Review: The 13th Note, King Street

The Merchant City is well known for its trendy “city slicker” scene around the Merchant Square. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but for those who like their bars a little more alternative, a 3 minute walk to the south will take you to this little gem.

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On the corner of King Street sits The 13th Note. This is a pub which, for all intents and purposes, looks positively shabby; the sign is dilapidated, the windows dirty and the seats are quite literally falling apart. While this kind of thing would be undesirable 3 minutes to the north, it’s entirely successful here, lending the whole place that kind of shabby chic vibe where you immediately feel at ease, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be left to yourself and no-one’s going to roll their eyes at you for moving a chair or putting your feet up.

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13th Note has a great beer selection

The interior is fairly large, with a main bar area and a specific dining area through the back. Entertainment up here comes in the form of a jukebox with the usual mix of indie rock and classic hip-hop, while if you venture downstairs to the basement venue you can watch live music almost every night of the week. This generally consists of small/medium popularity local rock/metal bands, however they also draw in the occasional touring talent so well worth keeping an eye on.

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The burgers are delicious

At the bar, you’ll find a really nice selection of ales and lagers, at around £3.50 a pint/bottle (give or take 50p). For this part of the city this is really quite reasonable, especially considering they stock a large selection of the fantastic Williams Brothers beers. A small selection of draught lagers are available, including Tennents and Staropramen. For food, the Note is strictly vegetarian, but it’s the kind of vegetarian food that will satisfy even the staunchest meat eater. The spicy vegetable burger is a joy (although nowhere near spicy enough), the falafel burger has a great consistency and wonderful flavour, and the Mezethes Board (a selection of falafel, hummus, flatbread, cous cous and more) is a joy to share with friends over a couple of beers. The fries which come with the burgers almost steal the show; beautifully seasoned, stick thin and crispy – they’re always a joy. For what is primarily a bar, the menu actually has a great selection of food including a lot of South-East Asian treats such as Sri Lankan Curry, and Pad Thai Noodles.

The 13th Note’s central location, quality beers, reasonable prices and super chilled-out atmosphere makes it the perfect tonic after a long day in the office. If you’ve never made your way down, do yourself a favour!

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