If you are reading this, then you are more than likely headed to Birmingham for the Birmingham Bowl…and for that, you deserve a pat on the back. As I first wrote for G&B back a few weeks ago (link article), Birmingham is not that bad of a place. Sure, most of you will opt to stay in the suburbs…and that’s OK! But for those of you who want the full Birmingham experience for a day or two, this article will be for you.
Finally, there is absolutely no way to cover every great bar/restaurant/.etc Birmingham has to offer in a short window – so if you see something here that isn’t listed, don’t think it’s not worth your time. This is just a BourbonBias approved list…your mileage may vary. Also, ranking things gets tiresome, so don’t take this as a must-do in order.
Also, and most importantly, Alabama has really weird liquor laws. There are State-ran ABC stores with prices similar to what you see in stores in SC. Then, there are independent ran stores that stay open past 8PM. But, they can charge you whatever they want. Case and point - $100 for a 1.75L of Crown Royal. Be smart and buy ahead or find a state store near your hotel.
With that said, you can bother me on twitter if you are out and about. Stay safe, have fun, and enjoy Birmingham!
Full Moon BBQ – Great local chain that has the usual staples. If you can, try the white sauce
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Full Moon Cookies (trust me) and the chopped outside pork.
Saw’s BBQ – Ok, this is hands down the best BBQ food in town. Three locations: Saw’s BBQ (Homewood – small seating), Saw’s Soul Kitchen (Avondale – very small seating), and Saw’s Juke Joint (most seating)
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Pork Cheeks n Grits, Smoked Wings.
Moe’s BBQ – Starting to become a national chain, but several locations around Birmingham. The Downtown/Lakeview location is perfect for sitting outside as they have the largest covered patio in town.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: $5 Pork Nachos, $5 Makers, $5 Smoked Wings for Happy Hour. See Also: Bushwackers with a floater of Goldschalger.
Dreamland BBQ – OK, here’s the thing. Most people think Maurice’s in Columbia is the “best” in town because that’s what most people know. Here, it’s the same thing but it’s just a tourist trap. The real one is in Tuscaloosa anyway…
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Chopped Pork, Ribs (I guess…)
Miss Myra’s BBQ – If you can find it, go. Run…don’t walk. Just shut up and get there already.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Ribs and any of the homemade pies
Highlands – If you don’t have reservations, you aren’t getting in. Sorry.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: The filet
Bottega – If you can swing it, opt for the waiting list at the Café. If you don’t have reservations at the main dining room, it’s not a big deal. The Café is great and really cool atmosphere.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Crabcakes. Hands down.
Chez FonFon – Great food, highly recommend even if you have to wait. They offer a $15 Hamburger and I’m not advocating you spend $15 on a hamburger…but if you do…this is the best $15 Hamburger in the city.
Bogue’s - Don’t ask any questions and just go here for breakfast. Order the Linebacker and eat everything.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: The Linebacker plate, with biscuits and gravy.
Mugshots – Local chain out of Mississippi that is family friendly. Strongly suggest.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Peanut Butter and Jelly Burger…but add bacon.
Silvertron Café – Little place in the Highlands part of town that is in an old TV store. Local and delicious. Never had a bad meal there.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Pecan Crusted Tilapia.
Rojo – Do you like Mexican? Do you like American? THEN THIS IS THE SPOT TO GO! See Also: Sunday Brunch if you are for some reason still in town
- BourbonBias Suggestion: The Sexy Pollo Sandwich, add avacado.
John’s City Diner – Chicken and Waffles. Pimento Cheese. Enough Said.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Chicken and Waffles.
Niki’s West – OK, it’s north of town and kind of in an industrial area but it’s the best Meat & 3 in town. It’s a cafeteria on steroids. Think the Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode but all with meats and vegetables. Every time I go through line I think MASHED POTATOES, CORN, GREEN BEANS and end up with OKRA, RICE, AND BLACK EYED PEAS. Also, the dang rolls there weigh 1/2 a pound. No Lie. Go for lunch and don’t look back.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Everything.
