The greater Birmingham area has plenty to see and do after your meetings. Several entertainment districts around have clusters of restaurants, nightspots and breweries that invite visitors to investigate and enjoy. Here are just a few:
Adjacent to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, UPTOWN is a district that attracts locals and convention visitors to enjoy a variety of restaurants. Texas de Brazil, Cantina Laredo, Todd English P.U.B. and The Southern Kitchen & Bar are just the beginning. Other eateries and bars serve up everything from gourmet burgers and pizza to custom cocktails and fresh-roasted coffee. Convention guests like the convenience of the district to their meeting and lodging facilities. Locals like the conviviality of the crowd and the ease of moving from one location to the next. Just down the street from UPTOWN is Topgolf, one of the city’s newest entertainment attractions. Topgolf has 100-plus climate-controlled hitting bays, a full-service restaurant, private event space and bars.
This entertainment district is popular for its historic personality, inviting restaurants and hot nightspots. Avondale guests enjoy interesting local brews in taprooms at Avondale Brewing and Cahaba Brewing companies. Oysters and gourmet burgers are a big hit at Fancy’s on 5th, or grab a hotdog called The Motherload at Hot Diggity Dogs. When you finish up there, enter the telephone booth in the rear, and ring up the speakeasy next door. The Marble Ring is a trip back in time with the glam of the 1920s and new twists on old school drinks. Avondale Common House is a relaxing place to enjoy a meal on the covered patio. Next door is Post Office Pies—yes, a pizzeria in the old Avondale Post Office. One of the most popular places in the district is Saw’s Soul Kitchen, where the signature item is pork, grits and greens topped with onion rings.
Another historic district, Lakeview is always hopping with diners and nightspot-goers. One of the big draws is Slice, a locally-owned pizzeria serving up great pies with plenty of local beers. Also in the district is Babalu, specializing in tapas and tacos. Next door is Sky Castle, a former radio studio now turned eatery. The blocks also house Hattie B’s Chicken and Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. Live music is regularly going down at Oasis Bar, for the mature crowd, and the Tin Roof, for a younger set. Lakeview covers a lot of territory. Around the Pepper Place region visitors will find Ovenbird, an upscale restaurant where Chef Chris Hastings focuses on seasonal ingredients in small plate formats. Pepper Place—yes, an old Dr. Pepper bottling plant—also houses Bettola, Cantina and, for those who love live theater, Terrific New Theater.
Five streets radiating from the center of this district house an assembly of dining rooms. The most well-known and revered is Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham’s most famous restaurant. Here, Chef Frank Stitt oversees the culinary talents of an exceptional staff. This dining room is repeatedly nominated as the nation’s most outstanding restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Next door is the equally impressive Chez Fonfon, also owned and overseen by Chef Stitt. Down the street is another James Beard honoree, Jim ‘N Nicks B-B-Que Restaurant. Next door to them is Surin West with very good sushi and authentic Thai cuisine. Ocean, serving wonderfully fresh seafood, is just up the next street, along with its little sister, Five Point Public House Oyster Bar.
In the nearby Highland Avenue area, enjoy Bottega Café and Bottega Dining Room. A block over is another of Chef Chris Hastings’s dining rooms, Hot and Hot Fish Club, with a contemporary approach to blending French, Southern and California-styles of cooking. Gallery & Garden, just across the street, is noted for its wonderful Sunday brunch with Southern influences. Wind around the Highland Avenue parks for dinner at Rojo, where guests find Latin and American food in a casual atmosphere, and live theater at Virginia Samford Theater.
Part of the charm of Café Dupont is its setting in an 1870s renovated store in the heart of downtown. Chef/Owner Chris Dupont, like others, relies on locally-grown produce for preparing top quality cuisine. Along downtown’s 2nd Avenue North are notable bars like Rogue Tavern and Pale Eddie’s Pour House. El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar on 2nd is another good choice for Sunday brunch or any other meal. Some say the best breakfast in town is at Trattoria Centrale. Late night revelers like to wind down at Paramount, specializing in cocktails, vintage video games and really good grub. A downtown Birmingham tradition is The Fish Market, where fresh seafood gets a heavy Greek influence.
Guests meeting at hotel properties along Highway 280 are close to a variety of good restaurants at The Summit shopping center. P.F. Chang’s, Macaroni Grille and Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar are just a few tenants of The Summit. Perry’s Steak House, Pappadeaux and Bonefish Grill are other restaurants popular with locals and visitors alike.
In nearby Cahaba Heights is locally owned Food Bar where Chef George McMillan serves food that’s not pretentious, just delicious. Another local culinary talent, Chef Jon Holland, prepares fresh food dedicated to rich Southern culture with a touch of fine dining at Fig Tree Café.