We discovered utopia at a winter pergola in Birmingham city centre waterfront bar

The Canal House restaurant in Bridge Street in Birmingham city centre is offering a particularly cosy winter experience
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The festive season is upon us with bright lights sparkling amid those dark winter nights. And many of Birmingham’s restaurants, pubs, and bars have become a welcome reprieve from the cold weather offering cosy places to share joy with friends and family. 

Bundled in layers, we visited one of the popular hospitality venues in Birmingham - which not only has a great menu of food and drinks but also has transformed into a wonderful winter haven

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Canal House in Bar & Restaurant, on the canal waterfront overlooking the Gas Street Basin, reminds me of a stylish country-style tavern from the exterior. And it has a great outdoor seating area where you can listen to live music by the canalside all year round. However, this outdoor space has been covered up into a winter pergola for diners to soak in the winter vibes with the comfort of a shelter this Christams. 

Canal House Restaurant and BarCanal House Restaurant and Bar
Canal House Restaurant and Bar

The Award-winning bar opened the brand-new structure, named ‘The Pergola’, last month – and it has already become a popular hideaway for locals during the colder months. 

I walked into the bar through the Bridge Street entrance and was met by friendly staff right at the reception desk. The quirky chandeliers on the first floor were the first thing that caught my eye.

The first floor also gives off a classy bar vibe but on walking down to the lower floor - it transformed into a casual pub with more standing space. Then, we headed outdoors to the temporary pergola - which looks like an Après-ski barn. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The pergola gives off a comforting and cosy vibe with throws hung from the back of wooden chairs, bright lights, live fires to warm diners, and a small stage for live music. 

Canal House Restaurant and Bar First FloorCanal House Restaurant and Bar First Floor
Canal House Restaurant and Bar First Floor

While waiting for my friend to arrive, I ordered a pint of pale ale - because that’s the first thing you do in a pub or tavern, right? After peeling the layers of winter clothing and taking a seat, I realised that the floor was heated and I barely needed the thick layers. 

The warmth emanating from the floor gave me a pink flush - which shows up as tastefully done up make-up in photos. Even without the flush, the lighting and the decor in the pergola makes for amazing Instagram photos and I would recommend it to all those who are looking for an Insta-worthy venue for Christmas events.

That’s not all that Canal House is good for - after all, it is one of the most popular restaurants in the city. The festive menu has several amazing concoctions and I picked the Cacao Cream - a drink made with Baileys, Portobello road vanilla Vodka and white chocolate liquor - and a single sip was enough to send me to paradise and back. 

Calamari StartersCalamari Starters
Calamari Starters
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

My friend picked a Black Forest Martini made with Cherry Heering Liqueur, Maker’s Mark Whisky, El Bandarra Rojo Vermouth, shaken with strawberry puree and apple juice. I took a sip of the cocktail and it was the perfect blend of sour and dry to with our starters - Calamari with creme fraiche and sweet chilli dip. Just a tip - if you are extra hungry, order a starter each since they are small bites.  

While they have a festive food menu as well, I picked from one of their classics - hanging kebabs - for the mains. 

The sharing Kebab has chicken, lamb kofta and thai red prawn along with coleslaw, humous, flat bread and either rice or fries. The presentation is one of the eye-catching things because the kebabs come in three skewers hanging perfectly & without falling from a stand.

Each of them were well cooked and melt in the mouth soft while the wide selection of sides add to the different flavour profiles. The prawns were slightly hot while the chicken and lamb were mild but herby. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Between our meal, a lone singer with a powerful voice began serenading the crowd - adding to the lively atmosphere. 

Dessert in Canal HouseDessert in Canal House
Dessert in Canal House

For dessert, I picked the winter classic S’mores and my friend picked salted pretzel. The desserts are best ordered for sharing because it can seem like a huge dish after a filling meal. And, while the festive season is all about indulging in sweet treats, the portion size is bigger than a treat! 

This urban utopia of firepits and good times alongside winter cocktails, hot chocolate, mulled wine and warm food, inside the new lodge is open Monday to Sunday from 12 noon until late throughout the winter. 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.