Hidden Gems of Birmingham - Bar Opus

Scratch beneath the surface of our city and you'll find some real hidden gems. So we have set out to explore the best-kept secrets and unsung heroes of Birmingham. This week, Julie ventures to Bar Opus in Snow Hill...

Bar Opus at One Snow Hill is a wonderfully grown up and sophisticated bar that also serves food. Situated right next to Snow Hill station and the brand new tramway.

The double height glass frontage gives a very modern feel to this bright, light and airy space in the daytime. Decorated with a modern turquoise  and brown theme, scatter cushions and wallpaper to match and a huge clock feature beside the bar Bar Opus is contemporary  and trendy. With real linen napkins setting the scene you know Bar Opus is a bit more high end, it is the third of three very prestigious  watering holes. It being the baby of Cafe Opus at Ikon gallery and the Opus restaurant on Cornwall street. With a loyalty card that is valid at all three locations. 

Gentil, refined and surprisingly  quiet during the daytime, Bar Opus is vibrant  and busy after the local office workers arrive at 5pm during the week. I chose to visit mid morning and the service I received was as outstanding as it always is. Being the only customers we had the full attention of the waiting staff and they could not have been more hospitable. We were shown to a window seat where we could watch the world walk past and the trams from Wolverhampton which run regularly. Outside is a comfortable dining terrace which has cosy blankets available for the cool of the evenings.  

I chose to eat the eggs benedict which came with two perfectly poached eggs complete with runny yolks, wonderfully tasty smoked ham and hollandaise sauce. My companion chose the eggs benedict with smoked salmon. Once again served with two perfectly poached runny eggs and a generous  portion of smoked salmon which had a beautiful flavour and texture. A glass of prosecco at only £6 added a touch of decadence  to our midweek elevenses.

We also ordered one portion of cake for the two toddlers, our server was happy to divide the cake into two portions and serve it on two plates making our brunch experience  far more family friendly. The cake of the day that day was a coffee and walnut cake. Although is was a very nice cake I am unsure as to whether  it is made or bought in, unlike the poached eggs which are definitely  freshly prepared  to order. Bar Opus has an open kitchen, as well as being a reassuring sight to be able to see food being prepared  in full view of the customers. It was lovely to interact with the chef who knew what the cake of the day was and he knew it only contained coffee flavour and no caffeine.

Bar Opus serve an excellent Illy coffee making it a great place to stop for a mid morning coffee and cake but they also have a fantastic cocktail menu for early evenings. I definitely recommend you try the Dark & Stormy cocktail next time you visit. Boasting a well stocked bar and knowledgeable  mixologists, an impressive  cocktail menu and some lovely wines it really is easy to see why Bar Opus is a popular spot for the after work crowd. But please remember  they are not open on a Sunday although they are open 7am until 11pm all week. 

The 7am opening makes for a great breakfast choice and the impressive breakfast menu means Bar Opus is a perfect venue for anyone busy enough to need to schedule  a breakfast meeting. As well as Eggs Benedict and traditional full english breakfast options there is omelette  and eggs on toast on the breakfast menu.  

Bar snacks and nibbles are available  throughout the day as well as a take away menu which is a new addition. The take away menu is predominantly sandwiches  priced at around £7-£8. That sounds pricey for a sandwich, but all the ingredients  used are top quality and if the sandwiches are as nice as the homemade  sausage rolls and pickled onion & pork pie  that Bar Opus serve, then I would rather pay for good food than a mass produced sandwich made hours beforehand. 
 Two portions of Eggs Benedict, one coffee & walnut cake (divided into two small portions) one coffee, one glass of prosecco and two apple juices came to under £35.   

So if you're looking for a great spot for elevenses, be that coffee and cake, brunch or even a glass of wine a daytime visit to Bar Opus is going to be quiet as it is still a hidden gem. Or if you visit at lunchtime or immediately  after the local office workers arrive at 5pm then it is a vibrant bar and a great location to while away an hour or two to let the rush hour commuters disperse. But whenever you do visit you're sure to get great service and a great product be that cocktails, food or just a coffee. 

As well as being a vibrant hotspot at night and a breakfast menu well worth checking out, Bar Opus also offer cocktail masterclasses on a Saturday. The cost for the masterclass is under £20 and everyone gets to make and enjoy a couple of cocktails each. Cocktail masterclasses are great fun, well worth remembering  should you be trying to organise a hen party, team building event or just wanting to have a great night. 

I love visiting Bar Opus, it is a great location being literally  a one minute walk from Snow Hill station, the inside has a really nice feel, mostly because it is nicely decorated  and airy as well as being spacious  enough to cope with the large crowds it often attracts after 5pm. Enjoying cocktails on the outside terrace in the sunshine with a large group of friends on a Saturday  will never get boring. With lovely staff who still believe the customer is king. It is a perfect spot for mid morning and as it is so quiet Bar Opus is my new favourite elevenses choice. Now if I could just organise some summer sunshine so as to be able to fully appreciate the outside terrace with its views of the living wall of greenery.

Review written by SWOOPE content partner Julie Wallis

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