Foodies have long since recognized Birmingham as one of the South’s culinary gems, but recently there has been a groundswell of craft cocktails and beer. From the white tablecloth to the warehouse watering hole, the Magic City is awash in house-made tonics, bitters, and brews. There’s something to quench every thirst, if you just know where to look.
The Collins Bar
2125 2nd Avenue North
Study the periodic table of Birmingham elements over the bar while you sip on a Bohemian — Bombay dry gin, St-Germain, fresh grapefruit juice, and Peychaud’s bitters. I’ve heard tell that not everyone loves gin, a Southern summer staple, but this light, refreshing libation with just the right amount of sweet fruitiness will sway even the staunchest opposition to this piney potable.
200 20th Street North
If an upscale neighborhood bar collided with an eighties arcade, you’d get Paramount. Try the 2nd and 20th, named for the corner on which this eclectic establishment sits. Served in a Mason jar, this frothy concoction mixes Wild Turkey 101, Lazzaroni Amaretto, lemon, sugar, and egg white. Enjoy it in the game room over a round of skee ball or Galaga.
Veranda on Highland
2220 Highland Avenue South
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Veranda is no longer in business. Galley and Garden has opened in it’s place and is very good!) At this white-tablecloth restaurant located in the historic Highland Avenue Merritt House, you can invoke your inner Blanche DuBois with the Kindness of Strangers. Four Roses, Lustau Manzanilla Sherry, fresh lemon, and orgeat syrup with a Lambrusco float combine to create enchantment in a glass. If bourbon’s not your thing, enjoy the punch of the day on the porch.
41st Street Pub and Aircraft Sales
130 41st Street South
Two words – Moscow Mule. Lime juice, vodka, and ginger beer is served ice-cold in a traditional copper mug. One more word – shuffleboard. ‘Nuff said.
Carrigan’s Public House
2430 Morris Avenue
The cure for arachnophobia? A Tarantula – Carrigan’s style. This potent mixture of Punt e mes, tequila, Luxardo Marachino, maple, and grapefruit peel will have you feeling fearless in no time.
Good People Brewing Company
114 14th Street South
Find salvation in a frosty glass of Snake Handler, Good People’s most popular brew. From the first bitter strike of this hoppy Double IPA until the last swallow warms your throat, you’ll want to holler “AMEN!” (Visit on a Saturday and take the tour!)
Trim Tab Brewing Co.
2721 5th Avenue South
Cucumber may not be the first thing that springs to your mind when you think of beer, but once you try Trim Tab’s Cucumber Saison, you’ll marvel at this ingenious pairing. Light, slightly astringent, just cucumber-y enough, this refreshing pale ale is as good as it is unique.
201 41st Street South
Miss Fancy’s Tripel, named for the Prohibition-era pachyderm who was the star of the nearby historic Avondale Zoo and known to take a nip “for medicinal purposes,” is a Belgian ale as strong as an elephant but curiously refreshing. Slightly sweet with hints of orange and clove, this brew is as memorable as its namesake.