Get us in your inbox

Search
Photograph: Mama Roux's
Photograph: Mama Roux'sPhotograph: Mama Roux's

The 23 best bars in Birmingham

From New York-themed drinking dens to mead specialists and organic wine connoisseurs, here’s Birmingham's best bars

Written by
James Brennan
&
Kayleigh Watson
Advertising

While Birmingham loves a good old fashioned pub, it’s also a thriving location for an array of incredible bars. From laidback establishments to those who take a novel theme and run with it, there’s never been a better time to grab a showstopping cocktail, small-batch artisanal gin or top-notch glass of wine in the second city.

Looking for an obscure craft beer to enjoy while you play pinball? How about supping a whiskey whilst getting a fresh fade? Well, you’ve definitely hit the jackpot. From hidden speakeasies to restaurant drinking dens plus a bunch of new and exciting bars opening their doors, Birmingham has it all.  

Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.

Best bars in Birmingham

40 St Paul’s
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

Proclaimed World Gin Bar of the Year, 2019 by Gin Magazine, 40 St Paul’s proudly presents 140 of the very finest gins available to humanity. Overlooking St Paul’s Church on the last remaining Georgian square in Birmingham, it’s a cosy and intimate spot with just 24 seats, so you might want to book ahead. 

2. 1000 Trades

During the industrial revolution, Birmingham was known as ‘the city of 1,000 trades’, and this hip hangout in a listed building in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter is all about craft. From craft beers to natural organic wines, the bar is thoughtfully stocked with artisanal goodies. The same philosophy applies to the kitchen residencies, DJs and artwork adorning the exposed brick walls: everything is local, expertly crafted and proudly presented as the very best of Brum.

Advertising

A favourite of the Mailbox crowd, Aluna has established itself as the perfect post-dinner pre-party setting. It’s all in the theatricality, as the mixologists serve with relish and aplomb: whether it’s fire, smoke or a humble glow stick that takes your fancy, there is plenty of fun on the menu. While cocktails are definitely the star of the show, there is also a generous collection of wines and tasty pan-Asian cuisine should you need a nibble. 

4. Ana Rocha Bar & Gallery

When is an art gallery not an art gallery? When it’s a Spanish tapas bar, antiques showroom, luxury watch shop and cocktail bar as well. The wonderfully eccentric and slightly bonkers Ana Rocha Bar & Gallery is all things to all cultured people, and a real gem in the Jewellery Quarter. Float up its red carpet and drink it all in.

Advertising
Bacchus Bar
  • Bars and pubs

Bacchus makes the grade thanks to its sheer wackiness. It’s one of those places that’s always fun to duck into with a visiting friend, if only to watch their reaction to the extravagant décor within. The bar is tucked away on the basement floor of the Burlington Arcade, a complex of hotels and shops in the centre of town, and located on one of Birmingham’s oldest streets. Dating back to 1398, this is a pub that’s taken the historical theme of the area and run wild with it. 

Another well kept secret of Digbeth, Wine Freedom brings a grounded yet sophisticated alternative to the plethora of cocktail bars about. With a mantra of “fresher, cleaner, greener”, it is Wine Freedom’s prerogative to source natural, organic wine for Michelin starred restaurants and the punters of their own warehouse venue. Doubling up as a wine school as well as providing a delivery service of freshly bottled goods, there’s something for all to dip into: their orange offerings offer an alternative twist.

Advertising

With locations scattered across the country, we’re sure you’ve heard of The Botanist by now, but if not, you’re in for a treat. They take what they do seriously, and by ‘seriously’ we’re talking taste and portion size; their hanging kebabs are a firm favourite. Their liquid offerings are similarly generous, with their cocktails divided into ‘fruit and floral’, ‘fresh and herbaceous’ and ‘citrus and spice’ – a winner for all tastebuds.

The Edgbaston
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor

8. The Edgbaston

Oozing sophistication and style, The Edgbaston is a boutique hotel in an Edwardian townhouse that boasts three stunning cocktail lounges. Attention to detail is the order of the day, with sleek art deco finishes and an extensive selection of the world’s finest spirits. The bartenders are effortlessly knowledgeable but good-humoured, and the range of signature and classic cocktails will make you wonder whether you’re in Birmingham or 1920s New York.

Advertising

9. Cherry Red’s

Craft beer, all-day breakfasts, burgers, coffee, cakes – get it all at Cherry Red’s. This favourite independent spot in a listed building on historic John Bright Street is marvellously homely, despite its quirkiness. It’s part bar, part café and part living room. And with its goldfish bowl windows looking out on the street, it’s a great place to kill some time and people-watch.

  • Bars and pubs

Ginger’s is part of a prestigious family tree. It’s housed within Purnell’s Bistro, which, along with the nearby restaurant of the same name, is owned by Birmingham’s renowned Michelin-starred chef, Glynn Purnell. The decor is sleek and impressive without being overly fancy, with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Plus, the bartenders really know their stuff. The cocktails (around £6-£9) are expert blends ranging from classic to contemporary. 

