Birmingham’s Best Bars; our top five picks

By on January 10, 2013

After much debate, the verdict is in. There are many hotspots for you to choose from throughout the Birmingham Metro area, but these five bars are sure to leave you wanting more. Whether it’s relaxing in what seems like an underground tunnel while jazzy piano notes fill the air or a packed house with frat boys and sorority girls, there is something out there for everyone. So here we go.

Drop by at Avondale Brewing Company or the J. Clyde and have a drink. Sarah Adkins/Photo Contributor

Topping the list is the Avondale Brewing Company situated on the corner of 41st and 2nd. Possibly the “coolest” bar in Birmingham, this firehouse turned brewery offers good beer and a decent price, along with a great atmosphere. But round the back is what makes Avondale standout.

The large, fenced in backyard is arrayed with random chairs, some of which appear to come straight from dining room table. The bartender could have made the outdoor bar and the hay, grass and gravel along the ground give off the impression of a rodeo-type dance floor for whatever band happens to be setting up that night. Bring your dog, your cat or any other legal animal along with you if you please.

The negative? It is a little far from campus, but call yourself a taxi and quit complaining.

Second on the list, is the Blue Monkey Lounge, a classy joint right off of University Blvd. on 20th street. As you enter from the gated front yard, furnished places to sit and relax, you come to the actual bar, a dimly lit tunnel that seems like it could go on for miles.

Drop by at Avondale Brewing Company or the J. Clyde and have a drink. Sarah Adkins/Photo Contributor

The jazzy riffs of the piano man towards the back immediately fill your ears and all you want to do is grab a drink and take a load off. I might catch some heat for putting this bar second, but if you are into sitting down, listening to good cover music for a change, then you won’t be disappointed. What’s even better is the non-beer lovers can enjoy a fine martini or cocktail over the roaring flame of a small candle on each table.

The negative? You might feel some claustrophobia on crowded nights when you’re sitting towards the back, but, hey, that’s what the alcohol is for.

Placing third is a pretty large bar and grill known as the J. Clyde, which happens to sit right next the Blue Monkey. In the mood for a Birra del Borgo Re Ale Extra from Italy? Or a Bar Harbor Coal Porter from Maine? Fret no more because the J. Clyde has both and many more beers from all over the world.

Not to mention that food is actually pretty good, with many options to choose from pub food or a hearty dinner.

The negative? Beer is not always cheap and it won’t be when it’s coming from Germany or even Huntsville if you can believe it.

Fourth on the list is Rogue Tavern. It’s good food and better entertainment that this place is known for. Voted Best New Restaurant in 2009, Rogue Tavern highlights the art of music and fine dining, while offering a nice selection of drinks to boot. Right off of 24th Street S. on 2nd avenue, Rogue Tavern is great for those who enjoy bar hopping, seeing as it is situated between four or five other bars located on the same street.

It typically draws a more artsy crowd with its frequent acoustic nights and indie bands, which is a pretty refreshing change of pace if you typically find yourself at our first three hotspots. The negative? It’s not always the most happening place on the planet, but to each his own.

Last but not least, is Tin Roof, a bar located right after 27th Street S. on Seventh Ave. The bartenders deserve some sort of medal. On an average Saturday night, Tin Roof patrons hang over the double sided bar like zombies looking at fresh meat. On average, there are about five or so bartenders scrambling around taking orders and credit cards, somehow, efficiently.

The Tin Roof draws hundreds of people every weekend because of its good beer prices and great “bar” atmosphere. You will find yourself walking around socializing by the end of the night and when the band starts up, forget about it.

The negative? There might as well be a dress code for us guys seeing as almost everyone is wearing fluorescent polo’s and short-shorts.

So there you have it, the top five bars in Birmingham. For those of you new to campus, try them out and see for yourself. You might just find your next go-to hangout for Friday nights.

Richard Parrish
Staff Writer
rparris@uab.edu

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