Situated on Temple Row, at the edge of St. Philip’s Cathedral, the Old Joint Stock Theatre Pub is like a trip to Wonderland, and indeed to its Victorian roots. Built in 1864 and designed by Julius Alfred Chatwin, the building is Grade II listed. Originally a library and then a bank, it has been renovated into one of the most impressive bars you’ll find in Birmingham, with an 80-seater theatre upstairs.
Passing the stone pillars of the building’s façade and entering through its gigantic doors, you will step into a vast space filled with plush patterned carpets and gleaming floorboards. There are great draping curtains over enormous windows, a marble-topped island bar, with wonderfully atmospheric lamps and its own clock tower, gorgeous paintings and rustic furniture. And that’s before you look up.
On the ceiling are countless historical busts, viewing the whole scene with eyes from another era. Chandeliers and a balcony, where you can touch the stonework, are completely outstripped by a titanic domed ceiling.
Since it’s the festive season, their titan Christmas tree will be out now; delicious mulled wine and cider in glass tankards will warm your frostbitten hands.
As a past employee of the pub, I can vouch for their excellent food (pies are their speciality), as well as the quality of their ales and beers, and the welcoming and friendly staff. The only downside is the expense – if you want to dine in a beautiful Victorian building with quality food and drink, you have to be prepared to pay £3.60 for a Carling.
For a list of events at the Old Joint Stock theatre, visit: http://www.oldjointstocktheatre.co.uk/rte.asp?id=2
By Danielle Bentley