A vibrant, modern bar with a great atmosphere.
Island Bar is a little off the beaten track but is still close enough to the centre to be an ideal early evening drinking spot. Independently owned and run, it’s a little more quirky than the average. Tucked away round the corner from The Mailbox, it offer a vastly different night out to the majority of bars in town.
Always a lively place, its bright neon furnishings are complemented by an array of music posters, and with something happening every night of the week it’s easy to see how it has previously been lauded as Birmingham’s best bar. The outside smoking area is a welcome addition, but pavement space is limited and it can become overcrowded on busy nights. Island does an authentic impression of a rock and roll bar, the music is generally great but it can be a little too loud for easy conversation.
They host live music and DJs throughout the week and Thursday's open mic night is particularly good fun offering support for young and upcoming musicians. At weekends, DJs play a variety of music, with DJs from Kerrang radio often appearing on Saturdays. The rock-heavy playlist may not appeal to all but it is a key part of the bar's identity and it is loved by the clientele.
Island is popular with students and young professionals for its mix of good music, great drinks and reasonable prices. The bar staff are friendly, polite and clearly enjoy their work, which really adds to the fun atmosphere. The high-tempo bar tending is great theatre to watch as well.
Despite all the fun they seem to be having, the bar staff clearly know their jobs well. The drinks are served with care and thought it is put into every aspect of their creation. They use premium spirits, and are knowledgeable about their craft, if you need help they will recommend drinks and add personal twists to classic recipes.
Highly recommended by regulars, their version of the classic Bramble is one example of their skills. Made with gin, cassis, lemon juice and sugar syrup, Island's Bramble is sharp, yet sweet and very refreshing. At £5.50 its good value when the quality of the drink is taken into account. Another popular drink at the bar is the Mojito, this concoction is one of the best loved cocktail for a reason: it’s delicious.
They serve a wide range of cocktails, both classic and their own signature drinks. Also available are a range of beers, including 19 different world beers. Amstel (£3) and Guinness (£3.20) are amongst the beers pouring from the taps, and wines are available for those not in the mood for a cocktail.
The Last Word
One of Birmingham’s best bars.