Up close with wine merchant Chris Connolly
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am Chris Connolly, managing director of Connollys Wine Merchants, an independent wine merchants carefully selecting and shipping wines from all over the world to Birmingham. We have been family owned and run since 1976 and are located near St Paul’s Square in the famous Jewellery Quarter and on Dovehouse Parade, Solihull.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
As a long-term cycle commuter, I am now, tragically, finding myself driving into work far too often. But 2016 will definitely see me back on my bike, dodging the traffic again. No, really…
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
Driving is tedious and frustrating, cycling is fun and sets you up for the day – so the sooner I’m back in the saddle the better!
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Connollys has been keeping Brummies well-watered since my great grandfather set up shop in what is now Supercuts on the corner of New Street and Pinfold Street. I’ve never really worked anywhere else, and in all my time here I have never known the city to be as vibrant as it is currently. There is such a buzz about the place and in terms of eating and drinking it really has been a complete transformation.
We were saddened to lose Brewsmiths recently which was always our first port of call on the coffee front but, as I write, rumours abound regarding its re-opening – so we’re keeping fingers crossed!
We are really fortunate to have Peel & Stone just around the corner which is brilliant for a sandwich or salad ‘al desko’. Alternatively, a quick stroll down to the Pickled Piglet is always to be recommended.
Why walk when you’ve got a bike? Some of my best ideas have been dreamed up as I’m cycling home at night.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I love the way that some areas of the city are totally reinventing themselves, with Digbeth being the classic example. Loads of really interesting, independent traders giving the place a completely new identity.
We’ve recently moved to Moseley so we’re a bit spoiled for decent watering holes. Being within walking distance of The Prince is actually quite dangerous!
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
The bombsite car park opposite our Livery Street store has been crying out for development ever since Herbert Manzoni took his wrecking ball to the city in the 1960s. If the current plans for the site come to fruition it will link up the city and the Jewellery Quarter and breathe life into a much neglected part of the city centre. (Fingers tightly crossed!)