(Issue 132)
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If pretension is your bag, take the next available exit. But if you're more in the market for high-fives and neon and happy people, then Be At One has just landed, approximately 7.23 seconds from New Street. And when we say "just", electricians were battling with filaments as we supped down the first cocktail to ever be served at the bar you're going to want to get a view on this very weekend.
"But where is it?" you immediately tweet, mumble or bellow insanely at your nearest work colleague. It's accessed via the door directly to the right of the Piccadilly Arcade, the former might-get-daggered-at-any-minute digs of Churchills Snooker Club. Like Be At One, Churchills stayed open late. LATE, late. But despite our slightly nostalgic memories of the haunt, that's where the similarities with Stephenson Street's newest occupant—which officially opens at 4.30pm today—begin and end. Thank the Lord.
Take the good bits of American service—communication, attention to detail and a willingness to ensure you're having a good time, then subtract the strained, syrupy bit. Be At One spends £5,000 training each of its bar staff over eight weeks. There are written tests covering the 150 cocktails on the menu, as well as a final practical. A lot like a driving test, apart from—you know—the whole alcohol thing, each potential tender is graded live on taste, interaction and consistency before they're allowed anywhere near you. Because unlike some of the city, this is a team that gets that it is all about you. And cocktails. They're kind of keen on those too.
Given a thorough tickle roughly every six months, the cocktail menu across the Be At One dynasty is reactive to customer feedback and laced with enough novel combinations to pretty much sustain a night of conversation. There's pineapple leaves, popcorn and in-house dehydrated fruit by way of garnish game. There are Tangfastic-esque Sherbets for the sweeter tooth, plus beer-based combos for the cocktail suspicious (try Shaky Pete's with Meantime Pale Ale). Be At One's take on an Old Fashioned—the Gin Re-fashioned—went down so well that Sipsmith (who provide the main ingredient) had to warn the team that they were close to completely running out of gin. There's even a "virtuous range" for you yoga-types, where your Absolut Citron comes with spinach, kale and agave syrup. Did somebody say healthy cocktail? Nope, because that would violate a lot of laws, but you get the drift.
And because we can't help but commit utterly to every assignment, it took less than forty minutes for cocktail master and flaring champ, Aldo, to get us behind the bar, executing the "perfect pour" (his words). Suffice to say, we were offered a new career on the spot. It was a Chica Caliente we had duly processed (pictured), with Patron Silver at its core. And though we do all have a "tequila story", it's probably about time we got a new, actually enjoyable one. High-fives all round. Literally. This isn't some kind of clever sign-off. We had at least three. More images
Open until 3am Thurs to Sat (and a healthy 1am Mon to Wed), Happy Hour lasts significantly longer than an hour and Appi Hour can make it stretch even further. But you'll need to talk to a bar tender about that. 


In a move that's bolder than Goldfinger's ploy to kill Bond with a painfully slow laser beam while out of the bloody room, we're declaring the English Sunday roast DEAD. But in a slightly more cowardly move we're doing it for just one day. Event three in the incessantly-selling-out Colmore BID Food Festival Fringe sees Chung Ying Central serve their take on a Sunday Roast. For £17.50 (plus booking fee) get dim sum and starters including king prawn parcels, the easily skippable steamed ducks tongue and char siu buns. Then out comes the clincher - roast piglet with rice stuffed in lotus leaves, noodles and pak choi. There's even dessert in the form of steamed liquid gold buns plus your choice of beer, wine or a Shanghai Rose cocktail. May 29 from 12pm. Because it would be pretty weird to have lunch at the other 12. Tickets


Gin tastings have gone mobile. So mobile, in fact, that you can get generous measures including Opihr, William Chase GB and Whitley Neill all the way to a meeting room near you. Because all team events go better when you add juniper. From the people behind Cellar Door, book in with The Gin Tasting Group for a minimum of ten before the end of June and mention us to get your mitts on a free gin gift pack (usually £29.95). There's a carefully selected programme of six drops, which offer stonking range, and the team are also happy to discuss bespoke selections for the experienced gin palate. Expect some great garnish chat. Don't work in an office or no wish to spend any more time in it? Hit the Old Joint Stock, on June 11, for a 7pm tutorship with The Gin Tasting Group, including six independent producers. Tickets (at £25) right here.  


