Over the coming months we’ll be showcasing our members. This month, we introduce Grapevine Birmingham, an alternative What's On guide.
Name: Grapevine Birmingham
Industry: Destination marketing – an alternative guide to the city
Workspace: Shared office
Team: Nick Byng, freelancers and reviewers
Biggest weakness: Guinness
Not just your average visitor guide
If you are looking for a unique day out in the city, then Grapevine Birmingham
should be your first port of call.
Born out of a conversation over a pint in 2012, Grapevine Birmingham was created in answer to the desperate need for a local guide to the city. Not only that, but signposting visitors and locals alike to the hidden gems that Birmingham has to offer.
The guide began as a place for Grapevine Birmingham’s owner, Nick, to express his love of music and publicise upcoming gigs in Birmingham, a natural move for Nick who spent his teenage years working with Black Sabbath and The Charlatans, subsequently pursuing his own dance music and DJ career. However, fast forward to 2019 and his original idea has expanded into covering the plentiful selection of cocktail bars, cafes, real ale pubs and restaurants around the city.
Creating Grapevine Birmingham has been a labour of love stemming from Nick’s desire to give Birmingham a voice and in 2016 made the decision to set out on his own, taking the leap to go full-time to help make his vision a reality.
Coupling the very best that the city has to offer in terms of music and food, Nick and his team of reviewers make it their mission to ensure visitors to the city know exactly where to go.
Alpha Works – an alternative home
After previously working in office spaces that lacked the collaborative feel and the central location, Alpha Works felt like a natural base for Grapevine Birmingham.
The iconic Alpha Tower has become the ultimate home from home for the visitor guide, and one that has significant meaning for Nick, who used to frequent a nightclub which was situated underneath the building and closed in the 1990’s.
Furthermore, the unrivalled views across the city provide the perfect inspiration, while the communal coffee machine is a great place to pick up on snippets of the latest Birmingham news.
Whilst running your own business has many benefits, isolation can be a problem. For Nick, Alpha Works offers the human interaction and social aspects that being in an office provides, along with the flexibility he needs - whether that’s a quiet space to focus on a project or a buzzy coworking area to bounce ideas off likeminded peers. Furthermore, the 24/7 access gives Nick the opportunity to take advantage of the quiet times on Saturdays and plan for the week ahead.
The range of options at Alpha Works also means that when clients come for meetings it provides a professional atmosphere that really impresses - an element that Nick believes has strengthened his business proposition even further.
Other than being able to see many of the great places that Birmingham has to offer from the window, Nick’s favourite thing about Alpha Works is the supportive atmosphere. Without that warmth, he would not be as happy to come to work as he is. The stunning views are also a bonus!
2019 promises to be an exciting year for Grapevine Birmingham, with a lot in the pipeline, including the possibility of an app in collaboration with another Alpha Works member, which would allow people to access the information Grapevine Birmingham has to offer on the go.
Why just focus on Birmingham? Nick has plans to expand Grapevine London further, a project that is currently in its infancy. Although, his heart will always belong to Birmingham!