Pubs, bars, wine cellars--whatever you call them, Birmingham certainly has places to drink and quality places at that! So how to know where to go?
Best place to start the night:
-J. Clyde- Whether in a pair or with a group, the J.Clyde is the best place to start any night on the town, in part because of its large outdoor patio complete with flat-screen TV's and heaters (for those chillier Birmingham nights), partly for its excellent food and alcohol menu. Drinkers beware though, if you're not one for beer, this is not your place. Moreover, do not plan to hit the Clyde if you're going to request 'Bud'; the Clyde's selling point is also its downside. With a menu of 100+ beers, the J. Clyde is known for specializing in microbrews and imported brands. And although your humble author has not tried the dinner menu first hand, the Clyde's reputation is known city-wide!
Best place to end the night:
Tie--Marty's; Bourbon Street
-Marty's Bar- Located near University of Alabama at Birmingham campus, Marty's unassuming exterior betrays the motley group you can find there any night of the week. And what better way to end the night then unique acoustic performers whose stories are as colorful as their songs? How about a delicious patty melt? Many would argue that Marty's has the best in town...
-Bourbon Street- It's late at night, you've been all over town, but you and your friends are not ready to go home yet. Where to go? Definitely here, where Karaoke continues well into the wee hours of the morning and the bar is always packed with people still wanting to have a good time. Adding to the fun atmosphere and friendly folk, are their specialty sized drinks served in jars and known locally as the 'Baby' and 'Primi,' for larger and smaller sizes respectively.
Best bar with a view: Above
-Above- Atop the Redmont Hotel, Above serves as the city's only rooftop bar with a unique view of Birmingham and a distinctly different feel to any other bar you'll get locally. Although the interior bar is a little small, the venue features different DJ's nightly and special events held frequently. The bar is a little more upscale than most but the view is almost justification alone, if not for the friendly personnel.
Most unique bar: Bottletree
-Bottletree- If for the variety alone, Botteltree is hands down Birmingham's most unique bar. Although long a hipster favorite, the bar features musical acts of different genres almost every night of the week and brings in a very eclectic crowd with no telling who (or what) you're going to encounter upon entrance. With a fully-stocked bar, stage, and spacious patio area, bottletree is enjoyable no matter what night you go.
Best bar for young professionals: Rogue Tavern
-Rogue Tavern- Ok, ok...this one may be cheating a little bit since it serves in large part as a restaurant--voted Birmingham's "Best New Restaurant" in 2009 in fact. Never the less, with comfortable couch seating and a large sit-down bar, this is one of the more popular spots for young professionals out on the town. Any night of the week, you will find a sociable crowd of professionals in their late 20's and early 30's. A good place to eat, good place to drink, just a nice venue overall.
Parkside Café, Steel, Speakeasy
-Parkside- One of the area's newest bars located in Avondale, Parkside is quickly becoming a favorite among hipsters and young professionals alike. Ecletic décor and friendly atmosphere make this a nice place to meet new people.
-Steel- Given a more industrial look, this bar is popular as a jumping off point for those headed to the Zen nightclub or Above. Still, with multiple flat screen TV's in the bar, a wide-range of alcohols available, and a very friendly staff, an enticing bar none the less. They also hold a popular trivia game every Tuesday night at 8PM with free pizza and $100 bar tab up for grabs.
-Speakeasy- A nice throwback to the Prohibition era, this bar has some attractive décor and friendly bartenders. They also have a pool table and dartboard available. Although not the best place for live performances, it doesn't hurt that the bar is across the street from the Alabama Theater, meaning you can always have a few drinks before the big show...