It looks like a giant square block made of khaki and white Lego bricks with a layer of glass on top, or a game of Tetris gone wrong. Rising from the canalside in Birmingham city centre, The Cube is home to offices, apartments and restaurants. It also has the best view of England’s second city from its rooftop bar.
Opened in 2010 next to the city’s Mailbox, The Cube narrowly missed out on being one of my Top 5 iconic Birmingham buildings because I hadn’t been there until last week.
With 25 floors, the 70-metre tall building is currently home to a Hotel Indigo, a Rodizio Rico Brazilian restaurant and The Law Society, amongst a few other restaurants and offices. But it is the lift to the 25th floor that you should head for as this is where you will find the glass fronted roof-top Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
You can easily see local landmarks including the Library of Birmingham, Edgbaston Cricket ground, The Hawthorns (home of West Bromwich Albion) and Birmingham University’s clocktower. I tried in vain to spot the stadium of my team, Aston Villa, before heading to the bar.
I had a feeling it might be a bit pricey in here. I’d picked up a marketing flyer from the entrance to the building, which said “Visitors to The Cube are very affluent. There are 70% more wealthy achievers and urban prosperity visitors than typical Birmingham shoppers”.
Wealthy achiever or not, I wasn’t prepared for the £5.99 price of a pint of San Miguel, probably the most I’ve paid for a beer this side of Scandinavia. A large glass of the cheapest red or white wine on offer will set you back £6.85.
But the view is well worth the high prices charged. We had a window-side table, so made the most of it by staying for lunch.
Kat had the beef burger (£14.95) while I went for the 10oz rib-eye steak (£24.95), both served with salad, onion rings and a mini-saucepan of chips. They were both very good – my steak not the best I’d ever had but not too far off, and we left as satisfied customers.
Eating here is not compulsory. When we visited on a Saturday afternoon there was a mix of couples, tourists, locals, shoppers and classy hen parties. Some were having meals, others were just drinking but everyone was gawping out of the window and taking photos.
There’s a terraced seating area with cracking views of the mirrored Hyatt Hotel and the new library in Centenary Square, but it was far too chilly to sit outside in early January.
As a one-off treat, a visit to The Cube is obligatory if you find yourself in Birmingham. Some might say it’s not the prettiest of cities, but try telling that to anyone sitting with a drink at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse as the sun sets over the Rotunda.