You’d have to be a soothsayer to even try and predict what will happen in 2017 – after all, 2016 surprised just about everybody! Even with all the trials and tribulations that 2016 threw at us, one thing has always been certain – Birmingham is only getting better. You need only look at the national press to see that corporate and political opinion on Birmingham (and the greater West Midlands region) is on the up as more and more businesses set up shop in the area. To celebrate this fact (and welcome in the New Year), we here at In The City Magazine have drawn up a guide to why you should be excited about Birmingham’s prospects in 2017.
Fill up on fine fittle in 2017
Over the past few years, Birmingham has fast secured a position as one of the premium foodie destinations in the UK. It doesn’t matter if it’s street food in Digbeth, or premium Michelin-starred cuisine in the city centre, Birmingham has it all. The city is to continue its foodie renaissance with a host of new restaurant openings and food-based special event launches in 2017. With that in mind, here are two of the city’s hottest now establishments set to excite your tastebuds in 2017;
Whether you are participating in “Veganuary” or not, you should all be excited about the opening of the inaugural Not Dogs restaurant. A fast-food chain with a vegetarian twist, Not Dogs is set to offer some of the tastiest (and healthiest) fast food in the city, if not country!
Elsewhere, film lovers might want to take advantage of the newly renovated The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen in Digbeth. Though the establishment has long shown films, it has recently undergone a facelift to turn it into a full working cinema, with gourmet dining options available in the bar area. Showing a range of movies both old and new, The Mockingbird is a fine addition to the city’s already burgeoning independent cinema scene.
New places to go for a drink and dance in 2017
It should come as no surprise that Birmingham boasts one of the most diverse and exciting entertainment/nightlife infrastructures in the UK. Between massive clubs like PRYZM and Snobs, and more independent fixtures like Uprawr and Propaganda, Birmingham has plenty to offer to the dance-crazy partier. 2017 is set to offer more of the same great experiences with new bars like Bierkeller on Broad Street (opened in December 2016) making up part of a multi-million-pound revitalisation of city centre nightlife spots.
In 2017… Birmingham means big business
A city can’t achieve second city status by bars and restaurants alone! Though Birmingham has been somewhat snubbed since the 80s, when Manchester overtook it as the go-to place for businesses outside of London, the city has recently enjoyed a huge influx of fresh business. Attracted by lower rents and a well-connected infrastructure to the rest of the UK, big businesses and banks like HSBC have begun moving away from the capital in favour of more a regional base. Between global companies like Lombard Risk Management (who recently opened a hub in the city centre and are expected to create over 140 jobs) and numerous start-up projects (including the illustrious property management software firm brightLET), it seems the city’s employment prospects are limitless.
Better public transport for getting around the West Midlands…
With over a million people living in the West Midlands, it would be a colossal understatement to say that the maintenance and improvement of public transport is critical to the success of the city. National Express’s unveiling of “platinum” buses has seen an increase in the quality of travel, especially for those on long journeys. With free Wi-Fi and increased legroom, these buses offer a more comfortable way to travel to and from work, at no extra cost. Taking cues from National Express, various rail companies have also pledged to improve their services in 2017. Rail provider London Midland in particular have pledged a dedication to transport improvement, announcing plans for free Wi-Fi on all of their trains.
…And out of it
One of the more ambitious projects currently underway in the Midlands is the development of HS2. A high-speed rail development meant to greatly improve Birmingham’s transport infrastructure, HS2 is currently being developed in two stages. Stage one will see the travel time between London and Birmingham reduced to less than an hour, whilst stage two will expand the network to as far afield as Manchester or even Glasgow. Costing millions of pounds to implement, the project is a huge investment into Birmingham’s workforce prospects and could see many more global businesses set up shop in the city to take advantage of the easy access to regions of high-importance around the UK.
More sport than you can shake a (hockey) stick at
With three football teams within a stone’s throw of Birmingham city centre alone, you can be sure that (just like any other year), 2017 will no doubt be touted as “our” year – regardless of team, league or logical feasibility. What is certain, is that 2017 will see city sporting institutions like Edgbaston Cricket Ground once again attract international crowds. With 28 days of major matches confirmed between 2017 and 2019, the city will surely enjoy plenty of cricket tourism in the New Year.
As if that weren’t enough, a new £55 million swimming pool development in Edgbaston is also set to be finally opened in 2017. Called 360 Sport & Fitness, the centre will have Birmingham’s only 50-metre pool, a 900-seat sports arena, squash courts, dance studios and a gym.
Of course, this is just a vague forecast of what is to come in 2017. One thing you can be sure of is that In The City Magazine will be keeping our ears to the ground, ready to bring you information on the hottest, best and most interesting new developments throughout the year.