Birmingham's new pubs and bars boom

Related tags Broad street High street City centre City Public house

Birmingham's popularity is soaring as a location for new pubs and bars.Ten years ago Birmingham was the concrete city of the Midlands, characterised...

Birmingham's popularity is soaring as a location for new pubs and bars.

Ten years ago Birmingham was the concrete city of the Midlands, characterised by the large, rather ugly, Bull Ring shopping centre. Now with the influx of new developments it is fast becoming one of the most exciting cities for those in the pub and bar sector. The Bull Ring is being renovated and now Birmingham offers everything for those who want to go out, whether it is to a traditional pub or to a trendy lounge bar.

The UK's second city has always strived to be an entertainment centre and has encouraged a boom in pubs, bars and leisure operations. It is now bidding to be the European City of Culture in 2008 and has even unveiled plans for its own version of the London Eye.

The main entertainment locations in the city centre - Broad Street and the surrounding areas of Brindley Place and Canal Street - now boast 60 pubs and bars, with a weekend night capacity of 30,000 people. The latest licensing figures from the government show that there were 763 pubs in the city in June 2001.

But this popularity comes at a price. Rental levels are some of the highest outside London, according to property agents with prime spots on Broad Street going for £30 per square foot compared to £10 for less popular areas.

But, even with the high rentals, the city is continuing to boom with property agents saying that while there are plenty of people looking to buy there is a shortage of good properties to sell.

The Birmingham office of Fleurets has seen a record year for business. Paul Newby, director, said: "Business is booming and we have had a record year. The market is still strong and we can't get our hands on enough good properties.

"But the huge explosion of bars in the city centre means that inevitably some of the smaller traditional pubs have suffered."

Many feel that the city centre has become saturated and too expensive for both high street and individual operators.

For example, Modern British Taverns, which owned the 52 Degrees North bar, has sold this flagship site to Urbium because it believes the city is over-licensed.

Neil Comley of the Birmingham office of Christie & Co agrees, claiming that many operators are being pushed off the high street by the increasing rental prices.

"In urban areas we have seen several operators moving away from high street locations, where they were incurring vastly inflated rents, and moving back towards community style operations," he said.

While his colleague Noel Moffitt, who heads the corporate division at Christie's Birmingham office, says there are still operators who are looking to get onto the main circuit of Broad Street, he predicts that Colmore Row, the business centre of Birmingham, will be the next area to see a boom in pubs and bars.

Even the Star City development in the outskirts of the city, owned by Marylebone Warwick Balfour, is seeing better trading, say agents.

The leisure centre had suffered criticism from pub and bar operators who said their businesses were struggling due to poor promotion. Mustard Entertainment, the owner of the Brannigans chain, closed its late-night venue Mustard claiming that the centre was not busy enough.

With operators still fighting for space on Broad Street and agents predicting new areas for development, it looks like Birmingham is going to assert its position as the UK's second city.

Leisure development in Birmingham city

  • Arena​ - a retail and leisure complex that is to be the new focal point of the city's West End
  • Arcadian​ - situated on Hurst Street it boasts a range of bars including 52 Degrees North which has just been purchased by Urbium and Six Continents' O'Neill's
  • Broad Street​ - the main high street in Birmingham with over 25 pubs and bars
  • Brindley Place​ - 17-acre mixed use development with a range of bars and restaurants
  • Broadway Plaza​ - a £70m leisure, retail and residential scheme currently under construction
  • Canal Street​ - waterside stretch boasting operators such as Pitcher & Piano
  • East Side​ - new development in the city centre will boost retail and leisure
  • Five Ways Leisure​ - the £40m leisure centre hosts the new Tiger Tiger bar
  • Mailbox​ - mixed use development including bars and restaurants such as Bar Room Bar, Ink, Bar Estilo and Epernay (pictured)
  • Star City​ - outside the centre and boasts SFI's Bar Med and S&N's Long Island Ice Tea Bar.

Related topics Property law

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more