Carnival time at the Cuban Embassy in Moseley

Carnival time at the Cuban Embassy in Moseley

Live music, exciting food and fantastic cocktails are at the heart of the new Cuban Embassy in south Birmingham

When licensee Nick Rendall took over the Bull’s Head pub in fashionable Moseley, he knew he wanted to rebrand it and was inspired by his travels in Cuba.

“I wanted it to be an informal, fun, party place. I imagine cocktails, dancing, splendid food and hot weather when I think of Latin America and Cuba. Customers are naturally intrigued by the cool theme,” says Nick.

“I had various ideas for a bar and looked at different locations. I thought a Cuban-inspired bar was a great idea for a new pub because it’s so different to what is on offer around here,” he adds.

Revolutionary recipes

The pub’s menu features tapas-style dishes with a Cuban spin, as well as some African, Latin American and Spanish influences. Although English head chef Julian Brown doesn’t specialise in Latin American food, he has worked with other chefs to create the authentic cuisine.

The menu changes slightly everyd ay and the bar offers delicious breakfasts and Sunday roasts with a Latin American twist. The bar offers authentic Columbian coffee, which is roasted in England by artisan blenders UE Coffee Roasters. Around 20% of the Cuban Embassy’s sales are currently from food, but Nick expects this to increase to around 40%.

“The bar has hit its targets from day one and management has revised its targets upwards. The demand is strong. The weekends are very busy,” says Nick.

“We’ve had to turn down bookings for meals because there’s not enough space. There was lots of demand for Christmas parties. We had to say no to some large bookings because we just couldn’t fit them in.”

Latin American live music

The Cuban Embassy first opened its doors in November 2015 and is open from 10am until late everyday except Sunday.

“People come here for great evenings out,” says Nick. “I know the area well, as I lived here for years. I am confident it [the new concept] will work. It’s a very well known pub locally.”

The bar hosts live music six nights a week and is starting a Monday night salsa event. “We offer customers a place to come early to eat, enjoy cocktails and stay until 2am to listen to live music and dance,” says Nick. “Everyone knows if they want live music, they can come here and it’s on six nights a week – it’s an integral reason that people visit the bar.”

The venue has a house band consisting of two musicians from Columbia. During the week they perform as a duo and at the weekends local musicians are included to create a five-piece band. Their repertoire consists of Latin American music alongside some English songs that are performed in a Latin style.

“The entertainment essentially pays for itself because we have a full-time band on a contract, so their per-show cost is drastically reduced compared with a normal pub,” says Nick. “Although the total overhead is relatively high, it’s not as much as it would be to book different bands every night – and our overall sales figures are directly related to having live music on.”

Find out more at www.thecubanembassymoseley.co.uk