The staff in there seemed a bit standoffish as well and don't seem to make an effort to get anybody served quickly. Understandable if they were busy but this was on a quiet Wednesday night.
CitizenWolfie - 4 Feb 2011 16:00
Absolutely no excuse for this let down. At least four lines of which two were shut for line cleaning at 5pm. Could the owner / manager get their lazy asses out of bed before the bar opens to clean the lines? The limited and uninspiring choice (of two) was overpriced. Food was too expensive to wet the appetite. Such a pity as with the location this place could be something special!
FloridaM - 20 Jan 2011 17:17
An amazing place, I've never seen anywhere like it, good choice of beers and generally well kept, completely amazing decor, the only donwside is it can be very busy with limited seating esp if any more than 2 of you, go and have a look at least
tprobins - 16 Jan 2011 22:23
Dreadful place with shocking management. Shame really as its location and interior could make it quite special. Poorly kept ale, from my taste of the ubu. Popped in for half and no seats, to be told by 12 year old manager that the empty dining room was fully booked. At six in the evening. The kind of place that never fails to disappoint. Go to the Wellington for ale, or sounds like pizza hut is a better food option.
elbunglio - 28 Nov 2010 18:18
Can't really add much more than the review below - it has to be seen to be believed.

I regularly go here, as it seems to be a secret, so you can always get a seat, and get quick service at the bar. And what a bar. About 5 ales on in my last visit (which regularly change), and they offer you a proper handle pint glass or one without. Always go for the handle!

Good ale pub.
berkfromtrapdoor - 24 Aug 2010 16:53
I love this bar. It is so splendidly tacky and over the top. It's full of medieval suits of armour, Greek statues and Egyption hyrogliphics - all made out of glass fibre! Every time I go in it I wonder if the interior designer who came up with it was for real or not. This is one of the places I take people when they first visit Birmingham. I hope it never changes. It should be listed as a national monument.

Another thing I like about this place is the name. Bacchus was the Greek god of wine and there is a statue of him (in glas fibre) above the bar. Also this bar is under the hotel in which Enoch Powel gave his 'Rivers of Blood' speech. I love a bit of local history.

This place went down hill for a while when they stoped doing Hoogarden. As I result I went less often. But last time I visited they had a sellection of wheet beers and hand pumps. Actually I feel like going there right now.
llucas1 - 19 Mar 2010 15:36
Watch out for the illegal Erdingers! I have just got back home from a big argument with the bar staff. Half of the Erdinger glasses are European and have 0.5l marked, instead of 1pint. Today, I insisted on a pint, but the barmaid quoted the old 'its on the line so its ok' which is fair enough, but the line in question is illegal as it's not a pint but a 0.5l.

The head barman said it was out of his hands, 'the brewery tells us' to use them - and it's the luck of the draw as to whether you get a pint or a 0.5l glass.

I'm 100% certain they can't charge 3.95 for a pint of Erdinger - when it's a 0.5l.
techno12 - 27 Dec 2009 20:38
A very interesting location as previously described and worth a look. Weaker beer was dearer than the stronger beer strangely but both excellent.
keith253 - 18 Aug 2009 09:38
Very ornate cellar bar under the MacDonald Burlington hotel. If you like churchlike interiors with a medieval theme alongside suits of armour, tombs of old warriors, alcoves and subdued lighting, then this is the place for you. Its pretty impressive really. It has two banks of three handpumps doubling up with Pedigree, Bombardier and Everards Sly Fox on the bar. Over two visits last week (I was at a meeting at the hotel above) I had a pint of the Sly Fox which was only OK and a pint of the Bombardier which was pretty good. It is a little expensive at 3 a pint but someone has to pay for the decor. Slightly surprisingly it has a quiz machine, which is a little out of place. I didnt know they had those back in the dark ages. Its an OK place to go if youre after a bit of private conversation in smart surroundings.
ROBCamra - 8 Jun 2009 16:40
nice wine selection, only one ale on, but the serving ladies were very nice and my food was alright. A bit pricey but the surroundings make up for it.
mattyboy - 3 Jul 2008 12:21
Good decor. Service OK. Food disappointing - preprepped ingredients, not very good. A bit pricey but nice intimate, quirky surroundings.
davver - 19 Dec 2007 13:23
Cracking bar!
Food's great, nice selection of wine but not much choice for real ale fans.
mrbeerbelly - 2 Feb 2007 19:07
This place is rather fun...sort of crazy faux opulence, high backed chairs and lots of plaster scultures and arches interesting place to look at! Good range of posh drinks to add to the atmosphere of poshness. Not the cheapest, but the idea here is to pretend that you are richer than you actually are.
Muzthing - 11 Jan 2006 10:27
Yeah a nice place, very unusual feeling, something between a wine cellar, bar and a dungeon. Good beers and wines too, though not the cheapest on the block, it has a good atmosphere.
OldRogue - 22 Nov 2005 16:02
great underground hide away. opulent decor ... must have cost a bomb. nice place to stop off on a saturday afternoon for lunch or after work for a rioja. quite busy on a friday ... older crowd.

anonymous - 7 Sep 2005 16:57

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