GeoGuessr 2 – Birmingham (Head of Steam)

This is the fourth Head of Steam that I’ve visited this year and none of them have failed to deliver an excellent experience, with the Liverpool location being one of my favourite pubs. The others I’ve visited have been in Hull and Sheffield, so I was looking forwards to visiting this one in Birmingham.

The entrance area to the bar, which is also listed in the Good Beer Guide (the entire bar I mean, not just the entrance area).

A couple of options from Northern Monk.

Some of the beers available, although the choice also spanned another bar as well. There wasn’t a blackboard or screen with the choices on, which would have been useful. The set-up in the Head of Steam in Liverpool is better, with screens displaying the options, as well as long printed beer lists.

Nathan noticed these two beers from Siren Craft Brew, which weren’t cheap, but were absolutely essential purchases. They were the Caribbean White Chocolate Cake Tropical White Stout and the Death by Caribbean Chocolate Cake Imperial Tropical Stout. The former was nearing perfection, a depth of taste, clean flavours and it would have been harder to make a drink taste more like cake. The latter beer, the imperial stout, hit perfection as far as I was concerned. It was rich with tastes of vanilla, sugar, chocolate and decadence, entirely lovely.

We were contemplating where to eat but noticed that the bar offered pizza and dessert for £10 on Sundays, so given the quality of the drinks that we had, there seemed no point rushing off. The meat feast pizza was well presented, although slightly aggressively cooked on the edges and the dough was also slightly lumped up in the middle. But, it was all cooked well, the toppings had flavour to them and it was perfectly reasonable value for money.

I wasn’t sure, given how much pizza I’d had, that I wanted dessert, but I had already opted for the ice cream sundae. I think that was about as much I could have managed and it met my requirements for something light.

All in all, this is an excellent bar and the service was welcoming and engaging throughout, with Nathan making a friend at the bar after she eyed up his shirt. Social butterfly I tell you….. The bar was busy and we were fortunate to get the last table, although I was marginally surprised to see that there wasn’t an area just for those customers wanting to eat food, so they might have lost some diners. The atmosphere in the bar was though relaxed and there was some football showing, but not in a way that intruded on the overall ambience of the location.

Anyway, just for a little meander onto TripAdvisor:

“Very average, but very expensive. Possibly the most expensive bar in Central Birmingham, with nothing luxurious in there.”

I’m not quite sure how a bar with this many beers can be described as average, nor how a customer could have missed so many high-end beers, along with more traditional options.

“Thanks for your review, unfortunately is very unlikely you would have been allowed entry to this or any venue after racially abusing the door team. In any event the venue operates to a legally enforceable capacity which has nothing to do with the perceived level of custom but on the number of heads in the building. It is often the case that we have to hold guests at the door at peak times. It is often the case that a persons reaction is a direct indication of how they are likely to conduct themselves once they enter the venue.”

Most of the negative reviews of this bar recently appear to have come from the same group, complaining about the door staff. I liked the bar’s response above, as that last line about reactions is very true,  if the door company are decent they will work out to let the nice people in and keep the aggressive and rude ones out……

“There were 4 of us in a group having left work very late and we tried to get served. Despite us being together, albeit we had subdivided into two groups of two for the evening for our orders, one of the female bar staff refused to serve two of us “as we were the wrong side of her serving zone” – we are talking centimeters here! – absolutely ridiculous. As someone who organised many social events for a large organisation I’ve been sure to spread the word on this ludicrous bar staff behaviour – may be it is company policy, but is one that need to be consigned to the 1800s.”

This review makes me like the Head of Steam even more. I like pubs where the staff serve just one section of the bar each, it means they are more likely to know who to serve next and it ensures things are kept calmer and more organised.

Anyway, all in all, this was a very lovely visit, although I was pleased we had come on a more relaxed Sunday than trying to visit on a busy Saturday night, which I might have enjoyed a little less.