Issue 189
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For cats who like to keep their cocktail game tight, we bring cheers-worthy news: Birmingham Cocktail Weekend returns and with it not just the city's biggest and best bar crawl, but all manner of pop-ups and one-offs and hands-ony happenings, all with a liquor-like angle. Signature slurpy highlights are universally £4 with a wristband. Salut!    
Siamais: Dragon Punch
You may not immediately think of cocktails when you think of Siamais. But you'd be wrong. When we stopped by, the drinks offering beat the food like Road Runner beats that damned coyote. So if you've not yet made it over to Brindleyplace's newbie, their spiced rum Dragon Punch with Thai basil and strawberry is the reason to do so. Meep-meep!
Hotel du Vin: Espresso Martini
This year's cocktail weekend epicentre (so where you exchange your e-ticket for a wristband) is The Courvoisier Hub, which you'll find at Hotel du Vin. There'll be samples for the sampling Friday and Saturday and you'll find a cognac-based Espresso Martini for the quaffing throughout the weekend. Warning: may contain caffeine.
Jekyll & Hyde: John Silver's Bounty
Pretty looking, ain't it? Full of the good stuff too. As you'd expect from the people who were talking about gin before everyone was talking about gin, Jekyll & Hyde's going big on juniper, with small-batch, award laden Edinburgh Gin. Combined with plum vanilla liqueur of the same distillery, this zesty signature serve also involves bitters.
Bourne & Co — Granny in Acapulco
Taste and match the four classics of the whisk(e)y cocktail sphere from 2.30pm on Saturday. While Bourne & Co is closed to Joe Public, Maxxium will lead you through a tasting before you attempt to match specific drops to drinks like an Old Fashioned and a Rob Roy (book for free). Apple-infused Granny in Acapulco is the team's signature drink. 
Malmaison — Malberry Madness
Serving up a ruddy countryside ramble in a glass, Mal Bar is dealing on a drink that essentially equates to a blackberry and elderflower Pimms. Tick, tick, tick. Also sounding ever so tick-worthy is BMAG's jazz and cocktail night, from 6:30pm until 10pm on Saturday in the The Edwardian Tearooms. No need to book. Loverly.
Pushkar — Love on the Rocks
Majoring in fruity cocktails, Pushkar's got an Amaretto and pear brandy refresher, muddled with whipped egg whites, cherries and lemon juice. If you'd rather some movie with your bever-aaage, the New Alex is screening Cocktail from 12.30pm Sunday as part of BCW— just drop in, it's free for wristband holders. 
July 14 to 16. Wristbands are £10 and can be collected from The Hub from Thursday, July 13. More venues. More events.


LinkedIn's 'Jobs You Might Like' algorithm is a decent indicator that the machines aren't quite ready to rise up and conquer mankind. Where tech is frighteningly clever, mind you, is in the weird realm of Virtual Reality and Birmingham Museum's Waterhall is now the temporary home for such science-based witchcraft. Developed In Birmingham is a season of events celebrating early photography in the city, and this first instalment is a VR recreation of one of the earliest ever photography exhibitions when scientist William Henry Fox Talbot presented prints at King Edward’s School, in 1839. The experience is a fully immersive sort of deal, with visitors walking freely through a digitally reconstructed room. You'll hear demonstrations of Chartist protesters who rioted outside, (and you'll see them if you glance out the window), feel real heat from the crackling fireplace and, if you're anything like our fully grown, adult editor, you'll jump out of your skin at the first sign of a virtual mouse. It's £4.50 for six of your human minutes. Book      


As you've quite possibly discerned, we're big up in to Brum. But we do have a gripe, and that's the lack of easily reachable outdoor space when it comes to the drinking and the eating. Running through this debate once more during the recent sun-blast, we came to a realisation of Buddha-like magnitude. Edgbaston. Between The Physician, Blue Piano and The High Field, it's winning all the ribbons and rosettes when it comes to al fresco, with north, east, west and south facing sunny spots to cover you in Vit-D throughout those sunshine hours. Added to the back garden every Birmingham resident covets (yep, Simpo's), and that you can actually sup The Edgbaston's cocktail wares outdoors, we're urgently seeking office space.


You may need assistance working out what the blithering hell is going on in the above image, but even if you go and see The Destroyers, at mac Birmingham's outdoor amphitheatre you'll have little clue what the fudge is happening, such is the glorious insanity of the act. FYI the guy with a flaming dustbin on his head is firing giant smoke rings at the audience at the say so of a trumpeter three people to the left. Video evidence here. The awesome — and we mean awesome — live act will complete a season of al fresco muzak in Cannon Hill Park's mini coliseum that'll also see a full-on Samba party, a Summer Swing Circus and the altogether more mellow works of master kora player Tunde Jegede & The Art Ensemble of Lagos. See all 
Venue: Bloom, 32 Poplar Road, Kings Heath, B14 7AD; website
Choice: Duck Hash (£9) Chooser: Food knower Conrad Brunton

If you'd asked us to choose a business of any type to add to our neighbourhood (that's Kings-to-the-Heath, dawg), we'd have plumped for a place that delivers a Herculean brunch and quality mug of Joe. And lo, the food Gods have answered in the form of new kid on the block, Bloom. Located in Poplar Road this stylish coffee house is a de-light. It opened last week and based on our joy-filled experience it’s here to stay. The menu is small, seasonal and inspired. The duck hash was exceptional — rich and slowly cooked, the tender meat was as unctuous as it was flavoursome. Served with sweet potato mash and the most seasonal of greens, the combo was topped with a perfectly cooked duck egg and crispy shallots. Bringing all the elements of the dish together was a duck stock that had a depth of flavour you would expect from a Michelin-starred venue. And on the utterly critical topic of coffee, the V-60 was perfect. A-men. Sample menu


Among a certain cohort of film fans who wear comic book t-shirts deep into their thirties, Spaced and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright can do no wrong. He more than pays off their faith with this enormously inventive crime thriller-cum-jukebox musical. Ansel Elgort is in the lead as a getaway driver whose whole life, be it getting coffee or evading the cops, is carefully synced to the vintage tunes in his earbuds. Think something like Singing in the Rain meets Drive, with a fantastic cast including Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Lily James and Jamie Foxx. Sometimes, you’re enjoying the cleverness rather than rooting for the hero, but when it’s clever – thrilling sequence after thrilling sequence genuinely get the blood pumping, and every frame has been worked on to within an inch of its life – who cares? Times      
  • Galerie Mayci is launching at the Moseley cafe of more than coincidentally similar title, tomorrow. Showcasing high quality, affordable art, 100 Views of Birmingham is the first exhibition
  • Make Tuesdays better, with Harborne Kitchen, which is now open Tuesday evenings, and throwing in varying levels of fizz if you opt for a set menu
  • Real ale right-ons, The Gunmakers Arms, have had a spruce and are returning with a sciencey evening of storytelling from 7pm Monday
  • The Dark Horse has got itself a free, monthly comedy dealio, starting July 5. Kiri Pritchard McLean is headlining the inaugural Wax Elephant — where perhaps she'll be explaining that title
  • We got a press release confirming Birmingham's worst ever kept launch secret: The Ivy is opening a brasserie where that Louis Vuitton's been shacking up with Austin Reed. Opening early 2018. Mwah
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Brian: "I'm willing to start at the bottom."
Job Interviewer: "You're aiming too high."
Cocktail (1988)
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry, Tom Cullen, Conrad Brunton
IMAGES: Graham Carlow — Thresholds

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