Happy hours as Birmingham bar boom continues


One of Birmingham’s leading licensing law experts is refusing to call time on the city’s continuing boom in new bars and restaurants.

Peter Adkins, director of regulatory services at city centre law firm, Emms Gilmore Liberson, has issued an upbeat assessment of Birmingham’s licensed sector, despite a string of recent high-profile closures and as many as two pubs a day closing their doors nationally.

Established city-centre cocktail bar and restaurant, Chameleon, closed suddenly last month, whilst Rofuto, Izza Pizza and Mughal-e-Azam have all shut down recently.

Figures suggest the closures are part of a national picture of decline. Pub numbers fell from 54,674 in April 2010 to 43,066 in April 2017, with 616 pubs having closed since last year’s hike in business rates.

The number of UK restaurants going bust rose by a fifth last year. Jamie’s Italian is the latest high-profile victim, with plans to close 12 of its 37 UK branches as part of a rescue package.

Peter Adkins is highly regarded for his expertise in Regulatory, Licensing and Gambling Law and has obtained licenses for many prominent venues in the city.

He said:

“Is the apparent national trend reflected in the local market place? You wouldn’t think so if you walked around the city. Birmingham city centre is seemingly becoming one of the places to go for food.

“There seems to be a never-ending stream of people that want to open up new licensed premises – many are restaurants but new bars are also opening.

“The reduction in national pub numbers is a figure well down from the depths of the recession where there were regularly reports of 50 pubs a week closing. Pub closures from 2010 were blamed on many factors, not just the recession and pubs also had the effect of the smoking ban to deal with.”

Several new bars and restaurants are set to open in Birmingham this year. They include The Ivy, a new Fiesta Del Asado, Revolucion de Cuba, Dirty Martini and Oodles. Sabai Sabai opened a new restaurant in December.

Gino D’Acampo will open a new restaurant in Temple Row, whilst NRI – by acclaimed Indian chef Atul Kocchar – is reported to be opening in the Mailbox at Easter.

Confidence is also high that existing venues can continue to buck the national trend.

Peter added:

“The new owners of the bars and eateries along Summer Row including Fleet Street Kitchen and the Texan Roadhouse are investing and things are definitely looking up for what was a previously troubled group of venues.

“The multi-award winning Loki Wines is opening in Edgbaston and The Birmingham Whisky Club has opened a specialist whisky bar in the Jewellery Quarter recently.

“The future is looking bright and there is clearly a high level of confidence within the trade that Birmingham is a place they want to be.”