If newspapers are to be believed, more people are leaving London and moving it to Birmingham than any other city.
Wholesale relocation, for most, might be a step too far, but perhaps 48 hours in the nation's second city is more doable?
SEE ALSO: 48 Hours In... Newcastle
Local e-magazine, I Choose Birmingham, told us how best to spend two days in Brum's bosom. And now they're going to tell YOU in five... four.. three...
SLEEP: Saint Paul's House
Situated slap-bang on Brum's most leafy of squares and just north of the city centre (it's easily walkable from the nightlife hotspots) Saint Paul's House is the right amount boutique without losing sight of a full 24-hour service. In summer they have a beer garden, in winter it's a light-filled conservatory, and the food is first rate. Oh and we put a lot of stock in a good shower, and these showers are waterfalls, just as they should be.
Putting out serious flat whites and avo-related brunches before either were a thing, head directly to Yorks' Stephenson Street HQ and roastery — it's less than a minute from New Street station and covers the whole spectrum of need: from health kick to excellently excessive. Falling between both camps, the team's Arabian Eggs (£7.50) are worth taking a swerve from your usual order for. Like the rest of the menu, the labneh-ladened, garlicy Middle Eastern plate is served all weekend, and until after lunch in the week.
DINNER: The Wilderness
Brummies are rightly proud of the plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, but championing those that don't need it often takes the focus away from where the real foodie frenzy lies — the venues who are fighting for our next star. The Wilderness is run by chef Alex Claridge, a wildcard cook who just about lands on the right side of the genius/madness divide. The menu changes at the speed a which Claridge gets bored (often) and the seasons change (less often), but if you find ants on your plate, don't be overly surprised. Book in advance.
COCKTAIL: The Edgbaston
In February the multi-award winning team at The Edgbaston launched their new, Birmingham-inspired cocktail menu and the city went rightly doolally. Hobbits in Manhattan — Tolkien grew up in Brum — features Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Guinness Byrrh and cherry brandy, and might be the pick of those new tipples, but their classic Old Fashioned will knock you clean out of your sneakers. Perhaps not literally.
PUB: Purecraft Bar & Kitchen
An old man boozer this is ain't. The Birmingham outpost for Purity, the region's best brewery, PBK has hands down the city's most exciting selection of beer. Our personal favourite is a hoppy IPA called Longhorn that'll creep right up on you if you're not careful, but if you're dining with a partner there's an astonishing wine bottle-sized sharer by the name of Sorachi Ace. Brewed in Brooklyn expect bags of citrus and none of the sting you'd expect from a 7.6% abv. Purecraft are also purveyors of some of the best pub snacks and dinners in town. The mustard will make your nose hurt.
If you've followed our lead on accommodation then you're sleeping in Brum's beautiful Jewellery Quarter and your neighbourhood barber just happens to be one of the best in the city. Barberology is a buzzy, relaxed and super-smart grooming goldmine, with good drinks and skilled staff — ask for Tom if you want to go to our guy. Out back they also have a hair removal service and without going into too much detail it was almost painless and has now become part of our bi-monthly routine. Avoid at peak times.
SHOPPING: The Mailbox
You know shopping centres that don't have roofs? No, probably not, but it wasn't until relatively recently that The Mailbox didn't have rain cover. Odd, right? When one bright spark decided this luxury destination could probably do with shelter it unleashed a new lease of life in the former Royal Mail sorting office. Now home to Paul Smith, Armani Collezioni, Boss, Gieves & Hawkes, Harvey Nics and Hilfiger, you can grab a bite from Tom's Kitchen, cocktails from local indy success story Gas Street Social (try the Socialite) and a movie at the Everyman. But don't go and see a movie, you've got a city to explore...
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