Review: First Impressions of Be At One Cocktail Bar, Birmingham

When I heard that a new cocktail bar was opening in Birmingham city centre, I was pretty excited. When I heard that this bar has over 150 cocktails on its menu, I was even more intrigued. Be At One, a popular cocktail bar chain, has recently opened its doors in Birmingham, and, though I couldn’t make the launch party, I thought I’d pop down during happy hour to see what this bar could add, if anything, to Birmingham’s thriving cocktail scene.

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Situated underground in the Picadilly Arcade, you could very easily miss the entrance to Be At One altogether. Downstairs, the bar is dark with a few coloured lights to give it a late-night party atmosphere, even at 4.30 in the afternoon. The staff were very friendly (almost too intrusive at times, but this may have been down to the excitement of the launch), and the cocktails were made quickly. We visited during happy hour, which is 2-4-1 on the same cocktail between 4.30pm and 8.00pm most nights – not bad at all for city centre prices.

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The vast cocktail menu is divided into sections determined by the base spirit. It also includes a helpful dial to help you work out which drinks will probably be to your taste. First of all we went for the Manhatten, which was balanced perfectly and served in stylish glasses (we had one straight, one on the rocks). It was good to know that Be At One clearly makes sure they master the classics, despite the huge menu.

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We then tried the Bolero. This was a creamy cocktail, more like an alcoholic smoothie, made with ice-cream, tropical flavours and Malibu. Though you couldn’t go far wrong with these flavours, this was a very pleasant and fun drink, and the malibu was able to come through in the aftertaste.

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Next up was the Dark and Stormy. This simple, long drink went down very well with my group, as the combination of dark rum and ginger beer, cut through with the sharpness of the fresh lime made for an easy-drinking cocktail. Finally, we ordered the English Fizz. This was my favourite cocktail of the night, created with the refreshing ingredients of Hendrick’s gin, Chase elderflower liqueur, mint, lemon and cucumber flavours and soda water. This was such a summery and light drink, and I only wished I were sipping it sat out in the sun!

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Overall, the cocktails at Be At One seem to be well made and the amount of choice is a big selling point. If you’re after some really outstanding drinks, you’ll be left disappointed – instead Be At One is more likely to serve a similar purpose to Turtle Bay’s happy hour; a cheaper way to get a decent cocktail in a fun environment. I can certainly see this place evolving into a safe bet for after work drinks or a crowd pleaser for party-ers in the city centre.

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