Meet Ed Shawcross, General Manager at Island Bar
Island Bar opened its doors to the masses in September 2006. Determined not to be a typical cocktail bar, the team set it up on DIY ethics, to bring a lot of soul and no pretension to the Birmingham nightlife scene and to become a hub for music and drink lovers alike.
The team has taken away all the stuffy nonsense of traditional cocktail bars and made the focus all about the drinks. The bar is proud of its range of drinks and the expertise of its staff and thinks customers will be too. Island Bar was voted one of the top 50 bars in the UK by the Independent on Sunday and has one of the West Midlands’ largest collections of rum – over 70 at last count.
I came to Birmingham at the age of eighteen and never looked back. I’ve seen so many changes in the short time I’ve been here and things are constantly changing. There’s so much to do and see and the bar culture is gradually improving with the choice getting better and better.
DESCRIBE THE INDEPENDENT SCENE IN THE CITY IN THREE WORDS:
Making Brum better!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COCKTAIL ON THE MENU AT THE MOMENT?
I love the Zombie cocktail for the presentation and quality of the drink. People can’t get enough of the rummy goodness! It pretty much sums up the bar and our attitude to great drinks, presented well in an un- pretentious environment. It’s all about having fun and drinking banging drinks that are garnished well and served with a smile!
Any Bitters ‘n’ Twisted venue for cocktails.
Yorks Bakery for coffee.
Anderson & Hill for lunch – the Bavarian sandwich is amazing!
Loki Wine for something unique – the combination of cheese and wine is the key to my heart!
Digbeth Dining Club for the best burger – from the likes of Meat shack and Low ‘n’ Slow.
The Electric Cinema for a date.
The Pickled Piglet for service with a smile.
DO YOU WORK WITH ANY OTHER INDEPENDENTS IN THE CITY?
We use Cherry Reds and The Victoria for our buffets to go with our cocktail masterclass, as we don’t have the facilities ourselves and love eating at both!
DO YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING BIRMINGHAM FACT TO SHARE?
Birmingham is actually the youngest city in Europe with nearly half the population being under 25. This is great for independents like us, as they are always looking to try new places and new products.
WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR FROM YOU IN THE COMING MONTHS?
We regularly update our weekend menu and are running a special summer drinks list this season, keeping everything fresh and using local products like Chase Gin. Look out for our refreshing long summer, served garnished with loads of fresh fruit straight from Birmingham markets.