We pick the best of Birmingham's many brilliant bars
Birmingham, or Brum to locals, has thrown off its industrial past to become a popular party destination, with everything from swanky cocktail bars to grungy warehouse clubs. Looking for things to do at night while staying in Birmingham? Look no further – here’s everything you need to know about those infamous Birmingham bars.
While the ubiquitous tiki bar can be found almost anywhere, it’s rare that it’s actually cool and not just kitsch. However, the team at Island Bar in central Birmingham certainly have the secret as it was voted one of the top 50 bars in the UK by the Independent. As you’d expect, rum is the poison of choice here, with over 50 varieties from all around the world. Island Bar calls itself a ‘tropical cocktail paradise’ and after one sip of their signature Mai Tai, you’ll feel like you’re in Caribbean heaven. It’s always busy, but if you can’t grab a seat, you can always head over to the sister venues The Victoria or Bodega.
The Jekyll and Hyde
If gin is your thing, then do yourself a favour and get over to The Jekyll and Hyde. Don’t be fooled by appearances – the bright purple bar is tucked away between old law courts and a hospital, but the interior more than makes up for its unglamorous entrance. The bar is divided into two – Mr Hyde is downstairs and decorated like an old Victorian pub, while upstairs Dr Jekyll gets a bit crazy with an opulent parlour which stocks over 80 different gins. Quirky and eclectic, you’ll be served cocktails in miniature baths, tea cups or watering cans. Book in for an alcoholic afternoon tea party with mini sandwiches and cakes, take a gin cocktail masterclass, or enjoy a seasonal menu in the Alice in Wonderland themed courtyard.
Consider yourself a bit of a wine connoisseur? Whether you know your Chablis from your Chardonnay, or simply just enjoy good vino, Loki Wine is undoubtedly one of the best wine spots in Birmingham. Located opposite Snow Hill Station, Loki Wine is both a fine wine merchant and a cute little wine bar with bottles from all around the world available at very affordable prices. Everything has been hand-picked by owner Phil Innes, who lets you generously try before you buy with his special luxury wine vending machine. After you’ve chosen your drop, you can take your new purchase upstairs to the seating room where you can enjoy a quiet drink overlooking the lovely Great Western Arcade.
Suds & Duds
Who doesn’t love a secret speakeasy bar? Suds & Duds is your average laundromat by day but transforms into a hidden back bar come nightfall. Funk, soul, Motown, blues and rock provide the perfect backdrop to the extensive menu of mojitos, champagne sparklers and an old school 1920s iced tea service. There’s also food and snacks, such as potato skins, chicken wings and hot dogs, as well as burgers, salads and pasta.
Birmingham nightlife is becoming legendary, known for underground raves and factory parties. The Rainbow is a staple on the Digbeth club scene and is one of the UK’s most unique live music venues, with lots of exposed brick, cool street art and a huge cavernous club space. There are actually 11 different parts to the Rainbow venue – 119 is an old Victorian warehouse that hosts exhibitions and art installations, the Cellar Door often has rock and indie gigs, Spotlight is a popular after work spot serving food and drinks, the Blackbox is an all-consuming, all-night club and the Roof Terrace is perfect for balmy summer nights. Now, who’s ready for a drink?