Have you noticed how trendy Birmingham’s become over the last five years? I remember how bloody boring it all seemed when I was growing up – although my social life consisted of the Brownies and synchronised swimming lessons, so what did I know?
Perhaps I’ve been hanging out with the wrong people all these years, but recently there just seems to be so much stuff going on that it’s hard to know what to actually do.
I do try and do some stuff, and I went out on some “important business” with a notorious vigilante cycle gang on a recent Wednesday evening, which for a myriad of complicated reasons, had to be conducted in the pub (the reasons were beer and wine). The pub we graced with our mostly lycra free presence was 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter.
This place is so hipster. Seriously. The toilets are clad in chipboard. But you know what? You know what I’ve realised about myself… I like hipsters. Sorry. I know. It’s kind of not allowed but…the bars are cool. And the music. And I kinda like the clothes, soz. I don’t even mind the beards. I like to look at funny things, especially when drinking.
I also really bloody like the chipboard clad toilets. I like the weird velvet curtain inside the the door. I like that it has all these cool nights advertised on the board in the chipboard toilet (like ‘Now Ham’ or ‘Disco Sucks’, haha guys) that I will always go “ooh looks good” and never go to.
The most thoroughly hipster place I have ever been (there was actually a dude in a poncho and a cowboy hat on his massive afro who popped outside and came back smelling very green) was The Wildcat Tap in Stirchley (yeah suck it Kings Heath AND Moseley). And I LOVED that place. Does this make me a hipster? I don’t know. I will never admit it.
As well as 1000 Trades being really cool (did I mention that?) it also has nice booze. They have Lawless on tap, which is my favourite lager. I really honestly know nothing about beer, so I can’t tell you anything about hops (does lager have hops? Another mystery that will never be unravelled) or what the thing is about the taste that just makes it nicer than most other lagers I’ve had. It’s just really nice, so if you haven’t you should try it. Plus, of course, it’s free from any fish gut related activity, what with it being unfiltered, so (of course) it’s vegan.
Lawless is popping up all over the place. The Old Contemptibles by Snow Hill has it, and the Lounge chains (Desco, Arco, etc – I had it in the one in Sutton) and even the MAC (Midlands Art Centre) – where it tasted great even though it was in a plastic cup.
This Wednesday, however, given the coming domination of Lawless (seriously – it deserves to be inevitable) I went for some of the Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA. The first time I visited 1000 Trades they had Beavertown’s Gamma Ray (also very nice) – which is good news for veggies and vegans, as all of Beavertown’s bottles, cans and keykeg beers have been confirmed by the Hackney-based brewer as suitable for vegans. Of the two I preferred the Neck Oil, and I can see why they suggest you have a session with it. Sounds like a great idea to me.
I will pretty much always try a pale ale, especially if it has an interesting looking pump clip, can or bottle. In my experience you kind of can judge a beer by it’s cover. 1000 Trades has a good range of cool looking cans and bottles in the fridge. The Mountain’ Livin’ Pale Ale, which has a rather handsome portrait of a goat, is vegan, so I was clearly obliged to try it. And I was right. Pretty can = nice beer. It’s good to have a solid metric to work off.
The kitchen is taken over by ‘resident’ street food vendors – for March it is Moody Cow, which you might guess from the hee-larious name specialises in meaty burgers. They do have a vegan option, a pretty unsurprising falafel burger (yah falafel WE KNOW) with guacamole – such obvious vegan pandering tactics, playing the avocado card! Avocado is my spirit animal. To be honest, I kind of have to stay away from guacamole because I’m always disappointed that it isn’t just a whole avocado mashed up with a spoon to eat it. I’d buy that in a pub. I didn’t try the food on this occasion (other than one of someone else’s fries) because a) eating is cheating and there isn’t a b.
Vegan rating: 4 avocados out of 5. More vegan food options would be nice, but it obviously depends on who’s in the kitchen, and anyway this is a bar with lots of good looking (literally) beer to choose from, which is clearly the most important thing.
1000 Trades, 16 Frederick St Jewellery Quarter B1 3HE
Tel: 0121 233 2693