We're not sure whether to laugh, cry or just ask the next person we happen to walk past for a hug. Part of a wonderfully maniacal seven-part tale of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Lo... sorry Mickey and Minnie's meeting and imagined parting, Birmingham-based Joe Buck's refreshingly original series of digital works have to be seen in order, and at full scale, to be given the innings they are deserving of. And while Buck focuses on the darker, broken, hidden side of society his use of colour and—we're just going to say it—fun—makes this storyboard of prints something to enjoy as well as something to ponder at quieter moments. Yours from £375 to £440, you can also catch the artist's entirely different acrylics at St Paul's Gallery, until June 7. Times & location


Texan auteur Richard Linklater has followed up his award-magnet Boyhood with this goofy college comedy. Yes, it’s in the same genre as Animal House, but there’s Linklater’s usual loose, amiable examination of big ideas, here underlying the high jinks. And what high jinks they are: we follow a baseball team on the first weekend of the 1980 academic year as they pile on superhuman quantities of beer and try to get laid in as many ways and with as many women as possible. It may sound boorish, but these are smart, sensitive guys, and there’s the exquisitely nostalgic feeling that, for them, this is their peak. Times & trailer


Since its production began in 1950, the Wishbone Chair has been made with the same 14 parts which require 100 separate processes. That's a lot of processes. And while we'd struggle to inform you about even a one of them, Brum's Just Be Retro is in the habit of sourcing, tailoring, restoring and refinishing British and Scandinavian mid-century furniture, bringing it back to its halcyon days, or, giving it the sort of twist that makes every one of your house guests covet it. Be a covetee.
Venue: The Restaurant, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox, B1 1RE; website
Choice: Roasted rump of spring lamb (£17) Chooser: Assistant Manager

The good chaps and chapesses over at Harvey Nics have been having some spring-inspired DMCs with their all-day menu. And the results are light, fresh and herbaceous, whilst maintaining a strong selection of main event meat dishes with a twist of sunshine. Sourced from Aberdeenshire's Donald Russell, the velvety lamb is sous-vide and cooked for one hour in a water bath, at 56°C. The gloriously pink rump is then seared and given the briefest of rests before making nice with something akin to a pea cassoulet. Bordering on an obsession of head chef, Mark Walsh, the warm salad starts the night before, when green split peas begin their soaking. Cooked in chicken stock, fresh peas, broad beans, fine beans and a carefully balanced mix of herbs are added to the soft split peas. The result is the definition of springtime. Truffle mac'n'cheese is an obligatory side. Rather than simply sprinkling the top of the pasta with the good stuff, the kitchen stirs it through, ensuring every bite is as rich and as right as the last.
  • Drink wine, eat cheese, be happy. Meet the suppliers and talk all things artisanal at The High Field on May 18 from 7pm. Call and ask for Ben to secure your ticket (at £25). Ben's lovely
  • Lunar Festival is coming to a green and pleasant land near you. Win two weekend passes (worth £230) over on FaceyB. We promise never to say FaceyB again
  • As the old adage goes, there are only two certainties in this life and Death Disco at the Hare & Hounds relates to the one you can neither evade nor avoid. From 8pm on Saturday, tickets are £5
  • CircusMash is bringing a weekend of free to the table. From trapeze, to aerial, to juggling get to their HQ on June 4 & 5
  • Cherry Reds is popping-up at the IDFB hub at The Municipal Bank. Catch them complete with craft beers, cocktails and wine, daily until Saturday 21 May. Times
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"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever." - Walt Disney
WORDS: Katy DrohanAndrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: Tom Bird (Be At One)

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