A lavish underground drinking den, Bacchus is a secret pleasure (for those who can find the hidden staircase).
The bar of the Burlington Hotel, Bacchus is on Birmingham’s oldest street (there was a building here way back in 1398). There are murals on the walls as you descend into the bowels of the hotel and the bar itself is a mysteriously appealing underground Aladdin’s cave of a place.
There’s a raised area as you come in and, impressively, there’s a big standing suit of armour too. It’s vaguely a narrow L-shaped venue, although there are so many nooks and crannies and rooms off rooms that it becomes labyrinthine—and the alcoves and half-hidden areas are perfect for private business discussions and courting couples.
The walls are cream coloured or panelled in dark wood and are hung with paintings and ornate gold-framed mirrors. The armchairs have incredibly high backs (at least 5ft) and there’s an old ornate fireplace and more of a formal eating area right at the end.
It’s certainly not only hotel guests who come here, Bacchus has been discovered by lots of people at one time or another, whether it was a first date or a drink with a group of mates. The crowd is very mixed, ranging from young couples to groups of lads and more mature drinkers. It also finds favour with a business-minded crowd, as any prospective partner would be seduced by its charms.
The Food and Drink
There’s an impressive selection of wines to choose from—over 40 bottles in fact—ranging from just £7.95 to £25. Try a crisp, modern Marqués De Riscal Rioja for £15.50, which at 13.5% should get conversation flowing. On the beer front there’s Foster’s, Kronenbourg, Heineken and Carling, as well as Timothy Taylor Landlord, Well’s Bombadier, Shepherd’s Neame Spitfire and Abbot Ale, which is a malty and fruity favourite here. You can get salads, jacket potatoes and sandwiches here (a fillet steak sandwich is £5.95) or main courses such as Scottish salmon fillet for £7.95 or a duck leg confit with redcurrant jus for £8.95.
The Last Word
A hidden joy under Birmingham’s shop-laden city streets, if you haven’t tasted Bacchus’ mythical treats, you simply must.