Social Enterprise Quarter Walking Tour

When: Wednesday 27th August, 09:30-13:00
Where: iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, B12 0HJ
Tickets: £10 + VAT

Following the launch of the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter, iSE have devised a walk to showcase the talents and opportunities available in this growing sector.

Join them for a tour of selected social enterprises in Digbeth next Wednesday. For more information, see the flyer below or visit the iSE website.

Odd Bite: Alfie Bird’s Gourmet Eats and Beats in Digbeth

Image: Birmingham Mail

Where: Alfie Bird’s, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

The Birmingham Mail’s Graham Young recently visited Alfie Bird’s in the Custard Factory, and had nothing but praise for the recently reopened venue:

Once known as Digbeth’s Medicine Bar, the four-storey building with different themed floors overlooks the Custard Factory’s inner quadrangle.

It is a multi-purpose destination, and one of the potentially most exciting eating, drinking and rocking venues that Birmingham has seen for years. The indoor music venue has a capacity of 350, but there’s the potential to develop a 2,500 capacity warehouse rock venue too.

Luckily, the gas-fired wood-burning pizza oven was well ablaze when we visited, and soon, we were tucking into four pizzas shared between five of us – veritable bargains. All of the pizzas were mighty tasty, along with a side portion of top quality fries, complete with skins.

On a warm, summer’s evening this was the perfect family place to be. Somewhere different, somewhere good, somewhere cool.

And yes, they’re working on custard cocktails.

Great stuff and two thumbs up for the team at Alfie Bird’s! We understand that the guys are regularly working on developing their menu further and have recently added home-made garlic and chilli oils to complement their pizzas. For more information or to have a gander at the menu, visit the Alfie Bird’s website here.

Rico Libre

Where: Rico Libre, Barn Street, Digbeth, B5 5QD
When: breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 08:00; tapas is served from noon Monday to Friday, and on Friday and Saturday evenings from 17:00.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard news on the grapevine that the Barn Street Diner had changed owners and was now serving tapas.

Calamari, mussels and meatballs

Now, in Digbeth we have a variety of cuisine available, there are the stalwart greasy spoons and takeaways, the now very popular Karczma Polish restaurant on Bordesley Street, and of course, the award-winning Digbeth Dining Club. Tapas, however, is a novelty so of course I had to go check it out.

Before making my way over to Barn Street, I spoke to Karen, who is overseeing Rico Libre Breakfast and Tapas along with Chef H, and she had this to say:

Halloumi, patatas bravas and garlic mushrooms

We like a good breakfast as much as the next person, but tapas is where our heart really lies. We love, love, love tapas; making it, messing around with new dishes, eating it, sharing it with friends… yup tapas is where it’s at for us!

So we’ve taken the standard breakfast menu and jazzed it up a little and added a few new dishes (Mexican Egg Breakfast, an Eggs Benedict and a Big Godfather Breakfast) alongside all the usual suspects.

Lunchtime sees us offering a cold deli sandwich and salad menu alongside a few simple hot lunches (Homemade fish bites, meatballs, juicy cheeseburger with crispy bacon).

For those looking for something different then we also also run our tapas menu from noon Monday to Friday, and on Friday and Saturday evenings from 17:00.

With this in mind, I got together a group of local Digbeth residents – all foodies in their own right – to taste what Rico Libre has to offer. Safe to say, we weren’t disappointed!

We tried everything on the menu, and it was all delicious. Every single little bit was tasty, from the garlic mushrooms to the generous portion of mussels, from the bread to the potatoes. It was so good, that even when we were full, we wouldn’t allow the food to beat us and finished every single scrummy morsel on the table.

Chef H discovered a passion for tapas (and honed his craft) while living in the Balearics for a few years. You can tell that he loves tapas from the care placed in preparing each dish, and his cheerful demeanour in the kitchen.

Chef H and friendly server Gemma

The team at Rico Libre have been sensible (in my opinion) by only offering evening tapas dining on Fridays and Saturdays initially. However, we hope that they will go from strength to strength and thereby increase their opening hours. Yes, Barn Street is a little bit out of the way, but going off the beaten track is where you find little gems like Rico Libre.

With three tapas dishes for just £10 and a ‘bring your own’ policy on alcohol, we’ll certainly be back. I just hope that we’ll be able to find a table and it doesn’t get too popular! For more information and to see the full menu, visit the Rico Libre website here.

Long live Rico Libre!

