In a perfect world, it’s September and the weather is beginning to cool. Perhaps you get to enjoy a Barons ball game at Regions Field. Post game, full of peanuts and pretzels, you step across the street to the first stop on the bar tour of Birmingham. While Birmingham is best known for dive bars, the cocktail and beer scene has been thriving for quite some time. The key to drinking your way through our city is to realize that you can stay out as late as you’d like or call it early and pick back up with great brunch drinking the next day.
1/ Good People Brewery (114 14th St S.) Started in 2008, Good People is the first brewery for Bhm. They specialize in English style beers. Best known for their double IPA called Snakehandler, their beers are a stupendous start for a day of drinking across the city. Maybe you don’t have more than one Snake if you want to maintain thru the night?
2/ Collins Bar (2125 2nd Ave N.) The Collins bar named for owner Andrew Collins opened in 2013. This bespoke cocktail bar is the kind of joint that doesn’t have a menu but instead you have a conversation with your barman to help create the perfect cocktail tailored just for you. They have a pretty deep Whisk(E)y and Rum selection so asking for a brown, bitter, and stirred drink is the way to go here.
3/ El Barrio (2211 2nd Ave N.) If you’re feeling peckish, one block from Collins is El Barrio. Self described as a restaurant “Inspired by multi-regional Mexican cuisine, urban design and locally sourced ingredients”, El Barrio is a great example of the city’s people influencing the food. They also have a pretty extensive Agave selection, so you won’t go thirsty while you’re enjoying a taco or three.
4/ Saturn (200 41st St S.) A short ride from downtown to Avondale takes us to Saturn. Opened in 2015, this live music venue also houses a great coffee shop during the day and cocktail bar at night. Steva Casey (the author of this post) is the bar manager and you can find her behind the quartz most nights. The space theme comes from the owner, Brian Teasley’s love of all things NASA, Sun Ra, and nerd related. Steva has utilized these overarching themes to create a fun, approachable list of cocktails which change seasonally. While you’re enjoying a Rocket Booster slushy, Honeysuckle Vodka/Campari/TANG, check to see who’s playing in the venue. Is it Dinosaur Jr or Beach House? Maybe. They’ve both played there to sold out crowds.
5/ Hot Diggity Dogs (430 41st St S.) It’s time for a hot dog intermezzo. Bhm is a city built on steel production and as such, has a pretty large immigrant population. The second generation of these immigrants started most of the city’s restaurants. The majority of those first restaurants begun by the Greeks were hot dog stands. It seems only fitting to enjoy one on your jaunt around the city. If you find yourself looking at a TARDIS replica in the back of the hot dog shop, you might step inside and find out if it is truly bigger on the inside. And while you might not find a Doctor, you might find a speakeasy tucked away.
6/ Dave’s Pub (1128 20th St S.) Take a short ride to the Southside area and you’ll find Dave’s Pub. Dave’s opened in 1994. Run by Larry “Mudd” Townley, self described beer and whiskey nerd, Dave’s boasts a pretty eclectic beer and spirits selection. Each night is different but their karaoke night is one of the best around. The sidewalk patio is perfect for people watching on the Southside. Let Mudd choose a weird beer for you to enjoy.
7/ Marty’s PM (1813 10th Ct S.) You’ve made it this far. It’s dive bar time. Bhm has a rich musical history and Marty’s is one of the best examples of late night music clubs. Started in the early 90’s by Marty Eagle, Marty’s quickly became the industry bar because of it’s late night food and even later hours. Marty passed away a few years ago and the bar was bought by a couple, Phil and Marsha Mims (PM), who have kept the legacy of this really special bar going. Closing at 6am means that everyone knows they will definitely be open when you get off work. Beers and fried bologna sandwiches are the go to here. The patty melt known affectionately by service industry kids as “party melt” has saved many a night.
If you’re still kicking after a party melt and a beer, The Nick (2514 10th Ave S,) is always open. Possibly one of the dirtiest dive bars that you’ve ever been to, the service is exceptional and the beer is cold.
Do you have any bars in Birmingham to add to our list? Comment below.
Note: As with all Bar Hops, we are not encouraging getting inebriated. This is a list of great bars that we suggest visiting while in Birmingham. We want you to have fun and play safe. Check out How to Do a Good Bar Hop for some hot tips.