Old-fashioned through and through and utterly devoid of pretension, The Wellington is famous throughout the city as an ale drinkers’ paradise. This buzzing Birmingham staple can be found at the top of Bennet’s Hill and has possibly the best selection of craft ales and ciders in the whole city.
The Church Inn
The Church on Great Hampton Street draws its inspiration from the American south, setting it apart from the majority of Birmingham boozers. The emphasis is on slowing things down and taking it easy, resulting in a great place to chill out and enjoy some excellent soul food or sample the American influenced cocktail menu.
This contemporary drinking hole feels like someone took a great pub from a rural village and stuck it on High Street. It may be one of Birmingham’s trendier spots, with up-to-date wood and brick décor, but it feels warm and welcoming. Food is more adventurous than the usual pub fare, with regular pop-ups from local street food favourites, excellent brunch options and top-notch flat whites. The outside deck is the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon.
The Spotted Dog
The Spotted Dog is one of Birmingham’s true oddities, in the best possible way. What looks to all intents and purposes to be another traditional pub is really one of the best places to catch live blues, jazz and Irish folk. And then there’s the famous beer garden, a veritable brick-a-brack wonderland.
If you’re going to name your bar after the Roman god of wine, you’d better have some good drinks up your sleeve. Luckily Bacchus has more than just that to offer. Famous around the city for its gins and cask ales, Bacchus can be found underneath Burlington Arcade, its vaulted ceilings lending the pub an atmosphere and appearance that will impress any visitor.
Hare & Hounds
Of all Birmingham’s pubs, none is more synonymous with the city’s music heritage. Hare & Hounds is one of the finest music venues in the city and was the site of UB40’s first ever gig (it even has the plaque to prove it). More recently, its stage has hosted some of the best British talent, from Alt-J to Ed Sheeran. The Grade II listed exterior juxtaposes nicely with the eclectic interior.
Another one for the craft ale fans; Cherry Reds’ list of bottled beers from all over the globe is nothing if not extensive. During the day, this is the kind of café where you can easily lose a few hours, while the later hours are perfect for relaxing with one of the aforementioned ales, or a glass of wine from their excellent list. The initial Cherry Reds in Kings Heath was such a hit that they’ve now opened a second spot on John Bright Street.