New Birmingham bar inspired by continental café bars


Bar Opus Irene Allan, David Colcombe, Ann Tonks

The team behind Birmingham restaurants Opus and Café Opus at Ikon are to open a new bar in the city centre’s Colmore Business District.

Close to Birmingham Snow Hill station, Bar Opus is drawing inspiration from the “buzzing, spontaneous” bars and cafés that the owners have enjoyed on trips to Barcelona and Copenhagen.

It will be the latest venture by Ann Tonks, Irene Allen and David Colcombe (pictured) who opened their flagship restaurant Opus nine years ago and the quintessentially British café in the city’s contemporary art venue Ikon 18 months ago.

Due to open in early November, the 120-capacity 1,700 sq ft venue will be the first A3 tenant of the One Snowhill development which was completed in 2009 and is owned by Union Investment Real Estate.

Ann said: “For almost a decade now, we have helped Birmingham evolve into a city that is passionate about its food, hospitality and entertainment. There is a confidence that independent establishments can thrive and are celebrated in the city.

“We opened Café Opus last February in the iconic Ikon gallery, as we wanted to continue to grow the Opus family in an imaginative way, and Bar Opus is further testament to this ethos.

“The area at this end of Colmore Row is a real destination for those looking for bars and restaurants and we’re excited to have secured a prime location so close to Snow Hill station.

“The building is home to great professional businesses like KPMG, Barclays and DWF and the fact that Wragge Lawrence Graham are now ensconced in Two Snowhill and the HS2 construction headquarters are moving to the building is an indication of how the area will continue to develop over the coming years.”

As well as serving both breakfast and lunch, Bar Opus is influenced by the bars of Barcelona and Copenhagen in its after-work food concept. This will see chefs create a selection of sharing plates in an open kitchen, with the prices indicated by the colour of the dishes in which they are served.

Customers will be encouraged to interact with the open kitchen and even make requests for dishes they may have tried on previous visits.

The bar will also have a good-quality cocktail and wine list alongside a selection of draught and bottled beers.

Ann added: “We’ll be operating an open kitchen so that customers will be able to see what we’re preparing but also talk to the chefs about what they have enjoyed of late. It is a concept you see across the continent, but hardly anywhere on these shores.”

Work on the site, which is managed by Savills and will feature designs from Suzanne Barnes Design Partnership, started last week.

Ann said: “The tram that will run outside of One and Two Snowhill will be operational in the summer of next year, representing the progress that the city is making every day. It will actually give diners on our terrace the feel that they are in a continental environment.

“The location is the perfect example of going places and the tram will only add weight to that feeling once complete.”

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