I had a little time to atcpend in Birmingham city centre on Thursday and realised I’d still not checked out the brand new Rub Smokehouse on Birmingham’s Broad Street, so it was a perfect opportunity to stop by and see what was going on.
History of Rub Smokehouse
Rub Smokehouse Birmingham has taken up residence in the former Living Venture Living Room venue above the Lloyds No1 on the second floor of the building. The Living Room Birmingham is legendary among Birmingham Bartenders having been the home to almost every great bartender in the city at some point, I’m still a little disappointed I never got the chance to serve behind the wood there. It was really nice to be back in the venue though, the bar has been retained with the original stations still in place so I can only imagine its a great bar to work behind even today.
I ordered the Jim, Smoke and Lies cocktail from the menu, a spicy mix of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, lemon juice, Chipotle bitters, “insane” BBQ, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper & tomato juice, smoked with hickory smoke. While it took the bartender a little while to serve it, she explained that its not one of the popular drinks and she’d not made it before, which is understandable given the recipe, and I had no problems. It makes such a difference when people are honest with you, as guests, we don’t mind waiting if we’re kept informed. We just hate feeling forgotten!
The manager Tim recognised me and came over to introduce me to his mixologist Joe. I’m not famous, we’d spoken online ahead of the opening as I worked with his wife at my first nightclub when I started in bartending, but this was the first time I met the guys. I could not have felt more taken care of. Joe commented that the drink I’d chosen was a little ‘marmite’ – you love it or hate it and pointed out that it was pretty spicy. No worries, I like spicy!
Tim then introduced one of his chefs and asked him to grab me some of the ‘Insane Wings’. I started to feel like I was being set up as everyone was eager to see me taste this legendary sauce, and I was happy to oblige. I have sauces at home
that are far too spicy for normal humans, so I was pretty confident.
Stacee the bartender was by this point all set up with my drink ready and a smoking
gun arranged in front of me on the bar. I have to say I was impressed that what is a chain restaurant, at the end of the day would have this sort of gear available for the bartenders. She also mentioned that the bartenders had been taking classic cocktail training in the morning as the concept called for them to make any drink ordered and not limit the guests to the (very creative) 28 drink menu on the bar top. Just as it should be.
The drink was smoked in front of me and served in a sealed milk bottle with crushed ice. It was a great take on a bourbon Bloody Mary which I did really enjoy. There was just enough smoke at the start but this really deepened as I got towards the end of the drink.
World’s Hottest Wings?
The food arrived and along with 5 huge chicken wings, I was brought a bowl of pigs in blankets with the most amazing smoked cream sauce I’ve ever tasted, I seriously couldn’t get enough of this stuff. I was also given a small bowl of tortilla chips for tasting the extra Insane sauce that I’d been brought.
The chicken wings were without a doubt the best I’ve tasted, they can often feel overdone and fall right off the bone while dripping in grease, but these had some real bite to them, even before the insane sauce is added. The insane sauce it turns out is Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Sauce based, I think with some tomato added to temper it, but they were certainly the hottest wings I’ve had in a very, very long time. They’re almost “please sign this waiver” hot, but they are delicious and the bartender seemed very shocked when I polished them off along with all the extra sauce she’d brought me.
One drop and she’d been chugging milk it seemed, but the milk she poured me before the food arrived was left untouched. Nando’s, you need to up your game. Rub Smokehouse is the new place for anyone looking for their fix of super hot sauce.
Rub Smokehouse also features a range of great American and UK craft beers, and I can’t wait to go back for a full meal with the family.
RUB SMOKEHOUSE & BAR
Birmingham B1 2DS
0121 643 1115
11am till late, 7 days a week