(Issue 107)
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As frenetic as a firework, Brum's awash with creative people, doing one-off, creative things. From a Thai triplet, to an afternoon of immersive theatre, here are the pop-ups (and even a pop-in) gracing our city over the next month.
What: The Thai Triple  Where: Loaf, Quarter Horse Coffee, our dreams
When: Thurs Nov 12 (Loaf), Fri & Sat Nov 13 & 14 (Quarter Horse)
Last time Loaf, Lap and Peel & Stone got together, their pop-up sold out in thirty-six minutes. We were there. We shed those tears. It's all sorts of incredible, then, that the team is reforming for three nights of unbridled Thai-food joy. Heading up the triplet is a high-end take on takeaway. Next is the biggie - a sit down Thai banquet - which you need to book (£30pp). The final instalment is an evening of small plates, sounds and exceptional grill-based happenings. The rumours are it will be a late one. Full menus.
What: Hogan's Cider House  Where: 145 Alcester Road, Moseley
When: Until Jan 3 (Wed to Fri, from 5.30pm; Sat to Sun, from 12pm)
It's great being first. And in another first for good ol' Brum, Hogan's Cider has opened its first ever pop-up bar, smack bang next to The Dark Horse in Moseley. Expect at least twenty ciders, always including sweet, medium, and dry varieties. There'll be Hogan's favourites, such as Picker's Passion and Poacher's Perry and there'll also be non-alliterative rotating guest offerings to keep cider enthusiasts - and anyone originally from the West Country - busy right through to New Year. More here.
What: Bavarian beer and burgers  Where: Cotteridge Wines, 1825 Pershore Road, Cotteridge  When: From 2pm this Saturday (November 7)
In a hook-up that deserves to make headlines, Cotteridge Wines is presenting the awkwardly named BRRGRR - an unfiltered pale ale from Bavarian craft beer heroes And Union. And take a guess what the ale pairs with? The award-smashing OPM will be on site to take care of all your burger whimsy, with patties encased in UNFLT-infused buns (that's an unfiltered Helles lager), served with sriracha mayo, Cheddar and crushed pork scratchings. Half pints around £2. When the tap room is full, it's full. That's a warning.
What: The Unbuilt Room Where: An undisclosed city centre location
When: Saturday, December 5 (performances start from 12pm til 3.30pm)
There are stairs in front of you, and doors to the right and left. What do you want to do? Explore a verbal maze without leaving your seat in an immersive, imagined pop-up theatre experience inspired by choose-your-own-adventure stories and the world of video gaming. Join a small group for the often witty and always different twenty-minute journey through the virtual world of creator and performer, Seth Kriebel's, imagining. The central venue will be revealed a few days before the event. Tickets (at £5) here.
What: Pop-up chefs from La Belle Assiette  Where: Your house
When: Whenever you like
Turn your house into a pop-up and let someone else do all the work. Pick from a selection of private chefs curated by La Belle Assiette and take a load off while they shop, cook, serve and even clear up a menu selected by you. The pistachio and lime gateaux with macaroons, summer berry compote, soil and lime posset is the creation of Adrian Robert, one of a collection of Midlands-based chefs which also includes Alec Maxfield of Masterchef the Professionals repute. From £39 per person (excluding booze), you can plump for anything from an Indian banquet to an afternoon tea.


This awards-friendly adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s acclaimed novel can at times feel like your mum’s new favourite film – but not every film needs a decapitation, right? Saoirse Ronan continues her ascent to the top of the acting game, here as a young Irish immigrant to Fifties guess-where, who becomes embroiled in a transatlantic love triangle. It's at times very Sunday-night – you’d be forgiven for expecting the cast of Call The Midwife to wander through the background – but there’s a marked lack of sentimentality about the Irish culture of exile that is refreshing, and the two suitors (Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson) are superb. However, it’s squarely Ronan’s show, and she makes booking a place on the A-list look easy. Times & Trailer


