The view from The Cube, Birmingham


It looks like a giant square block made of khaki and white Lego bricks with a layer of glass on top, or a game of Tetris gone wrong. Rising from the canalside in Birmingham city centre, The Cube is home to offices, apartments and restaurants. It also has the best view of England’s second city from its rooftop bar.

Opened in 2010 next to the city’s Mailbox, The Cube narrowly missed out on being one of my Top 5 iconic Birmingham buildings because I hadn’t been there until last week.

With 25 floors, the 70-metre tall building is currently home to a Hotel Indigo, a Rodizio Rico Brazilian restaurant and The Law Society, amongst a few other restaurants and offices. But it is the lift to the 25th floor that you should head for as this is where you will find the glass fronted roof-top Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill.

You can easily see local landmarks including the Library of Birmingham, Edgbaston Cricket ground, The Hawthorns (home of West Bromwich Albion) and Birmingham University’s clocktower. I tried in vain to spot the stadium of my team, Aston Villa, before heading to the bar.

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I had a feeling it might be a bit pricey in here. I’d picked up a marketing flyer from the entrance to the building, which said “Visitors to The Cube are very affluent. There are 70% more wealthy achievers and urban prosperity visitors than typical Birmingham shoppers”.

Wealthy achiever or not, I wasn’t prepared for the £5.99 price of a pint of San Miguel, probably the most I’ve paid for a beer this side of Scandinavia. A large glass of the cheapest red or white wine on offer will set you back £6.85.

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But the view is well worth the high prices charged. We had a window-side table, so made the most of it by staying for lunch.

Kat had the beef burger (£14.95) while I went for the 10oz rib-eye steak (£24.95), both served with salad, onion rings and a mini-saucepan of chips. They were both very good – my steak not the best I’d ever had but not too far off, and we left as satisfied customers.

Eating here is not compulsory. When we visited on a Saturday afternoon there was a mix of couples, tourists, locals, shoppers and classy hen parties. Some were having meals, others were just drinking but everyone was gawping out of the window and taking photos.

There’s a terraced seating area with cracking views of the mirrored Hyatt Hotel and the new library in Centenary Square, but it was far too chilly to sit outside in early January.

As a one-off treat, a visit to The Cube is obligatory if you find yourself in Birmingham. Some might say it’s not the prettiest of cities, but try telling that to anyone sitting with a drink at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse as the sun sets over the Rotunda.

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Categories: UK and IrelandTags: , ,

17 comments

  1. Sounds like the Skyline Bar in Riga!

  2. An iconic building in the making, for sure. I love the look of it. Birmingham has some interesting buildings, for sure.

  3. You paid the view not the beer 😉

  4. You’ve been busy lately! 🙂 Good Christmas?
    Think I’d have to admire from the outside- I can have a bottle and a half of very nice Portuguese Dao for the price of that glass! (always was a cheapskate, Rich)
    I’ve got SS probs and can’t even get in to update a guide. Think it’s my server. You had any probs?

  5. As a Warwick student I really should go to Bham more often. I didn’t realise there were buildings around like this! Bham doesn’t have the best reputation aesthetically haha

  6. 20 years ago I’d have agreed with you, but there are a few futuristic buildings in Brum now – definitely a city worth another look.

  7. I live about an hour away but have been to Birmingham probably once in the last 15 years (and that was a hen do so didn’t see any daylight) – will have to give it another chance, sunset cocktails with a view are always enough to win me over.

  8. Having moved to Brum from down south I had some pretty big preconceptions of what it would be like as a city. I’m glad I was wrong! Manages to be both a modern and exciting city without being soulless and anonymous.

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