High above the streets of Birmingham, on the 25th floor of the Cube is a brand new bar. Haig Club, a single grain whisky endorsed by David Beckham, has opened it’s first permanent bar in the UK.
Haig Club is a single grain scotch whisky, aiming to lead the charge bringing scotch whisky’s heritage into the modern world. With a sleek, modern bottle design, and a partnership with David Beckham and Simon Fuller, Haig is a whisky to be enjoyed in high rise bars by the young and cool, rather than with a pipe in front of the fire.
The new bar is on the 25th floor of The Cube, and is an intimate space that seats just 36. The first impression when you walk in is of blue. Haig’s bottles are in a beautiful deep blue, with copper accents, and the bar is decorated in the same way. With enormous floor to ceiling windows, and the back bar against the glass, the light from outside filters through the bottles, and washes the bar with a blue tint. With copper topped tables and plush velvet covered seating, the bar is a bit of an Instagram paradise.
The bar opened for a soft launch earlier in the month, but celebrated it’s official opening with a blogger and press launch. We were greeted on arrival with a whisky and coke, which hit the spot rather nicely. After I’d finished taking photographs if everything in the place, we settled ourselves at a table and had a chat with head bartender, Jack Spencer. Previously of Bourne & Co, Jack is clearly very excited about the venture, and spoke passionately about his plans for the bar and the vibe he wants to create. The bar serves only whisky. You can order one of the two Haig whiskys, or from the cocktail menu. Currently, a small list of Haig based cocktails is available, but Jack has already developed 22 more to tempt in those who love whisky and those who are maybe a little sceptical about it.
We were given a taster of both of Haig Club’s whiskys. The Haig Club, is a fresh, clean whisky, and I actually really liked it. I’m quite new to whisky, and I’m yet to develop a taste for anything too peaty, so this clean taste is ideal for me. The Haig Clubman is sweeter and smoother, and I think more obviously created with cocktails in mind. I liked both, but would describe them as an ‘entry point whisky.’ If you’re not sure about whisky, or new to it, Haig could be a great start, as it’s light on peat. I thought both had a note of citrus (confirmed by the website, score one for me), with some toffee sweetness.
A menu of small sharing plates has been created to complement the cocktails. We tried a variety of the food available, which includes scotch eggs, chorizo balls, black pudding bonbons, duck skewers. black pudding sausage rolls, chicken skewers, prawns and mussels. I wasn’t blown away by the food, but it was tasty, and would make for very nice bar snacking while you’re enjoying a drink and the view. My favourites were the black pudding bonbons, which were rich and well accompanied by the sweet cocktails, and the mussels, which I’ve not seen served as a bar snack, but were very well cooked.
The food was accompanied with some options from the new cocktail list. We tried Pears in Paradise (Clubman, pear liqueur, cloudy apple, cinnamon, lime) which tasted like good pear drops, the Clubman Apple Mule (Clubman, apple, ginger beer), and a Ginger Julep (Clubman, Ginger Liqueur, Mint, lime). The cocktails would all be good for those who maybe don’t consider themselves whisky fans. They were mostly sweet, and not too boozy. If you are a whisky fan, there are a lot of more classic cocktail options too, and I’m sure if you challenged Jack to make you an ideal cocktail with a good whisky hit, he’d more than happy. Later in the evening, he very kindly made me an Old Fashioned, which was excellent.
To round off the evening, Jack gathered us into small groups for a cocktail masterclass. Our group got the Berry Beauty (Clubman, Chambord, Grand Marinier, Sugar Syrup, Raspberries, Rosemary). Barman Jack got people shaking their own cocktails, which is always fun, and served the drinks in an impressive tower of glasses.
The cocktail was fruity and delicious and a great finish to the evening. Haig Club bar is a serious glamour spot. The views over the city are unrivalled, and the bar decor is sleek and chic. Remember they are based in the Cube, so this isn’t going to be a budget venue. However, for a drink that’s a bit special, you can’t really go wrong with a cocktail, or a slow sipping whisky gazing out over the city.