Birmingham is home to some fantastic local distilleries and microbreweries, creating alcoholic delights that we can enjoy in any number of brilliant bars, pubs and clubs.
But sometimes, nothing beats having a drink in the comfort of your own home, without marked-up prices or queues. Still, while you could simply pick up a six pack or beers or a cheap bottle of red from the corner shop, where's the fun in that? Why not treat yourself to something extra special?
Here's a selection of some of Birmingham's specialist off licences, selling a mind-boggling array of wines, beers and spirits to help you get sozzled in style:
For the largest collection – Wine Lord
Family business Wine Lord is approaching its thirtieth anniversary and, over the decades, this specialist off licence has gone from strength to strength. Stocking drinks from around the globe, the shop has a reputation for excellent customer service.
Wine Lord has 2,000 whiskeys available to order in store and online, as well as specialist rums, vodkas, gins, tequila, and liquors. If you're looking for vodka shaped like a fire extinguisher, a bottle of champagne that looks like a hookah pipe or tequila that comes in a Dia de Muertos painted skull, this is the place to go.
Wine Lord, 106 Constitution Hill, Hockley, Birmingham.
For the wealthy collector – Hard to Find Whisky
In case you’re wondering what these guys are about, the clue's in the name. Hard To Find Whisky has all manner of rare, collectable and new Scotch whisky available for its customers. In fact, this specialist off licence in the Jewellery Quarter possesses the biggest in-store collection in the UK.
With prices ranging from a modest £25 to nearly £40,000 (that'll be for a 1928 Macallan Anniversary Malt), this is the spot for any collector to drool over 3,000 bottles of fine single malts, including new releases from some well-known brands.
As a specialist in Birmingham’s eclectic drink scene, Hard to Find Whisky also hosts master classes led by in-house experts, starting with an 'Introduction to Whisky' course, right up to a £1,000-a-head ticket to take part in the 'Whiskies Most Wanted'. That's one heck of a gift voucher.
Hard to Find Whisky, 1 Spencer Street, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B18 6DD/
For the best bottled beers – Cotteridge Wines
Renowned for regularly stocking over 1,300 bottled beers from across the globe, somewhat contradictory to its name, Cotteridge Wines is an absolute hotspot for beer. The shop was voted as the UK’s Best for Bottled Beer by website RateBeer for the last two years, and it could well be the first off licence to have a homemade tasting bar in-store!
With a £10 bottle deposit, customers can take home two litres of draught beer from up to eight of the beers it has on tap.
Cotteridge Wines, 1825 Pershore Rd, Birmingham, West Midlands B30 3DN.
For beers on the go – Stirchley Wines and Spirits
Established 26 years ago, Stirchley Wine and Spirits is another off licence that caters to customers' individual taste palates and brings some extraordinary beers to Birmingham. Little wonder it was awarded the title of 'Best Bottle Shop in England' in 2014.
It also offers containers where you can fill up and take away up to four pints from the two in-store draught keg beer taps. Run by father and son Amrik and Krishan, Stirchley Wine and Spirits bring a varied selection of real ale, beer, wines and spirits to the table.
Stirchley Wine and Spirits, 1535-1537 Pershore Road, Birmingham, B30 2JH.
For the champagne fan – The Drinks Emporium
Boasting a ‘wall to wall’ collection of spirits and craft beers from around the world, as well as the largest champagne gift collections in the UK, The Drinks Emporium is the place to visit if you want prestige.
Located on Aston Road, its massive 1,600ft space hosts monthly tasting events led by guests from brands and distilleries alike. Perhaps most famous for the £17,500 bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 Gold Medallion Jeroboam Champagne, the Drinks Emporium has made its mark on Birmingham’s food and drink scene, taking the title as one of the largest (and most expensive) drinks collections in Birmingham.
The Drinks Emporium, 217 Aston Road, Birmingham, B6 4LH.
For award-winning choice – Loki
Located in the Grand Arcade, Loki is the most decorated wine merchant in Birmingham. The shop boasts 11 national awards and is currently the Decanter UK Wine Merchant of the Year outside of London.
Proudly holding an ‘anti-establishment ethos’, the people at Loki believe that ‘wine should offer outstanding value for everyone; and that the customer should be able to taste before buying that perfect bottle’.
Customers are encouraged to taste a selection of up to 24 wines before they pick which specific bottles to purchase. This offers Loki director and resident wine expert Phil Innes the opportunity to demonstrate his vast knowledge of wines and their regions.
Once customers have purchased their chosen wine, they're then invited to join the upstairs seating area with sofas and cold meat and cheese boards available.
Loki Wines, 36 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham.
For the discerning student – Drinks 2 Go
Birmingham's students would be hard pressed to find a friendlier off licence than Drinks 2 Go in Selly Oak.
Drinks 2 Go is famous for its charismatic shop owner, Chris, who ensures that any purchase comes with a complimentary lollipop and a friendly chat about the night's future debauchery.
Due to incredible popularity among the Selly Oak residents, Drinks 2 Go recently extended into the late Selly Joke fancy dress store and is currently under renovation with Drinks 2 Go promising to be Selly Oak’s very own drink emporium.
Open late into the night, the shop caters to all budgets, with booze ranging from Glen’s Vodka to P Diddy's Ciroc, all the way down to trusty bottle of Frosty Jacks.
Drinks 2 Go, 512 Bristol Rd, Selly Oak, Birmingham.
For those seeking a hidden gem – WineStop
At the top of Teignmouth Road in Selly Oak is an unsuspecting shop called ‘WineStop’. Its faded posters and garish red and yellow sign might fool you into thinking this is not the place to purchase a premium alcoholic beverage. But you'd be wrong.
Run by proprietor Hardeep and his brother, there are the stacked crates of Strongbow and other budget booze catering to the surrounding students. But behind the counter is a gold mine of fine spirits.
Hardeep himself claims he stocks more than 400 whiskeys, but there simply isn't room for them on the shelves. If you're looking to buy a special bottle for someone, but need advice on what to buy, Hardeep is the man to ask.
WineStop, 75 Raddlebarn Rd, Selly Oak, Birmingham.
If you still plan on heading out after your home-based drinking, here are some of the best bars and pub in Birmingham.