Our chums at Brumhaus, creators of a raft of Bauhausian nods to our beautifully aberrant city, have struck design gold again with their take on Alpha Tower. The striking print (for nerd points read how they make them here) comes either framed (£67) or unframed (£18.70), as a canvas print (£50.40) or even as a phone case (£20). It represents the fourteenth piece of art since Brumhaus's inception in November of last year and you can buy the piece and any of the previous 13, here. "Alpha Tower is one of Brum's best examples of modernist architecture," said Alex Edwards, the man behind Brumhaus. "Unlike the Central Library it's Grade II listed and here to stay. We thought we should celebrate that."
Venue: Hotel Du Vin, Church Street, B3 2NR; Website
Choice: Escargots à la bourguignonne (£6.50 or £11) Chooser: Manager

Okay, okay, so you probably don't need a full dozen snails as a main course, particularly when Hotel Du Vin's new Autumn menu contains giant, hearty 'Plats Principaux' like sauerkraut, smoked sausage, ham hock, pancetta and bratwurst or a casserole of white beans, confit duck, smoked Toulouse sausage and pork belly (both excellent), but as a portion of six you're on to an entrées winner. We'll admit to hardly being aficionados when it comes to consuming the caravans of the culinary world, but these beshelled beauties packed a flavourful bop to the tongue of herbs (good) garlic (good) and butter (really, really good). And when the GM strongly advises you pair these plump pulmonates with a glass of Rully Blanc, Domaine Ponsot (Burgundy) you listen and you listen good. Then you order the rest of the bottle. Full menu here.


Cutting edge technology, the most jets we've seen in a pool and a two-storey climbing wall can all be found at the Cube’s luxurious answer to all things healthy – the Club & Spa. Justify a little bit of quiet time by first getting to grips with the newly refurbished gym. Alternatively you can try out one of 47 weekly exercise classes – or do all of them and that’s basically your exercise quota dealt with for the year. There’s an aromatherapy sauna and steam room. There’s also a barbaric sounding experience where you choiceably tip a bucket of ice cold water over your head. Trust us and tip that bucket – endorphins will abound. For your completely free one week pass to Birmingham’s Club and Spa, contact the team and mention I Choose Birmingham. You must start your trial before the end of November. And bring your own towel, unless you’re planning on using the drip dry method.


If you’ve seen Spectre, you’re probably feeling a sense of familiarity around about now. If you haven’t, immediately deduct three cool points. To celebrate the release of the 24th edition of 007, the Electric Cinema has commissioned local artist Tony Parkash to produce a print inspired by the film. Sleek yet sinister, Parkash’s Bond girl inspired take on the Spectre logo was created using white charcoal on black paper. Refreshingly minimal in design, limited edition prints are available from the Electric for £24 (fittingly). We might just prefer it to the official film poster.


With luxury stockists from Tokyo to Shoreditch, Honest Skincare is a big deal. And it’s a big deal which just so happens to have opened its first dedicated store in Kings Heath. As well as being darn right beautiful to look at Honest’s products are handmade in Birmingham and use 100% natural ingredients. The cleanly designed shop also has a treatment room and apothecary kitchen so you can see founder and master scientist - Katie Fisher - in action. And before you see 'men’s skincare' and stop reading, there's a specially developed and really rather popular Honest MAN range. Beard oil, anyone?
  • Fireworks, face painting and a fun fair can all be found at Edgbaston Stadium from 5pm tonight, with the display at 8pm. Tickets are £10
  • Strangely, Vale Fireworks are also this very night. Entry is free. And while they've also got a fun fair, we can't guarantee face painting
  • Leather demagogues, P&Co, launch their first store in the GWA, with a DJ, drinks and free things (from 5.30pm, Nov 13). The first 50 to sign up for the opening, get an ace looking tote bag of merch
  • Hurtling through a classical ballet repertoire with their inimitable blend of skill, wit and grace, The Trocks hit the Hippodrome on November 10 & 11. It's top notch ballet in drag. And it's a big deal. BIG big. Tickets
  • We love Joe Lycett. You can love him too, generally, or, by buying tickets for his newly released dates at Glee Club on March 20 and Stratford Arts House on April 8. We've seen the show. It's ace
  • Next week's Friday night classic at the Symphony Hall is ever so French. For all things Edith Piaff and Les Mis, pick up a ticket (from £12.50)
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"You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond." - Mr White, Spectre

WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry, Laura SmithTom Cullen
IMAGES: Lap-fai Lee (Thai pop-up)

I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA 

Copyright © 2015 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

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