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Birmingham: A city too hip for hipsters?

Getty Images/Tim Klein

Crowd into the unassuming bar known as Bottletree on any given night of the week and you may hear one of a few different sounds. Perhaps you hear the stylings of a twangy folk singer, whose influences include Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Or maybe you hear a DJ spinning tracks that are more computer than instrument. And yet, the bar may also be filled with the sounds of deafening guitars and vocalists, what some younger people might term "Scream-O" music. Regardless of what you find, enter Bottletree and you will be at the heart of Birmingham's bourgeoning hipster community.

Hipsters are those that don fedoras, wear glasses of the 1950's Buddy Holly variety, dress as though they wish they had lived amid the days of Studio 54, or some combination of those fashion elements and more. Hipsters like bands you've never heard-of, the latest "i" products from Apple, and drink in bars you didn't know existed. Given the more conservative stylings of Birmingham's citizenry though, the hipster trend seems to be one struggling to take hold.

In New York, Chicago, or Miami on the other hand, hipsters are a dime-a-dozen (assuming you can find them of course, as hipsters like places that are popular because they're supposedly not). And the movement seems to be all the more fueled by such big-city exclusives like "H&M" clothing stores and a greater diversity of people. In Birmingham, such cornerstones of the hipster community are only slowly emerging.

At the Summit shopping complex, for example, "Urban Outfitters" only arrived a few years back, a wellspring of hipster fashion. And Birmingham radio has just now become more interesting with the addition of London, England's own DJ Coco, hosting 100.5's new show, "Sunday Night Social." For the person that wants a thrilling introduction into the hipster world though, nothing beats the only official dance party in Birmingham, "Kids Got the Disco". The party is held monthly at Bottletree and merits it's own article to be sure (stay tuned). Since it's introduction in 2008, the party has proved wildly popular and is in fact about to celebrate its two year anniversary on March 5th. Hipsters rejoice!

Yet while these trends are a start, they are coming at a snail's pace. If Birmingham is to keep up with the trends of the day, the city needs to loosen its collar a bit more and embrace its inner hipster. Hipsters, after all, are easy-going and care-free, welcoming individuality and liberation! For now, there's always Bottletree...


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