A group of Birmingham’s bartenders have joined forces to help keep Jewellery Quarter bar 40 St Pauls open after its owner Amanjot Singh Johal broke his ankle and faced a prolonged period unable to work.
Reaching out to fellow local bartenders and owners, he was greeted with a flurry of support, with the community pledging its time to put on takeover events to help keep the cocktail bar open.
Each weekend will have its own theme and will showcase the bartenders – and their bars - stepping behind the stick.
The goal is to make the series of events feel like a festival of the Birmingham bar scene, showcasing its talent.
According to the 40 St Paul’s owner, hundreds of people in the Birmingham bar scene responded privately and publicly offering to help with everything from glass collecting to three-day takeovers.
Johal said: “Having barely survived the pandemic I was looking forward to a more stable year in 2022 before breaking my ankle, which proved to be a traumatic experience that nearly closed my business. Sadly, my ankle never healed properly and I’m about to have a second operation, meaning eight weeks in a wheelchair or on crutches.
“It’s a truly wonderful thing for a community to come together to help one of their own in need, but especially an industry that has been battered and bruised by so many of the challenges we face at the moment.”
“These are all independent business owners who care about making the city a better place. I cannot thank them enough for stepping up for me."
The first event saw The Gintleman’s Carl Hawkins offering tastings combing gin cocktails with storytelling while in the coming weeks guests can expect takeovers from the likes of Passing Fancies, plus shifts from local drinks figures such as Toby Heap and Julian Rose-Gibbs.
This weekend Rose-Gibbs showcases his favourite cocktails spanning his career as a bartender in Birmingham.
Tommy Matthews, who co-owns Passing Fancies in Digbeth, added: “At Passing Fancies we have community at the heart of what we do. When Amanjot asked for help it was a no-brainer we’d support him during this tough time.
“As an industry, the more we work together the more we thrive. We approached other local hospitality professionals with the aim of turning a negative into a positive. Birmingham responded with overwhelming kindness, and the upcoming pop ups and events will help turn a sad situation into something great for the city.”
Events and updates can be found on the 40 St Paul’s Instagram page.