Glug Birmingham: Midland Masters

When: Thursday 21st August, 18:00-late
Where: Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5SE
Tickets: £7.50 (available online) discounts available

Glug Birmingham: Midland Masters is coming to Fazeley Studios next week. A series of talks from local designers, illustrators and studios, Glug events take place around the country and are designed to inspire creativity.

This will be the first edition of Glug Birmingham, featuring live art, creative talks (including Digbeth’s very own Matt Nation of PROVIDE), a pop-up art and a BBQ, followed by an after-party at SPOT*LIGHT.

Tickets are £7.50, with discounted entry for Fazeley Studios and Custard Factory residents. For the full line-up of speakers, and more information about the event, please see the flyer or visit the Created in Birmingham website.

Urban Village is Closing Down

When: from Saturday 16th until Saturday 30th of August
Where: Urban Village, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Last week, we heard some news that shook our world: Urban Village is closing down.

Yes, it’s slightly unbelievable, and yes, it is certainly the end of an era. Urban Village’s owner, Frankie Johns, has grown the shop into a bastion of vintage shopping glory, winning numerous fans, awards and respect in the process. The fact that Urban Village has stood in Digbeth for over 15 years is testament of his hard work and passion.

To celebrate the life of the store, they will be having a huge closing down sale from this Saturday until the 30th August, when the doors of Urban Village will close for good.

To explain why, let’s hear from Frankie in his own words:

It comes with great regret that I must inform all my loyal Urban Village customers that we will be closing our doors for the very last time on August 30th.

This announcement comes with a heavy heart, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. After putting my heart and soul into Urban Village over many years and leading the business through recession, I have decided it is time for new ventures that will enable me to spend more time with my family.

To say goodbye, we are having a massive closing down sale – so come down and pick up a piece of Urban Village history.

Watch out for new adventures ahead as we will be taking Urban Village on the road, bringing the finest 50s, 60s and 70s vintage clothes and memorabilia to a fair near you!

A new website is in the pipeline, but for more information in the meantime, visit the Facebook event page.

From Digbeth Residents Association, we will be sorry to see Urban Village go. However, we’d like to wish Frankie and his team all the best with their future endeavours, in the hope that this is only goodbye and not farewell.

R.I.P Mayall Tribute Night

When: Saturday 16th August, 18:00-23:00
Where: The Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Tickets: £5 (available online)

The team at the Mockingbird Theatre hope to send Rik Mayall off with a bang this weekend, with a night dedicated to the late great comedian’s best work.

They’ll be playing a selection of material from Bottom to the Young Ones, from Comic Strip to Blackadder, along with a full screening of Drop Dead Fred (snot flicking is optional I’m told).

And if that wasn’t enough, there will also be an auction of Mayall memorabilia, with all proceeds going to the Headway Charity.

Tickets are priced at £5 and are available online here. For more information, visit the Mockingbird Theatre website, or see the Facebook event page.

Birmingham Art Map – autumn 2014

The newest Birmingham Art Map was released last week, and as you could probably guess, Digbeth’s finest creative spaces are represented on this geographical box of artistic goodies.

Please click the links below to learn more about what events are planned for each space, or see the art map in full:

Acoustic Wednesdays at Suki10c

When: Wednesday 13th August (and every Wednesday thereafter), 19:00-00:00
Where: Suki10c, 21 Bordesley Street, Digbeth, B5 5PJ

Danny Brierley, also known as Subconscious Sounds Ltd, is bringing acoustic music to Digbeth on a weekly basis in the form of Acoustic Wednesdays at Suki10c.

Hosted by Jimmie Black, entry is £1 before 9pm and £2 after – a total bargain to experience some excellent acoustic acts in Digbeth’s (and indeed Birmingham’s) best kept secret venue.

Regular acts include:

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Cycling Mad!

John Comerford. Image: Birmingham Mail.

Having abseiled down the side of The Custard Factory in aid of Acorns Children’s Hospice last year, John Comerford will be negotiating the annual Severn Valley Cycle Challenge on Sunday 17 August.

Just months after taking up cycling as a hobby, John, who works at Webfold in Digbeth, is hoping to raise more than £100 for the charity.

He said: “My colleagues know I like a challenge, and when I mentioned I’d been invited to take part, they all encouraged me to give it a go! Acorns is a great charity that does a lot of good work, so I am happy to support it even if it might mean I have stiff legs for a few days after. It would be great if other businesses in and around Digbeth got involved too.”

For more information or to register, visit the website, call the Acorns events team on 0844 984 0405 or email

A3 Project Space – August 2014 News and Events