Tell us a little bit about your brand and the venue (what you offer, do, and the space itself etc.)
The Whisky Club is our cosy little bar for discerning whisky drinkers in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter. We have a vast selection of whiskies (over 300!) as well as a full menu of other quality spirits, beers and cocktails. We aim to explore the narrative of whisky from all around the world, sharing these stories and hosting tasting events in our dedicated tasting room bringing global whisky brands into the city. Our ethos is one of learning. We want to explore these stories, flavours, histories and share them with our guests; those who are passionate about whisky as much as those who are just beginning their journey.
How long have you been at this venue?
Our first birthday was Friday! We opened on the 25th January for Burns Night and have enjoyed a wonderful year!
What do you know about the history of the building?
The bar is situated in one of the old workshops in the Smith & Pepper factory, named after the business partners who set up the firm in 1899; Mr Smith and Mr Pepper. The firm traded for 82 years up until 1981 and over the years it was predominantly run by generations of the Smith family after Mr Pepper left the business. The height of their success was during the 1920’s when they were well-known for producing snake style bracelets and jewellery with Egyptian motifs which grew in popularity after Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922. Their coiled snake gold bangle with red ruby eye detail was a very popular seminal piece.
Have you heard the poem, what did you think?
We think it’s wonderful! The poem Casey wrote for us was so evocative, his words really capture the spirit of Birmingham’s industrial beauty and paints our bar as a warm home from home for whisky appreciation in the inner city. It was also a surprise to find out it had been written specifically about us not just whisky! We are so grateful for his talented words!
What would you recommend off the menu?
We love the Balvenie 14-year-old Caribbean Cask, a beautiful whisky that finishes its maturation in Caribbean rum casks. With notes of vanilla, toffee and the sweetness of the rum, we’d be surprised if you didn’t love it! Available at the bar for £6.50 (25ml).
What is the best thing about being an indie venue in Birmingham?
The customers that come in, we love that the following for indie venues in the city is so supportive and keen to really enjoy our hard work.
What sets you apart from other venues in the city?
Our massive collection of whisky!! We have over 300 whiskies on the back bar alone and growing! We have something for everyone from the connoisseur to the whisky newbie and pride ourselves on being able to find the right whisky for those that don’t yet drink whisky or know they like it!
Why do you think independent venues are so important for Birmingham?
Independent venues create the culture of a city and provide personality. Their individual outlook creates a uniqueness to a city and employs people committed to making it a vibrant place. And the figureheads working to open these venues help make Birmingham’s ingenuity internationally recognised.
Why did you decide to be a host venue for Overhear and Overheard Walking Tours?
We thought it’d be a good opportunity to be part of the creative fabric of the city.
Have you ever worked with any similar projects to Overhear?
We host a bimonthly event called Whisky & Words with Rick Saunders, this event is an evening of open mic poetry & spoken word, together with a headline set from one of the region's most exciting spoken word performers. Keep an eye on our website for upcoming events, http://thebirminghamwhiskyclub.co.uk/events-bookings/events/
Why do you think art projects are important for Birmingham?
It’s important for the people of a city to be heard and have a platform for expression. These projects provide these platforms and pave the way for new talent to emerge.
What do you love most about being based in Birmingham?
Birmingham is home to so many creatives and home-grown individuals proud to be Brummys. This pride really shows when you see the support given to new venues, projects and arts in the city. Which makes working on these things so worthwhile!
What are you looking forward to most about the Overheard Walking Tours?
We’re keen to hear the rest of the poems that have been written and also to welcome the tours into our bar!