Leading bartender prepares to open new cocktail bar in Birmingham

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Award-winning bartender Robert Wood is preparing to open a new cocktail bar in Birmingham, focusing on pre-batched cocktails.

He is due to reveal 18/81 in a “secret” location on Thorp Street on June 20 after developing it with Joe Schuppler, founder of Independent Birmingham, which promotes independent businesses in the city.

Robert is already owner-operator of Birmingham bar Smultronställe and was formerly head bartender at two other Birmingham cocktail destinations, The Edgbaston hotel and 40 St Paul’s.

18/81 promises to be a destination cocktail bar bringing “something new and exciting” to Birmingham’s thriving independent bar scene, focused around serving high-quality drinks in a laid-back and friendly environment.

The menu will focus around a core selection of pre-batched cocktails that are combined ahead of time and perfectly diluted and then poured over ice within seconds to order.

18/81 will also stock a range of diverse and high-quality spirits, with a suggested classic cocktail for each spirit category. A small wine and beer menu will also be available.

The address in Thorp Street will not be advertised. After locating it, customers will ring a doorbell to get let in. It will not take reservations for future dates, only same-day bookings via text, and it will keep 50% of tables free for walk-ins. If the bar is full, customers will be given a referral card and then texted when their table is ready.

Robert said: “Having created something unique in Smultronställe, I am really very excited to take the next step with 18/81. We are actively looking to change the status quo of cocktail bars with 18/81, and myself and the team cannot wait to welcome you to our newest endeavour.”

Joe added: “Having championed and celebrated Birmingham’s independent scene for the last five years, I’m hugely excited to now become a part of it and to add something new and special to this ever-growing and brilliant city.

“I’ve always had a passion for cocktails, and I’m delighted to team up with Robert Wood to create this destination cocktail bar.”

For updates, keep an eye on 18/81 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @1881bhx.

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