(Issue 117)
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BOURNE & CO: BORN 2016

If you're wondering where the GMs of every city centre bar worth hitting finished their weekends, there's a three word answer. And we tell you that with the authority of a team that cumulatively found our way to the very same bar three times in four days. We've got the gloriously enthusiastic and only partially incomprehensible notes to prove it. Bourne & Co is open, and it might just be your new favourite bar.
Mikey Bourne has created and consulted on cocktails, bars, and bars that serve cocktails across Birmingham, Cairo and Dubai. He's been mixing for fifteen years, and if you want to find out how much a person can learn in that time, Bourne & Co, Mikey's first bar of his very own, is where you need to be. A couple of doors down from Island Bar, the laid-back lounge was built by - guess who - and we don't mean figuratively. Together with one friend, Mikey hand carved and varnished the bloody thing only a few weeks ago.
In terms of the drinks offering, we're confident that the Bourne team will sate any request or imagining. But if you want to get technical, there are ten cocktails featured for launch (from a full menu of 50). Five classic vintage choices are juxtaposed with five contemporary creations, one of which is the tequila and watermelon based Mi Amour (pictured). The refresher is served in a chilled coupe glass and edged in a crave-inducing house creation, which includes smoked paprika, chilli flakes, Himalayan pink salt and crunchy sugar. We want to buy it by the jar and line it up next to salt and pepper. 
Talking of in-house creations, the methodology behind the team's back bar king, Velvet Falernum (which you will now start to notice is in a lot of cocktails), is wonderfully complex. Bar tender, Josh, begins the process by roasting almonds to produce almond milk. The milk is turned into orgeat (almond syrup), which goes on to make up the key component of this miracle water. And if that level of detail is interesting to you, Mikey's tight team of three career bar tenders have plenty more where that came from. If it's not, they'll make you a great drink and leave it at that.
Bourne & Co's just getting started. Currently open from 4pm daily for cocktails, mocktails, beers and a carefully curated selection of sparkling, expect coffees, loose leaf teas and raw juices to follow by way of daytime offering. Also on its way is the final member of the team. Currently waiting to hear whether her place on the shortlist for Imbibe's bar personality of the year will result in an award, bar tender and manager, Sophie Mackay, is making the move from London to Birmingham to take up a role at Bourne & Co. London was so 2015.

AND NOW FOR A STORY ABOUT BOOBIES


Ikon's latest round of mind-stretching exhibits and installations launched yesterday and - not only because it allows us to get some high falutin boobage into this week's issue - it's Dinh Q. Lê's video installation which is the pick. As part of a flawless collaboration with Artangel - the undisputed Speilbergs of the arty world - Lê explores the gritty past of the Guano Islands, care of sweeping new footage captured using drones. Offering a bird's eye perspective into the now uninhabited set of islands off Peru, The Colony is a stunning, stark, visual introduction to a history peppered with war, a geography overrun with titanic colonies of Peruvian Booby (yes we're talking about the birds), and an anthropological journey longer than Leo's The Revenant. Big and important and beautiful. Until April 3.
Venue: Bill's, Bullring, Birmingham B5 4BE; Website
Choice: Bill's Fish Pie (£12.95) Chooser: Dora, waitress

First things first, Bill is a real guy. This guy. And while Birmingham may be his seventy-somethingish outpost, he's still actively involved in menus, launches and - we're guessing - selecting a reasonably sized yacht from his Lewes base (where the first Bill's opened). Bill is also a guy who knows how to please the majority of people, the majority of the time - pretty much everything we ate and drank scored a solid seven. Measuring closer to an eight was the fish pie. Rampacked with tender measures of cod, salmon, haddock and king prawns, the cheddar mash is more comforting than notification that a new series has been uploaded to Netflix. And the garlic butter samphire (which is served on top of the pie) really made the dish - bringing contrast to what could otherwise have been too rich a plate. Includes a suntrap of a balcony that will be full throughout summer, as well as strong service. Menu.

FILM PICK: SPOTLIGHT


Some outrages hide in plain sight because the community they take place in just doesn’t want to know. The long-running abuse of children by priests sheltered by the Catholic church is just so, and its uncovering by a team of Boston journalists is here presented in methodic and devastating detail. This is tough stuff at times, but the cracking cast (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and more) bring their A-games, and the precise, unfussy delineation of how they find their proof is quietly thrilling. Times & trailer

IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR COPENHAGEN...


It's a niche combination that Brum just hasn't been catering for - run, then drink beer, with the Midlands' first chapter of the Mikkeller Running Club. Founded in Copenhagen - so, by definition cool - over the last two years the global happening has generated clubs in Tokyo, Chicago, Sao Paulo and Seoul. Your clubhouse is Tilt, where runners of all levels should meet this Sunday, at 11am. More.

SLEEPING BEAUTIFULLY


Stephen Fry has never been wrong. So when he testifies to the hypnotising loveliness of Matthew Bourne’s ballets we’re inclined to believe him. Lucky us, then, that the choreography king's Sleeping Beauty is coming to the Hippodrome in a glorious explosion of fairies, Tchaikovsky and vampires (yes, vampires). Originally created to celebrate the 25th birthday of Bourne's New Adventures, this gloriously gothic reinvention is the antithesis of an animated Disney release. Secure your seat at a performance (from February 9 to 13). Tickets: £22.50 to £44.50.
  • It's BYOG (the 'G' is for gin) at 40 St Paul's this Sunday. Carl and Rob will do silly good things with your G. There are two sittings. Tickets
  • A lot like a hungover hedgehog, Digbeth Dining Club is coming out of hibernation for it's 2016 launch party tomorrow, from 5pm
  • An array of Harry Potter-based activities that - frankly - we don't quite understand, hit Foyles on Feb 4, from 3pm til 7pm. Harry Potter book night is free but some activities must be booked
  • Richard Wood's Duck Weave previews tomorrow night at Eastside Projects. Check out his work until April 9
  • The people behind The Botanist are opening two further venues this Summer at The Grand. Continental feeling Gusto and cocktail focussed The Alchemist are taking 10,000 sq ft. That's a lot of feet
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"Coughlin's diet: Cocktails and dreams" - Doug, Cocktail
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Jordyn NewtonAndrew Lowry, Tom Cullen
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

Copyright © 2016 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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