After making gains in the suburbs, the Lounges empire has finally taken the city centre with a branch of the ‘Cosy Club’ on Bennetts Hill. Occupying the former Midland Bank building, it’s certainly impressive: outdoing Lost & Found with its cavernous space and Victorian building kudos and with more animal heads than The Village in Moseley. In fact it’s a veritable Colmore factory – every nut and bolt in place; every inch of decor, every waistcoat and tassel, working in harmony to create its product: The Classy Night-Out Experience. Add the bar staff in chimney-sweeper dress and it’s Victorian in more sinister ways than the owners intended.
Perhaps we’re just spoilt with all the million pound ventures in this part of the city and five or so years ago would have loved the Cosy Club. Or perhaps we’re just bitter because we were told off for standing in the wrong place and, predictably, were the worst-dressed people there. But, frankly, it’s a garishly overdone, Pottery Barn luxury, an alarming pastiche of just about every kind of historic British decadence. Clearly the ethos is that more is more. In fairness, the less ostentatious Holden Room is snug and alluring, seemingly much more aligned with the brief Cosy sets itself.
The drinks menu is well-pitched and assuredly sticks to its West County roots, including two bespoke bottled ciders. Also on offer are the (decent) Lounges breakfasts and tapas – and the most hilarious ‘salad’ on Earth: “bacon, black pudding, olive oil croutons, poached egg”. Not so dependable are Lemon Drizzle Cake cocktail – cloyingly sweet, with that strange unlemony roundness of lemon vodka – and an Old Colonial Iced Tea that could have been accidentally swapped at birth with cloudy lemonade.
Cosy defines itself “quirky, eccentric and playful”. It is: just like everywhere else.
First photo courtesy of The Cosy Club