Now that the pubs are open again, they need our business, and we can all start sharing tips about the hidden gems we’ve found of the years. And nowhere has more hidden gems than Digbeth. So here are some of my best pubs in Digbeth Birmingham for a pint.
The area of Digbeth has changed a lot over the last decade. The incredible success of Digbeth Dining Club has bought crowds young and old flocking to the area regularly. Restaurants and cafes have popped up, as has Ghetto Golf, the indoor crazy golf course for adults where a drinks service is available as you play. The area has gone from being part of the industrial inner city to a thriving hub of entertainment and entrepreneurship.
As this has happened, a lot of Digbeth’s old pubs have changed hands and been refashioned for a new crowd. But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost character. If anything, a lot of the venues have had much-needed updates, giving them a new lease of life and saving them from becoming flats or flattened.
So if you’ve got a post-lockdown thirst to try somewhere new, here’s a quick overview of some Digbeth’s more eclectic drinking spots.
92 Floodgate St, Deritend, B5 5SR
With old-school lights hung across the street, Floodgate Street has become one of the area’s defining images. It’s also home to The Ruin, formerly Ansell’s pub called Horan’s Tavern.
Opened in 2017 and inspired by bars in Budapest, you quickly understand where The Ruin gets its name from when you realise that all the paintwork in and around the pub is the old decorations rubbed down and left as-is. The effect is stunningly unique and it’s a wonderful little Brummie pub to sit, have a real pint of ale, good pub food. And they also have a ‘computer room’.
43 River St, Deritend, B5 5SA
Dig Brew can be a little tricky to find but well worth it. It sits on River Street, between Floodgate Street and Fazeley Street.
Situated in an old warehouse, Dig Brew is one of the most unusual places you’ll ever visit for a pint in Birmingham. It’s part-owned by Pete the Pie, owner of the famous Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory in Tipton; but where the Pie Factory offers tradition, Dig Brew is ultra-modern.
On entering, you walk through the venue’s microbrewery to get to the long bar (made of reclaimed materials), after which you can sit at one of the long tables and enjoy one of their amazing brewed-on-site craft ales. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an open pizza kitchen at the back if you get hungry.
28 Adderley St, Birmingham, B9 4ED
Until 2018, Dead Wax was The Wagon & Horses, the go-to venue for rock and punk gigs in the city. After extensive refurbishment, it reopened in 2019 as Dead Wax, an ultra-cool pub with a focus on great beer, great food and vinyl (hence the name). Inside, it still looks and feels like a “proper” pub, with hand-pulls and craft ales filling the bar and plenty of places to sit, enjoy a quiet pint, and check out the eclectic range of vinyl spinning on the turntable behind the bar.
THE NIGHT OWL
7-18 Lower Trinity St, Deritend, B9 4AG
Situated halfway along Lower Trinity Street, home of the aforementioned Digbeth Dining Club events, The Night Owl opened in 2015 as a nightclub with a focus on Northern Soul music. Over the years, it has grown to encompass all kinds of music, with tribute acts for everyone from Oasis to Kate Bush performing and club nights covering everything from disco to ska.
Post-lockdown, it has temporarily repurposed itself as a bar with music playing. You can book a table and sit inside or in its sizeable open-air area. For those with a taste for the exotic, they do an excellent line in cocktails. And if you like you’re music mod-flavoured, it’s worth checking out.
THE OLD CROWN, Digbeth
188 High St, Deritend, B12 0LD
We can’t look at pubs in Digbeth and not mention The Old Crown. You could say the same of a lot of other pubs in the West Midlands (The Spotted Dog, for one) but The Old Crown gets in because it’s the oldest non-religious building in Birmingham, dating back to 1348. But The Old Crown doesn’t rest on its 652-year-old laurels. It mixes the traditional (great drinks, lovely food, cosy atmosphere) with the trendy (DJs playing soul and disco music in the large outdoor area).
That ends our quick tour of just some of what Digbeth pubs have to offer those looking for a decent pint or maybe you’re researching for a Brum pub crawl. From all of us at Majesticlay in Birmingham. Happy (and responsible) drinking!