Check out our pick of places to eat and drink in Brum, ideal for 2015 Rugby World Cup visitors.
If there’s one thing to be said of Birmingham, it’s this: come now and come quickly before this formidable Midlands powerhouse is on everyone else’s radar screens.
As if it didn’t have enough to brag about, Birmingham is the unassuming centre of British sport too. As well as the birthplace of the world’s first football league in 1888, “Brum” is also home to both the UK’s oldest cricket league and the oldest tennis club in the world. Rugby has also been a permanent fixture in the city, and will play host to heavyweights Australia and South Africa as well as Samoa and Uruguay at Villa Park stadium during the Rugby World Cup.
In such a big city, it can be daunting knowing where to go. So, being the helpful souls that we are, we’ve pulled together our list of the hottest spots in the city to keep yourselves fed and watered during your visit for the rugby – all you need to do is remember your tickets.
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1. The New Inn
One of the latest crop of hipster-style old pubs, the New Inn in the leafy suburbs of Birmingham’s Harborne is a treat for the eyes and for the gullet. With ox blood leather chairs to sink into or nooks to enjoy a civilised pint with your compadres, the New Inn is a popular haunt for the locals of up and coming Harborne. Having stood in the same spot since before 1845, the old world charm and quirky décor of this traditional pub provide relaxed surroundings to imbibe a real ale (such as the pub’s own New Inn ale) or gorge on a juicy steak dinner. One of the largest beer gardens in the city should also sweeten the deal should the sun decide to make an appearance.
2. Lost & Found
With a Mad Hatter’s tea party vibe, the botanical-themed Lost & Found is one of the city’s best kept open secrets. Housed in a stunning Victorian pub in Birmingham city centre, just a stone’s throw from the main landmarks and New Street station, this particular bar is a wonder to behold. It even boasts a private speakeasy room behind the bar which can be booked for up to 25 people for an evening of classic cocktail quaffing. With guest ales on the pumps and a variety of world beers on draught and in bottles, an extensive 9-page list of cocktails to plough through and more, Lost & Found is well-stocked for a night of celebration or cosmiseration.
3. Fiesta del Asado
This is one for the meat lover. Make that, the serious meat lover. Birmingham’s first Argentinian restaurant has caused quite a storm since opening, with its barbecue goodness attracting the great and good from across the city. Asado – a rustic style of Spanish cooking – is the order of the day so expect to gorge yourself on large hulking cuts of steak (aged for 28 days and barbecued to perfection) just like the original Argentine gauchos or cowboys.
4. Craven Arms
The Craven Arms was once the pride of the Holder’s Brewery with its rather majestic exterior of blue and gold Majolica tiles. And what can I say? It looks just as impressive on the inside as it does on the outside, with its cosy fires, original island bar and old brass ale pumps. The Craven Arms is definitely a treasured piece of Birmingham’s pub heritage and worth sticking your head around the door, if only to sup a quick pint of real ale.
5. The Prince of Wales
Regardless of the weather, the covered and heated beer garden at the Prince of Wales is always a sure-fire hit with visitors to Birmingham but this watering hole in Moseley is so multi-facted, it will blow your mind. While retaining all the charm of a traditional Victorian pub in the front bar, you’ll also get a taste of New York, the Caribbean and beyond in the cocktail lounge. There’s even a wine shed – or Shed du Vin as its affectionately known by regulars – stocked with more than 30 wines from around the globe. Let’s not forget La Choza – a hut in the garden that sells cigars from Cuba and the New World to further compliment your evening. All this and the rugby action on Sky Sports – need I say more?
6. The Junction
Never judge a book by its cover, as the old saying goes, and never was a truer word said about The Junction in Harborne. It may see imposing on the outside but the soft centre inside is well worth cracking the hard shell for. With leather-clad snugs, open fireplaces, mismatched tables and chairs and a real local ambience, the Junction is the kind of place where you could easily let a few hours slip by without noticing. With a carefully curated offering of craft ales and a beer garden, the Junction is a stalwart of Harborne’s social scene, and a great spot to watch the rugby to boot.
7. Lord Clifden
Set in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the Lord Clifden is not just for the sport-mad but also boasts multiple awards for its food (including nods from The Observer Food Monthly Awards in 2013 and 2014). Picture the scene – a sumptuous New Yorker burger topped with bacon and cheese in one hand, a schooner of your favourite beer on tap in the other and the rugger in HD perfection. Sound tempting? Regular Anna-Maria Clark definitely recommends the Sunday lunches.
8. The Plough
Whether for celebrating success, or nursing the ensuing hangover the next day, The Plough should be high on your itinerary. While its award-winning cask ales are always in high demand, the Plough takes its coffee just as seriously as it does its alcoholic wares; so much so, that it was named by The Independent as one of the top 50 coffee shops in the UK. The grub is first rate too, with stand out menu selections of course being its Full English and traditional Sunday roast. Nothing less would do a on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
9. The Goose
may be a popular haunt for the city’s students, but don’t let that put you off. Penny-pinching students generally know a good thing when the see it and the wallet-friendly prices at the bar will do a lot to persuade you of its virtues (bottles of beer barely tip the £2 mark). The HD screens for the rugby are about as modern as the interior gets, retaining much of its vintage charm which is wel worth a look alone. Throw in reasonably-priced, hearty pub food and you’re on to a winner.
### 10. Lasan
It would be travesty if you left Birmingham without having a curry. With one of the UK’s largest Asian populations, Birmingham has played its part in developing some of the great curry dishes we know and love today. **[Lasan](http://www.lasan.co.uk)** restaurant takes Asian cuisine to another level with nouveau Indian dishes that once curried favour with Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay who named it as the ‘Best Local Restaurant in the UK’. That said, it is definitely at the high end of the dining spectrum with prices to match but it is well worth it as a treat before you leave.
### How to get there
Villa Park stadium is north of Birmingham city centre. Aston station is a 10-minute walk from the stadium, with frequent links to Birmingham New Street station – the city’s main station – which also offers rail connections to all the main UK cities and Birmingham Airport.
Alternatively, spectators can take one of the shuttle buses from the Eastside Park fanzone – a 10-minute walk from the city centre. Journey time is roughly 15 minutes. If you’re wearing comfortable shoes, it’s a 45-minute walk from the the fanzone to the stadium.
### What to see and do
If you’re lucky to be staying on in Birmingham for a few days after the matches, you should take a look at our top tips on what to see and do around the city while you’re here.
### [Top 6 things to see and do in Birmingham](http://www.skyscanner.net/news/top-6-things-see-and-do-birmingham)
### Where to stay
Looking for somewhere to stay during the Rugby World Cup? Find a hotel in Birmingham.
Find hotels in Birmingham
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