Food Offers at Alfie Bird’s

When: daily from 17:00
Where: Alfie Bird’s, 204 The Green House, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

This past year, Alfie Bird’s has been on the receiving end of some fab reviews for its mix of freshly made food and live music.

Although you may be feeling the pinch of January, that shouldn’t mean you should avoid going out altogether, especially with Uncle Alfie’s weekly food offers available daily from 5pm:

  • Blue Mondays
    Anyone wearing blue gets a free upgrade from a small pizza to large pizza, or a house burger to premium burger
  • Tuesdays
    Two house burgers for £10
  • Wednesdays
    2-4-1 on large pizzas
  • Thirsty Thursdays
    A free bottle of beer or glass of wine with any large pizza or premium burger
  • TFI Friday
    The Three Tenners: A bottle of house wine, a bucket of five beers, or four Jägerbombs for £10 each

See the full menu below. To keep up to date with news from Alfie’s, check out the Facebook page or follow @Alfiebirds on Twitter.

Comment is free…

The ever irreverent Spotted Dog landlord John Tighe recently sent us his solution to the struggles currently facing the new Library of Birmingham…

Birmingham City Council already has its own tried and trusted template for dealing with problems such as those threatening the new library.

Look no further than the solution they came up with to deal with the cost of running one of the top Science Museums in Europe.

They closed it and stored all the exhibits in a warehouse that is open to the public for two days a year. Great idea. They even stacked the exhibits randomly on shelves up to the ceiling so that most were out of sight (also a great idea since it discourages visitors). But, the full-time staff savings! – only needs two microbiologists to stop bugs eating the exhibits.

Now, I’m not proposing that they should close the library (unless one of their favourite developers wants the site), but have they not considered storing the books in another warehouse in Nechells? Think of the benefits: Run the library as the world’s largest coffee bar (International publicity, Guinness Book of Records); Fewer and cheaper staff (no qualifications needed to serve coffee); Massive profits (have you seen what idiots pay for espresso?). The only downside, of course, is that they would have to employ at least two more microbiologists.

Having worked for the NHS for over thirty years and my wife having worked as a teacher for the same length of time we simultaneously formed the theory that both professions would work swimmingly if we could get rid of the patients and the kids. How refreshing to find that our theories have been proved empirically.

I still smile when I remember that Birmingham once competed to be City of Culture.


Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective is a social enterprise, supported by Craftspace, which is based in the Custard Factory.

Comprised of migrant and refugee women, Shelanu produces high quality craft objects inspired by the women’s adopted home of Birmingham, and their experiences of migration.

Shelanu – which means belonging to us – aims to assist refugee women to become more aspirational through their creative and holistic development, encouraging better integration into local communities, and for those communities to profit from the diversity and richness of the women’s experience.

The collective’s wares are available to buy from the Sara Preisler Gallery at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. If you’d like to learn more, you can find Shelanu on Facebook and Twitter.

DIE DAS DER – January 2015

When: Friday 23 January, 19:30 onwards
Where: The Rainbow, 160 Digbeth High Street, B12 0LD
Tickets: £5

DIE DAS DER continue their aural takeover of Digbeth with their first outing of 2015 at The Rainbow.

With live music from four great bands, followed by DJs in the bar afterwards, this is certainly one way of dusting off the January cobwebs!

For more information, see the flyer below, or visit the Facebook event page.

Click for larger image

Adopt a Digbeth Building

If you could adopt an un-used or under-used building in Digbeth, what would you do with it?

Jennifer Gutteridge is a postgraduate architecture student at the London Metropolitan University who is undertaking a project in Digbeth. She has selected a plot between Green Street and Bradford Street to focus her work, and is looking for willing volunteers to take part.

The ‘adoption’ is purely symbolic in order to pose the question: “what kind of city would you like to live in?” If you hypothetically were given the building, how would you ensure it came back into effective use? Jenny explains the project in more detail below:

The ‘Digbeth Adopt a Building’ scheme is designed to initiate the redesign and regeneration of a series of warehouses situated in Digbeth. The adoption of buildings aims to implicate a sense of civic responsibility for those that choose to live there, the adopters will suggest what should happen in their building and how such large buildings could be shared.

Though many of the buildings in Digbeth greatly characterize the area, they have also fallen into dereliction. However, Digbeth is becoming the ‘creative hub’ of Birmingham, and the eventual introduction of High Speed 2 into Birmingham predicates that tens of thousands of new homes must be introduced into the city. Given the proximity of Digbeth to the city centre, it provides fertile ground for housing development.

