GeoGuessr 2 – Birmingham (Bacchus Bar)

I quite like Nicholson’s pubs, not necessarily for the food element, but because they have some interesting and historic buildings amongst their estate. This one in Birmingham was recommended by Nathan because of its notable cellar bar location and quirky interior, although the most historic that they can claim is that “it’s located on one of the oldest streets in Birmingham”.

The pub was busy and it’s certainly something a little different.

The bar area is at one end of the pub and it’s not really entirely adequate in terms of its size or location, made worse as they’d shut half of it. It’s so small that it’s a little hard to even queue, as it’s challenging for departing customers to make their way back out to the main area. But, I can imagine it’d be expensive to change this now, with the staff serving customers in turn and efficiently, so it didn’t prove to be a problem.

More internal decoration. One element became evident to me for the first time when visiting the pub, which is that Nicholson’s pubs all have a speciality, whether it be sausages, fish or pies for example. However, I can’t quite see how the menu differed at this pub, which specialised in fish, compared to any other Nicholson’s outlet, so it all felt just a little fake. Nathan was busy deciding that some of the paintings on the walls looked like members of the Beatles, although I wasn’t personally entirely convinced.

I do recommend the Nicholson’s app, which Nathan has finally managed to download onto his Nokia 3310. Today’s little offer, for me at least, was the £1 Sipsmith chocolate orange gin and tonic. The staff at the bar were friendly and helpful, although this offer did proof challenging for the staff member as she had never done one. It’s also, to be fair, a fiddly drink with numerous elements and it’s also served warm. However, she carefully looked at the brand standards chart and delivered the product efficiently, albeit after a few minutes. Another customer though asked me how I got this drink for one pound, since he’d just spent considerably more on it.

And here it is, my first ever hot gin and tonic. This was certainly improved by the strong orange flavour, and smell, released by the warmth of the drink and I can imagine this is a rather lovely alcoholic option to end the evening with.

Anyway, onto TripAdvisor.

“After investigating this, I must offer my sincerest apologies. You are 100% correct with your review of us. On Monday, we had an extremely quiet day. My team were completing detailed cleaning throughout the day and they neglected you as a dining guests. This is not an excuse as it certainly should not have happened. I am really sorry for this poor service. It is not indicative of the service we offer and if you look at all of our reviews through Trip Advisor and Google, we generally get it spot on.”

The pub is well reviewed on TripAdvisor, but I thought that this was a really professional response from the management, recognising a problem and apologising for it. That would reassure me, rather than the bland responses given by some companies such as Greene King who offer some generic piffle in reply to many reviews.

“A barmaid stole from my father, she claimed that her gave her a £5 note when he only had £10s in his wallet, he hadn’t long been to a cashpoint. Obviously only a small amount but still enough to annoy us and ensure that none of us come back again. It’s a shame because it is one of the nicest looking bars in Birmingham, they maybe need to hire less desperate/smarter staff.”

And another example of why TripAdvisor is letting venues down. This transpired to be a false allegation, but yet posters can still make these allegations at will.

“The glass your friends gin was served in was a 12oz highball glass. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how many crystal cut gin glasses we order, people feel it is their right to steal them, which then has an impact on our lovely guests we usally get in. We do try to keep them ordered, but they are very expensive and they just disappear. Its a cruel world.”

And I feel sorry for the pub with this, I don’t like how people feel that it’s fine to pinch stuff.

All in all, a perfectly acceptable pub with friendly and engaging service. It was busy when we went, but that’s not exactly a surprise given it was the Saturday late afternoon before Christmas in a large city centre location. The atmosphere was vibrant, but laid-back, in the pub and I did like the efforts made with the decor to ensure that it wasn’t just a dingy cellar bar.