Birmingham has one of the most amazing food and drink scenes in the UK but over the past 12 months we’ve had some shocking restaurant losses.
The devastating effects of Covid 19, has resulted in some of these sad closures.
These include long-standing places as well as those that had barely been open a year.
Venues reliant on lunchtime and after work trade have been particularly hard hit as the majority of city professionals spent most of 2020 working from home.
Here we take a look at what the city has lost.
Anderson Bar and Grill
This award winning basement restaurant was forced to close due to a “catastrophic” flood in the summer.
The steak house based in a 17th century cellar in St Paul’s Square has been trading for the last 11 years.
The owner Dan Anderson said the closure had “nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic”.
He said: “We have been forced to move permanently out of the premises which was our home, business and place of good cheer for many of our clients and staff over the past 11 years
“We suffered catastrophic flooding back in June of this year and, due to circumstances which were out of our control, it became clear that we were not going to be in a position to reoccupy by the start of December.”
30 Mary Ann Street, B3 1RL
Red Peppers was one of the oldest restaurants at the Mailbox when it opened 17 years ago.
It announced the news on its Facebook page in August. It said: “It is with a heavy heart that we bring the news that Red Peppers in Birmingham will not be reopening due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
“We would like to thank all of our customers and employees, past and present for your loyalty and support and all the great times we’ve had over the last 17 years.”
It will be replaced by Italian eatery Lucarelli, which opens early next year.
Pint Shop opened in 2018, serving craft beer, gin and British food in a stunning listed building.
Our source told us: “All the staff were told in June that it was closed for good.
“Things were really picking up at the start of this year – we had a stronger smaller team and were feeling very positive. Then suddenly Covid happened and all was lost.”
The news was met with an outpouring of sadness on Twitter.
38 Bennetts Hill, B2 5SN
Chiquito, owned by the Restaurant Group, went into administration in March and announced the majority of its restaurants would be closing.
In July the chain confirmed the permanently-closed sites included Birmingham venues at Hagley Road West and Rubery.
A spokesman said: “The casual dining sector has faced enormous, well-documented pressures which have been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the lockdown. Unfortunately, we have had to take difficult but necessary decisions to ensure a sustainable future for our business.
“We have been in close contact with affected colleagues throughout this process and we are doing all we can to support them during this time.”
Hagley Rd West, B68 0L
Unit 3B, Ashbrook Dr, Rubery B45 9JL
Jewellery Quarter restaurant Lucky Duck, specialised in Bao – steamed buns.
The tiny 20 cover eatery opened in February 2018 and also served a selection of noodles dishes.
On a notice posted outside its window, the owners said they had been planning to leave hospitality for a while but the devastating impact of this year on the entire sector made the decision easier.
The statement said: “We’ve had such fun setting up our little noodle shop, getting back to basics and being able to connect with so many lovely people on a personal level through our love of food.
“It’s been a blast, but as with all things this chapter is coming to a close. We were always planning to leave the hospitality industry to pursue other avenues and interests at some point and this year has made that decision a lot easier. “
21 Caroline Street, B3 1UE
The iconic Eden Bar in Birmingham’s Gay Quarter called last orders in October after Tier Two rules saw its capacity slashed to just 10 per cent.
In a statement co-owners Garry Prentice and Cal Eden said: “Like many small businesses, 2020 has stretched Eden beyond belief. A reduced capacity to 25% then further reduced to 10% under Region Tier 2, heavy staff costs due to the ongoing changing government guidelines, the recent 10pm curfew and an imminent Region Tier 3 lockdown, has meant we have decided to bite the bullet, making this drastic commercial decision.
“Understandably, the fear of Covid is apparent, despite huge efforts to ensure a safe environment, making current conditions none financially viable.
116 Sherlock Street, B5 6NB
Buffalo & Rye
This was the fifth city centre venue opening for independent restaurant group Bitters N’ Twisted in 2015. The eatery specialised in American comfort food and cocktails.
In July owner Matt Scriven said: “With the restaurant being small and with social distancing in place, we took the decision that Buffalo & Rye simply wasn’t financially viable going forward. As a result, we had to take the difficult decision to make eight people redundant and give the keys back to the landlord.”
11 Bennetts Hill, B2 5RS
Renowned for its cocktails, The Island bar helped kick-start Brum’s independent scene when it opened in 2006 – but it also never reopened after the first lockdown.
Speaking to BirminghamLive at the time, owner Matt Scriven said: “We’re gutted about having to make the decision to close Island Bar permanently but, with most of our revenue opportunities extremely minimal for the foreseeable future, it felt like we had no choice but to shut up shop.”
4-16 Suffolk Street Queensway, B1 1LT
Rebel Chicken also opened in 2018 – replacing the short-lived Fishylicious restaurant. After two years of trading it quietly closed for good at the start of lockdown.
The venue, which boasts a huge beer garden, has now been taken over by 202 Kitchen – which serves up ‘trapbox concept‘ food.
5, 19 Pitsford Street, B18 6LJ
This French cafe and shop was one of the first Birmingham independents to open back in 2005. Co-owner Remi Faveou said it was due to it being “too small to offer the social distancing required”.
Its sister site in Moseley remains open.
8 Poplar Road, King’s Heath, B14 7AD
The owner of Bloom on Poplar Road in Kings Heath announced the cafe’s closure in October.
In an emotional post, Alasdair Houston said: “I am heartbroken. I am confused, angry, upset and hurt. It is impossible to share my feelings with you here despite feeling the need to.
“It would be easy to blame the pandemic but the truth is, Covid has only exacerbated a problem that is no longer tenable.”
The popular eatery was known for its stunning brunches.
32 Poplar Road, King’s Heath, 14 7AA
Bar Opus – sister venue to Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street – was heavily reliant on office worker trade and suffered from the huge switch to home working.
It opened in 2015 and proved instantly popular with city professionals looking for a relaxed spot for after work cocktails.
Snowhill, One, Birmingham B4 6GH
The bagel brand, which was founded in Leamington Spa, opened its doors on Lower Temple Street in the city centre in February and won many fans.
Sadly it announced its closure for good over the summer.
It remains open in Leamington Spa.
6 Temple Row, B2 5HG
Pig & Apple
The city’s first Yorkshire pudding wrap cafe opened in 2018 but sadly became an early casualty of Covid this year. According to its Facebook page, owners are now in search of a new place to open again.