Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published June 21st 2015
Cauldron of Designer Cocktails at Swanky Mailbox Bar
The new Aluna cocktail bar is a sophisticated haven within the lively Mailbox complex in Birmingham. It's also a fun addition to Birmingham's nightlife scene with cocktails that are literally smoking and an angel looking over you.
Glamorous cocktails at Aluna Bar in the Mailbox
Aluna has a wonderful position, especially for summer, on the water's edge at the back of the Mailbox. It's on the lower floor terrace, in the shadow of the Cube to its left and the Mailbox's rear exit to its right, and a few doors down from Côte brasserie.
Plush velvet seating fill the glamorous bar and grill, while a long bar runs along one side. That's where the cocktail magic happens.
Then there is the 'Aluna Angel', which was one of the big promotions leading up to of the opening of the new bar in June 2015. It consists of a pair of golden wings attached to the wall and clever lighting, so when you are photographed (or take a selfie) between the wings, it makes even the most sinful of us look like an angel.
The cocktail range is substantial from classics like a Margherita or Cosmopolitan to new adventurous drinks with an Aluna twist. The playful drinks menu offers concoctions 'From The Cauldron' or 'Vaccines & Potions' and 'Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble'.
There are jugs to share, like the Asian Infusion - an Asian influenced gin drink that smokes before your eyes, or for the sweet- toothed, there's individual drinks like Apple Pie, featuring vodka and butterscotch schnapps with floating spheres of 'apple caviar'. Or along the same lines, maybe you would prefer the Marshmallow Daiquiri?
Some of the cocktails that are literally smoking on the table
Cocktail prices are fairly priced ranging from £4.50 to £8.95, which is slightly lower than cocktails at similarly swanky bars such as Hotel du Vin or Malmaison. Aluna also offers the same stylish atmosphere with high quality mixologists.
In terms of the food, it serves the usual classic fare with burgers, fish and chips, pasta or goats cheese tartlets and the like on the menu. There's plenty of choice for vegetarians too.
There are also sharers like Nachos or chicken wings for those who want to grab a snack during a night out. Prices are at the upper end of the market though with large sharer Volcano Nachos priced at £14,95 and most main courses around £10.95.
A plush, luxurious interior at Aluna cocktail bar in Birmingham
Part of the appeal isn't just the food and drinks though, it's also the luxurious sheen and surroundings in the venue. The walls are lined with picture frames, full of glistening artefacts, and the whole room is decorated in sumptuous, rich colours. There's also chandeliers dripping down from the ceiling.
The colour scheme will make it a warm haven in winter and autumn, but the terrace next to the canal basin is perfect for summer drinks al fresco too.
A lively vibe in Aluna
Described as a place to "escape the mainstream mass market" it has been designed to be eccentric and eclectic, and does manage to pull that off with its unique pieces of intriguing decor dotted around the room.
The Mailbox has become a central hub for dining and nightlife in the city and Aluna will only add to that, offering a charming spot for a designer cocktail and a touch of extravagance.