Kings Heath has perhaps relished in the shadows of Moseley’s long standing reputation as a cool and bohemian part of Birmingham. But this suburb, like Moseley, also has a stunning independent scene, with unique artisan cafes, shops and restaurants.
There is one road in particular that is giving Kings Heath major admiration. It doesn’t have an attractive village feel that’s for sure, but does have lots of down to earth charm.
The scenic York Road off Kings Heath High Street, is known for housing some cool independents and two new arrivals have added to its charm. It has welcomed a cool new addition The Juke, a bar with a musical twist which opened in the cafe’s former premises in July.
The Juke offers Brummies a distinctive drinking experience. It has a 30-year-old jukebox imported from Chicago – playing 7 inch records from the 50s, 60s & 70s alongside more contemporary artists.
The Juke, a smart little bar with a striking red interior. The focal point is the jukebox – a Rock-Ola Regis 120 jukebox that has spent over 30 years in bars across the Chicago tri-state area of the USA. This gives this place its unique selling point – everyone in the bar can play DJ for the night.
The Juke’s young owners, Thomas Mee and Chelsie Eason told us: “We always thought it would be brilliant to open a bar with a proper old fashioned jukebox. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the West Midlands that has that.
“When we heard Cherry Reds was available we knew it was perfect. We found a company in the US that loans classic jukeboxes to rent us this beauty.
“To buy a Rock-Ola Regis 120 jukebox would have cost us over £10,000. Our jukebox came with lots of classic records such as The Wanderer by Dion – ones you’d expect to hear in a traditional jukebox.”
“We also bought a lot of records from Polar Bear Records up the road. We wanted to open in Kings Heath because of the incredible musical history here . But it’s been wonderful to see how having the jukebox has encouraged a community atmosphere.
“We’ve seen people who don’t know each other, strike up a conversation over the jukebox about what songs they want play and then later say good bye to each other as friends.
“You can line up as many records as you like on the jukebox – for free and we change the music selection changes every Friday. We’ll aways aim to an eclectic mix – a bit of Whitney Houston, The Beatles and the Beastie Boys.” The Juke also has an open kitchen at the front of the bar with rotating foodie residencies.
Hare and Hounds pub in Kings Heath is Perhaps one of Birmingham’s most famous independent live music venues, this grade II listed 111-year-old pub is a great place to see up and coming bands. Convening on the corner of Kings Heath High Street and York Road, it has hosted gigs from the likes of Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran and it was of course the location of UB40’s first gig way back in 1979.