Sadler’s have been part of my drinking repertoire since 2006 when the brewing dynasty of 150 years opened The Windsor Castle on Lye Cross, close to where I use to drink at The Shovel. They were, to my knowledge, the first micro brewery in the area, well before micro breweries were trendy. Since then they’ve moved operations over the road to Sadler’s Brewhouse and Bar with very significant expansion of operations. It’s still very much run from its Black Country site by fifth generation brewer Chris Sadler, who produces beers for venues across the country including three of their own; the brewhouse in Lye, a tap room in Quinton, and happily for us a new venue very close to us, Brewer’s Social Harborne.
Just after opening night we were popping in to the new Brewer’s Social Harborne for dinner and drinks and ended up with free food courtesy of us being major fanboys of the brand. The odd freebie doesn’t change our opinion on somewhere, and you can see our reciprocity promise here.
Prior to the September opening of the venue in the middle of my local High Street, Sadler’s had been operating a pop-up bar on the site serving their ales and lagers and it became our go-to meeting place with friends for Friday night beers. It was rough and ready, but extremely friendly and inviting, so we were nervous of them overhauling it in case it lost its charm. Safe to say it has not. The staff are just as warm, and just as proud of the venue as previously.
The refurbishment has seen the first floor turned in to seating for dining. Windows have been covered with geometric detailing matching the modern wooden panelling, giving the space a cosy feel without it being overcrowded. Downstairs feels high end brasserie, with leather booths, dark woods, and bright metals, softened by an interior floral installation that spans half the ground floor ceiling. Geometric designs on floors and walls echo in the Chesterfield buttoning of the booths, bringing a real modern feel to the space.
Open all-day every day for food and drinks (last food at 9.30pm, with dishes from around £10) the venue offers menus for all-day for single course dining. We shared four dishes on our table, all substantial, but for me the star was the fried crispy chicken with waffles (£13.95). The crumb on the chicken was spicy and the meat succulent, drizzled with spicy sweet sriracha maple chili syrup, and dressed with soft waffles and candied smoked bacon. This came together as a great dish with layers of sweet and spicy flavours, and interesting textures.
The half kilo of chicken wings (£8.95) were golden and the soy ginger dressing punchy and bright. We also tried the full rack of ribs (£19.95) with sides of beans, coleslaw, and corn on the cob, with great spice throughout. The ribs were smokey and served with crisp seasoned cajun fries. Finally we shared the small truffle mac ’n’ cheese (£7.95) which is a real success; the earthy truffle notes complimenting the mushrooms and the light but very flavourful cheese sauce which showed great restraint. The aromatic garlic toasts served with this provided crunch against the al dente pasta.
We were drinking Estrella, Sadler’s IPA, and Sadler’s Rhubarb Cider, but there is a nice looking wine list (Picpoul de Pinet, anyone?) and an extensive spirits collection.
Well done to the Sadler’s team, it’s an excellent makeover and a venue we’ll be sure to use often.