Advertising

11. The Gin Vault

A city can never have enough gin bars, and sometimes it’s the hidden ones we are most thankful for. The Gin Vault is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it basement bar that can only be accessed by a canalside door. Inside, it’s all rough wood panels and exposed brickwork, but some clever lighting really warms the place up, as does the live music during the weekends. 

The Lost & Found is a glorious pub and restaurant, but arguably an even better place to make a pitstop for a potent cocktail or two. Located in a grand former bank, the drinks menu changes seasonally. That means you may have to make the most of your current favourite drink while it’s still available, but the ever-shifting menu is all part of the fun. 

Advertising
The Loft Lounge
  • Bars and pubs

Perfectly placed in the vicinity of Chinatown and the Gay Village, the Loft Lounge is a fun bar that provides the perfect launchpad for a night on the town. The atmosphere is relaxed during the day and early evening, giving way to high energy revels on weekend nights. Cocktails are the big pull here, with a two-for-one deal running all day Sunday to Friday. 

A new addition to the Birmingham scene, Luna Springs has popped up near to Digbeth’s iconic Custard Factory. The outdoor venue is the perfect place for catching some rays in the (supposed) heat of summer. With calendar of events ranging from disco to bingo and street food on hand, it is a great place to hang out and work your way through the cocktails that come with the bottomless brunch.

Advertising

Found at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham, Madeleine Bar befits the name of its surroundings: think dark wood interiors, red velvet seating and low-hanging chandeliers. In the midst of the glamour, Madeleine’s menu covers the classics as well as a clutch of house numbers plus a selection of quirky snacks. 

Located a few doors down from Birmingham’s Post Office Vaults, Fox and Chance is a new bar renovated from abandoned adults shops a short distance from Grand Central Station. With its name nodding to the city’s historical industrial entrepreneurs, the bar aspires to be as welcoming as a local pub whilst delivering both classic cocktails and more ingenious creations; try Stone Fence, which mixes whiskey, maple syrup and cider.

Advertising

The former locale of perhaps Birmingham’s most renowned street food venture, Digbeth Dining Club, Mama Roux’s wears a lot of hats. In pre-Covid times it was a hub for live music, and though it’s still getting going again, it has been a great destination for a bevvy with pals while chowing down on the rotating array of guest street food vendors. 

A classy affair found on Birmingham’s Waterfront, Noel’s Bar has found the sweet spot between being a high-end experience in a relaxed setting. It delivers delightfully arranged Mediterranean-inspired dishes, but its cocktails are worthy of their own praise; petal-strewn, decadent and a pleasing size, they are pulled from a colourful palette and an extensive menu which stretches to all manner of gin, wine, whiskey and tequila.

Advertising

A recent addition to Birmingham’s Great Western Arcade, The Pineapple Club is as cute as they come. Palm leaves and pink abound, its interior has a nostalgic feel whilst its menus pay homage to Miami; from paella and tapas to zingy numbers like Fever 105 and Candy Club Punch, it’s certainly laidback. Keeping with the independent theme, it also stocks a range of craft gin and mead.

Have you ever wanted to up the ante of relaxation by supping whiskey whilst getting a trim? Well, Digbeth’s Stag has arrived to leave you feeling all kinds of fresh for the weekend. Doubling up as a bar and coffee house as well as a barbershop, the establishment adds DJs and live music to its repertoire as well as delivering a fine fade, and with zesty cocktails such as “Barbicide” on the menu, they make it very easy to stick around indeed.

Advertising
Purecraft Bar & Kitchen
  • Restaurants

Despite offering over a hundred beers, Purecraft is as popular with Brum’s gin-swigging contingent as it is for boys’ business lunches or post-work ales. With local legends Purity Brewing on board, the beer is unsurprisingly served right every time, and the drinks list includes a blackboard chock full of tasty surprises. 

22. Tilt

A bar dedicated to pinball? There has to be a twist. And there is, because as well as a flashing, bashing collection of some 20 modern and retro machines, this City Arcade bar is a wizard when it comes to craft beer, speciality coffee and loose leaf tea. Whether you’re twitching the flippers on a 1993 Twilight Zone table, or wetting your whistle with something rare and tasty, you’ll be guaranteed to want a replay.

Advertising

After The Pineapple Club, you may be left wondering if you need more pink in your life. Well, the answer is a resounding yes, and Tonight Josephine is happy to oblige. Unapologetically fabulous, the bar boasts themed bottomless brunches, afternoon teas and burlesque evenings. Whatever the time of day, make good on your surroundings and go for a classic pornstar martini.

Next, why not try a local boozer?

The 16 best pubs in Birmingham
  • Bars and pubs

Whether it’s a cheeky half you’re after, some delicious pub grub or a lazy afternoon sipping classic ales, drinking at one of the best pubs in Birmingham is a quintessential Brummie experience. These are the city’s best boozers of all.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising