Given that this building was formerly an architect’s office, it was decided to rename the Birdcage as the Drawing Rooms in 2022. It’s not the first time the pub has been renamed, it’s been the Pottergate Tavern, Brown Derby and Morning Star.
There was one real ale available and just generic keg beers. I don’t think the pub is too much engaged with drawing in (excuse the pun) beer drinkers, although it’s Greene King and so that’s hardly a surprise. They are pushing cocktails and I think that’s their main emphasis.
Being entirely honest I thought that there was a general absence of welcome with regards to the service, which is all a little unfortunate, but there we go. The pub was shortlisted for the Greene King Night of Excellence Awards 2023 a few months ago, so perhaps things are normally different.
They don’t appear to do food as that section of their web-site has every food menu item described as “I’m a dish description. Click Edit Menu to open the Restaurant Menu editor and change my text.”, which seems an odd thing for the management to have published. Currently all their food is listed at £9.99 including the onion rings, so I assume that’s a work in progress.
The pub was clean and tidy, although it all feels rather formulaic and as if it’s been rolled out by a restaurant chain. One recent reviewer has said that “it now looks like a strip club” and I do feel that it’s lost the charm and atmosphere that it had when it was the Birdcage. They have made an effort to put power points in for customers to use, which is very positive. The music was also too loud for my liking, given that we the only customers in this part of the pub, it hardly added much to the atmosphere. However, I get that I’m not the target audience here and I’ve run a pub where I wasn’t the target audience on some nights, so that’s fair enough, it’s about ensuring the core customers feel welcome.
The sole real ale choice was Pave the Way from Greene King and Big Hug Brewing. It was well kept, but it was bland and lacking in any depth of taste or flavour. This was a disappointing element, I would have expected two real ales to be available and preferably at least one not linked to Greene King.
In terms of the reviews, they’re mixed, a variety of people finding the music too loud and the service either being rude or indifferent. However, some customers love the cocktails and they do seem to have found their niche there and the owners are experienced given that they’re currently also operating the Wild Man and the Ten Bells.
As is likely evident, this pub isn’t really for me, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. They seem to be after the 18-25 year old market and I can imagine that might be reasonably profitable for them, although it might take another refurbishment in a couple of years to keep it current and up-to-date. In positive terms though, the pub was clean and they’ve got power points.