El Barrio – One of the first restaraunts downtown that started the North Side reinassance. You can’t get anything bad here. And the Margaritas are top notch.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Tacos Al Pastor, any custom margarita.
Bamboo on 2nd- Same thing above just with sushi and saki. It’s great!
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Everything.
Gianmarco’s – It’s a Birmingham staple for Italian food. If you can find it in Homewood, and you can get a reservation, then do it.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Veal Marsala.
Paramount – DO YOU LIKE UPSCALE BAR FOOD? DO YOU LIKE CRAFT BEERS? DO YOU LIKE ARCADE GAMES? THEN THIS BAR IS FOR YOU!
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Hot Shot Risotto Balls, Garlic Fries.
Black Market Bar & Grill – If you can get to 5 points on Wednesday night, it’s $1 drinks after 9 until close. Good luck and Godspeed.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: $1 Drinks forever
Carrigan’s – Kind of a hipster spot, but it’s got boiled peanuts as well so I really don’t know what else to tell you
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Corndogs (HAHA LSU FANS! THEY MADE A ENTRÉE FOR YOU!).
Five Points Oyster House – Great local beer and seafood spot. It’s worth your time.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Local oysters on half shell.
Rogue Tavern – Family friendly during the day. Decent bar food and beer list. Big screen TV’s and overall not a bad time.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Ahi Tuna Salad.
Courtyard 280 & Courtyard Trussville – Hands down the best hole in the wall bars in town. I could eat their wings every single day if I had to. Also, the free popcorn is absurd. 2 locations…seek them out.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Hot Honey Mustard & Garlic wings…and all the free popcorn you can eat.
Miss Fancy’s on 5th – Head over to Avondale and grab oysters and a burger at this “burger bar”.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: The El Guapo or Cheech & Chong.
Post Office Pies – Best Pizza in Birmingham. Don’t even waste your time looking at others
- BourbonBias Suggestion: The Swine Pie, side of Meatballs.
Jack Brown’s Burger Joint – Another spot in Lakeview that has an insane amount of beer and really good burgers for $6.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Jack on a Piggy Back and the Greg Brady.
- See Also: FRIED OREOS.
Babalu – Tapas…and more Tapas. If you have a big party, go here and share.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Table-made Guacamole. Splurge for the bacon…
Firebirds – Staying out in Hoover? Head over to this spot and grab dinner. May be a bit of a wait, but it’s can’t go wrong food. Think of it as Birmingham’s California Dreaming.
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Steak and Pecan Green Beans.
Tin Roof – Feeling like you need something comfortable to remind you of Columbia? Well, Tin Roof has a Birmingham location. You know what you are getting into, but it’s got OK food…
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Queso dip.
Collin’s Bar – Coolest “Bar” in the city. No menu for drinks, just tell the bartenders what you like and they will make you something unique. It’s a must visit. Also, they have the best bread pudding in the city for a snack!
Tavern on 1st – A new cocktail bar to the downtown scene.
Pale Eddie’s - 2nd Ave N location is drinks only, but goes late. Great back patio and cheap drinks
The Nick – Birmingham’s late night music. It’s a staple of the town. Go see a band and watch the sun come up. NO FOOD!
Marty’s – Same as above, but a little more of a restaurant feel. They do have food!
Good People – Hands down the best beer in the city
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Snakehandler DIPA, IPA, Pale Ale, Coffee Oatmeal Stout
Trim Tab – Very unique taproom, kind of a hipster vibe…not that there is anything wrong with that
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Pillar to Post Brown
Avondale – I’ll just say that the taproom and location is better than their beer for the most part. Just kind of average except for a few things
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Vanillaphant Porter
Cahaba Brewing – biggest and newest taproom in the city. Free games and plenty of space!
- BourbonBias Suggestion: Cahaba Blonde or Cahaba Amber
Hope y’all enjoy the game!