The 52-year-old building is finally opening its doors once again.
With further restrictions expected to be eased this month, one well-known Birmingham drinking hole is bringing some good news too. The iconic pub and alternative music venue, The Flapper, has announced that it will be reopening its doors in July after being saved from demolition thanks to public support and Birmingham City Council.
Renowned for its canal side location, live music and events, The Flapper was a well-loved Birmingham independent until it closed in January 2020 – seemingly for good. With plans to turn the space into flats, the pub was destined to be bulldozed before being brought back from the brink.
Owner Samantha Campbell-Whyte said: “When The Flapper closed her doors in January 2020 everyone thought that was it, that the venue would never open again. I’m thrilled to say that’s not the case. The resurrection of The Flapper is so important for independent bars and grass-root music venues, as it shows that not all sites earmarked for demolition actually go ahead.
“Since The Flapper was saved from demolition we’ve been in talks with the landlord about her future. The pandemic hit and the brakes were applied – it was touch and go for while. But now, after months of much needed renovations and conversations, we are looking to re-open in July.
“In short, I could never really let go of The Flapper. I love the venue too much; she means everything to me. Now she’s back I’m making sure she never faces any threat ever again. The business is still family run, with the added bonus of my husband, Noel, joining the team. We’re just so excited to open the doors and serve Birmingham and beyond again with great drinks, great music and great live shows.”
The Flapper is planning to reopen its doors on July 21, shortly after the next step of the government’s roadmap in exiting lockdown, and the pub will be family-run “by Brummies for Brummies.” Originally built in 1969, the pub was called The Longboat before being taken over by The Firkin brewery in the 90s and named Flapper and Firkin. In 2007, Sam took over the business and the venue became known simply as ‘The Flapper’.
The pub has undergone extensive building renovations and customers can expect fresh paintwork with a brand new colour scheme, updated bars and wooden floors, and new lighting. The large canal-side beer garden has been refreshed, too, with new tables, more plants and extra lighting. You’ll still find the famous Grade II listed crane by the water and a vast balcony overlooking the Cambrian Wharf basin.
Sam said: “We think The Flapper’s new look will be well received – she’s having a little facelift inside, but still remains the same rock and roll venue that people know and love. Work will be on-going over the summer months to improve and update the beer garden further, and we have big plans for our kitchen and gig venue downstairs over the coming year.”
The Kingston Row pub hopes to return to hosting live events in their gig room by October this year, including local talent as well as more established acts. The venue will remain free entry- except for larger events and gigs – as it always has been, and The Flapper team cannot wait to have bands back and making these shows accessible to as many people as possible.
The owner of The Flapper added: “We want the word spread far and wide that The Flapper is opening and it will business as usual – live music, DJ’s, affordable food and drinks, all in a safe, welcoming venue for everyone. The building has faced threats of demolition on and off for 10 years and our main objective now is to really promote that the venue is back for good and the threat has gone.
“The voices of all those that protested to Birmingham City Council that The Flapper should not be demolished were immense and a massive factor in saving the building. Along with the council recognising the importance of the venue – on all its levels – and respecting the area and its residents. It’s exciting that another amazing Birmingham independent is back alongside all the other amazing venues this city has to offer. It’s been blood, sweat and literal tears to get to this point, but we’re so excited to give her the welcome home she deserves.”
The Flapper, Kingston Row, Cambrian Wharf, B1 2NU