Birmingham is the largest city in the UK after London, but often gets forgotten when it comes to lists of the UK’s hottest night spots.
Let’s leave the argument over whether Brum is the UK’s second city for another day and focus on the hundreds of cool places to drink in the “City of a Thousand Trades”.
With one of our team a bona fide Brummie, here’s our take on the best bars in Birmingham. Just leave the Peaky Blinders outfit at home, yeah?
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The Best Cocktail Bars In… Series
Our pick: Couch Stirchley
Stirchley is Birmingham’s newest “up and coming” area, with an array of craft breweries, independent restaurants and retailers popping up in recent years.
Previous bespoke concept menus include “Music and Lyrics” with drinks inspired by the team’s favourite songs, and a movie inspired list with serves taking inspiration from iconic movie scenes.
The design is sleek and modern, and there’s a cute little garden area out the back.
Couch takes walk ins only currently, but it’s well worth it, the nearby Cork & Cage bar or Attic Brew Co are worth a look in if you’re waiting for a table.
If you’re a cocktail lover looking for one of the best bars in Birmingham, you have to check out Couch.
Special Mention: Madeleine Bar @ The Grand Central Hotel
Originally opened in 1879, the Grand Hotel reopened in 2021 after hibernating since 2002.
Now you can enjoy delicious drinks at the same location which once hosted King George VI, Winston Churchill, and Charlie Chaplin, to name but a few famous guests.
When you walk in you can see the £45 million refurbishment at work. Combining original Victorian architecture with striking modern features, this venue drips opulence and elegant class.
The Madeleine bar is in the spirit of the grand hotel cocktail bars of old: luxurious furnishings, sparkling chandeliers, and wood panelling.
The menu is focused on Champagne based cocktails and twists on the classics like Margarita inspired Maison Mexicana, but the bar team will also happily make other classic cocktails on request.
The Madeleine martini is a must try – with lemon tart air, looking like a white cloud floating over the bright pink from the raspberry mixed with Absolut Elyx and Pineapple. adding a layer of theatre to the experience.
Birmingham’s Best Rum Bar: The Cuban Embassy Moseley
If you’re looking for the best Rum bar in Birmingham, look no further than The Cuban Embassy.
An independent venue born out of a passion for Cuba, music, and good times.
Taking inspiration from the best bars in La Habana, the Embassy has over 120 of the finest rums available, along with Cuban inspired cocktails and food.
Cuban dishes include the traditional Vaca Frita: Tender flank steak grilled, combine with chunky potatoes, caramelized onions & strawberry balsamic sauce. Simply yum.
There is also a good vegetarian range, like the simply out of this world Buñuelos de Coliflor cauliflower fritters.
Regular live music six nights a week enhances the atmosphere at the Cuban Embassy.
Downstairs in the main bar, you can enjoy a Cuba Libre whilst listening to Latin inspired music.
Fridays and Saturdays house band Rhythms Del Toro enchants the crowd with intoxicating Latin Fusion.
Birmingham’s Best Gin Bar: 40 St Paul’s
40 St. Paul’s is an intimate gin-lover’s paradise.
With only space for 24 covers at a time, booking is recommended.
However, you know it will be worth it, when 40 St. Paul’s the winner of Best Gin Bar at the Icon of Gin Awards in 2018 and 2019!
Over 140 different types of gin are on offer, along with a impressive array of gin cocktails.
The team hand picks each gin, meaning they can relate the story of the gin to you, and why it was picked.
They also offer gin tasting sessions, and even more exciting – gin, cheese, and chocolate pairings.
For our money, this is the best gin bar in Birmingham, and is definitely worth a try.
The Best Bars in Birmingham City Centre
The Lost & Found
Like The Grand Hotel and other properties on Bennetts Hill, The Lost and Found leverages its Grade II listed building to good effect, providing a grand and decadent drinking experience with design harking back to the Victorian era.
As well as the main bar area, there is a delightful snug upstairs bar, providing a chilled sanctuary to enjoy your drink in.
Inspired by a fictional Victorian explorer, inquisitive visitors to The Lost and Found will be rewarded if you can find the famous hidden bar behind the bookcase.
L&F has a great range of cocktails – from the classics to the experiential “the Professors’ Cocktails” featuring cocktails with an element of theatre provided by dry ice.
That’s not to forget their signature “Lost” and “Found” lists, including the fruity, punchy Raspberry and Rhubarb Sling.
Fizz! By Frizzenti
Great for lovers of Champagne cocktails, and handily located Birmingham Grand Central Station.
Frizzenti’s ‘70s Italian styling and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect stop off for a fizz based beverage.
Whether you’ve just arrived by train, finished shopping in the nearby Bull Ring centre or are just looking for some where central to meet friends, Fizz! bar sits on the top level of the station and is a great location to watch the world go by.