However, in order to preserve the nature and character of Digbeth, such development must be approached with care. Learning lessons from the conversion of London’s East End and industrial areas such as Bermondsey, perhaps we can understand that there’s a delicate balance to be made between accommodating new-comers to the city and retaining those who live in and love Digbeth presently. This is where adoption comes in.

See the image below (click for a larger version) for more information about the project. If you’d like to get involved, do get in touch with Jenny either by email to or by calling 07932 583 094.

New menu at CG’s Cafe in Digbeth

Where: CG’s Cafe, 101 Bradford Court, Bradford Street, Digbeth, B12 0NS
Opening times: Monday-Friday 08:00-16:00, Saturday 09:00-14:00

CG’s Cafe is going from strength to strength, and not a day goes by when you won’t find a number of friendly Digbeth faces there. Sharon (pictured right) has become a real member of the community, even adopting some of our younger residents as she grows into her cooking momma role!

Sharon has become legendary for her full Irish breakfast, but the extent of the menu on offer is staggering, and best of all: it’s all cooked fresh for you right here in Digbeth. The cafe has recently had an update, courtesy of some lovely blackboards made by Digbeth’s very own Katie.

CG’s infamous brewometer always gets the banter going, and her freshly-baked sweet treats are legendary. During my visit, Sharon rustled up a delicious home made buttery scone with lashings of jam. Nom. In fact, it was so good that I forgot to take a photo until I was halfway through!

See the new menu below (click for a larger version) or simply pop in yourself and say hi! Sharon is open Mondays to Saturdays (except some Bank Holidays); telephone orders are welcome and come accompanied with free local delivery.

For more information, special offers and free treats, follow @CGsCafe on Twitter, Facebook, call 0121 753 5823 or email

The Bench 504 Graffiti Battles

When: Saturday 17 January, 20:00-01:00
Where: Rainbow Arena, Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, B9 4AG
Tickets: £5

The Bench 504 is known to street art aficionados as the place in Digbeth to get your graffiti supplies. Although they have hosted smaller events in their shop in the Custard Factory before, 2015 is the year that the Bench 504 have decided to go big by hosting live graffiti battles with the scene’s finest.

They’ve enlisted the help of sixteen street artists to go head to head in a knockout style competition over the next nine weeks. The inaugural event takes place this Saturday at the Rainbow Arena, with Gent going up against Korsa, and Zooki vs Flake, in a double bill of graffiti goodness.

Supporting the live art there will be the obligatory heavy beats, along with raffles and give aways to make sure to leave with more than you arrived. For more information, head to the Facebook event page and sign yourself up!

Sunday Xpress – January 2015

When: Sunday 18th January, 16:00 onwards
Where: The Adam & Eve, Bradford Street, Digbeth, B12 0JD

All aboard the Sunday Xpress for its first outing of 2015!

A free ‘anything goes’ event, featuring open mic sessions as well as booked live music, spoken word, poetry, and even interpretative dance, the Sunday Xpress is as eclectic as Digbeth itself.

This month, Birmingham band Betty & The Id headline from around 7pm. Following Big Bren’s Combo, featuring beloved compère Big Bren shouting over exquisite free jazz, Betty & the Id define their genre as brutalist psychedelia – marking them as a band you certainly want to check out.

Organiser James promises “more hyberbole to follow soon – and much more to be confirmed”. See the Facebook event page for more.

St Basil’s Big SleepOut 2014

Digbeth’s St Basil’s charity held their Big SleepOut on Friday 28 November 2014, celebrating the event’s 25th anniversary of raising funds and awareness for young homeless people in Birmingham.

St Basil’s stress that this is not an exercise in what it is like to be homeless, but a fundraiser to aid those that are.

The charity was hoping that 414 people would participate in the event to match the number of young people they accommodate every night. However, 440 took part, including ten councillors and the Lord Mayor, which is the largest number in the Big SleepOut’s history!

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support for our cause either by taking part or by sponsoring others. Those taking part in the event have already raised £36,693, which is fantastic! In 2013, 331 people raised £70,000 so we are hoping that this year 440 people can raise £80,000.

We have a massive challenge to raise £700,000 overall through all our events and fundraising activities in order to continue our services at their current level. Look out for the totaliser at the bottom of our homepage – this will keep track of how it’s going.

If you haven’t yet donated, but would like to, you can do so by clicking here or by texting ROOM41 £5 to 70070.

For more information and photos from the event, visit the St Basil’s website.

No Thyself – The Video

No Thyself was an event staged at Green Street Arts in autumn 2014.

Using behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the organising collective, the video below explores how the event was conceived and shares snippets of the live performances on the night:

No Thyself from nothyself on Vimeo.