Not surprisingly, their cocktail list is inspired by the sparkling, with twists on the Mojito enhanced with Frizzenti fizz.
The Botanist Birmingham
As the name would suggest, The Botanist takes its inspiration from the floral. Take a step into their garden inspired world and enjoy some mouth-watering drinks.
Walking in, you first experience the atrium (pictured above), a wonderful indoor space which feels as though you are sat outside in a garden. Perfect for if the weather on the real outside is not so nice!
The underground Plant Room space runs cocktail masterclasses and other activities or can be booked for private functions.
The Alchemist Colmore Row
Situated in a space which used to be the basement of the nearby Grand Hotel, The Alchemist Birmingham is an intimate and moody space.
There is a second Alchemist site in Birmingham, situated in Brindleyplace, by the canals.
The Pineapple Club
Fancy a trip to Miami? Well, getting that Florida beach flavour might be closer than you think.
Vibrant décor and Instagram-friendly neon signs make the Pineapple Club an unforgettable drinking location.
Recently voted no. 43 on the UK’s 50 Best Cocktail bars list, there’s a wide array of cocktails, wines and craft beers.
Not just a funky cocktail bar, which also does a killer bottomless brunch on Saturdays, it’s also a bottle shop serving a selection of craft beverages.
Centrally located right next to the station, Tonight Josephine is not one to go for if you’re after a quiet drink.
They are proudly party-focused, so if you’re into outrageous interior design, party vibes, and bright in-your-face cocktails then it’s the perfect place to kick off your night out.
Always fabulous, never forgettable, Tonight Josephine is an experience you won’t forget.
Dirty Martini Birmingham
Can you guess what the focus of this bar is?
Whilst you can 100% get a Dirty Martini cocktail here (we checked) the daily happy hour features a whole range of other tasty treats.
Aside from the main bar downstairs with a dance floor, Dirty Martini Birmingham has additional seating in the upstairs bar area with it’s own DJ booth.
Get yourself glammed up and head down to this centre of Brum nightlife.
The Best Bars in The Mailbox and Gas Street Basin
The previous site of the Royal Mail’s sorting office has been redeveloped into the jewel of Birmingham’s shopping and lifestyle scene.
Any Brummie will happily tell you that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. The Mailbox overlooks the Gas Street Basin, is the heart of Birmingham’s canal network.
Previously an industrial heartland, the area has emerged as a go-to nightlife spot, with a mix of established brands and quirky independents.
The drinks menu at Churchills offers over 20 signature cocktails, along with the classics, and of course stunning views of the canals.
They also specialize in gin, with 90+ brands on offer. For a fun and hassle free experience grab a gin card from the bar to use their gin-dispensing self-serve machines.
Though run by Fullers Pubs, Churchills’ food offering is unique with the vegan start up BA-HA currently in residency.
Founders Becky Powell and Frankie Heekin create tasty, humane, plant based menus based on the season.
Locally sourced ingredients give a great opportunity to celebrate the Midland’s culinary scene.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar & Grill Birmingham
Right at the top of The Cube, Marco Pierre White at The Mailbox offers some of the best skyline views in the city.
For us, there’s no better way to enhance a 360 degree panoramic view of a city, than by adding a delectable cocktail.
As well as the regulars, you can imbibe their signature cocktails including a version of the Long Island Iced Tea featuring Beefeater Pink Gin.
The floral Jalisco Lilly, created with Olmeca Altos Tequila and Franklin & Sons rhubarb & hibiscus tonic is a drink that you won’t forget in a hurry.
The dress code at Marco’s is smart, so maybe leave your trainers for next time.
Pan-Asian fusion food meets molecular inspired, theatrical cocktails. Relishing in the abnormal, Aluna provides that unforgettable “wow” factor.
Referring to their mixologists as “social scientists” who painstakingly test and develop their serves to push the boundaries of mixology to create the next level of cocktail enjoyment.
Once you’ve sampled from the signature menu (their Zombie cocktail recipe is one of the best in the city), it’s time to move onto their experimental menus.
Perhaps you’ll go for some Midnight Madness, sampling a Bush Fire or Lava Lamp.
Or maybe, you’re in need of an Antidote like a Thai Smoothie.
The Aluna Secret Concoction is a must try – if only to attempt to work out the ingredients, which are kept a guarded secret.
52 Gas Street
Who needs complicated bar names?
Originally the site of a gun factory, 52 Gas Street sits in the heartland of Brum’s canal network on… no. 52 Gas Street.
In the summer you can enjoy a drink sitting out overlooking the canal, and when the seasons get cold there is live music featuring upcoming artists.
If you fancy mixing the drinks, 52 Gas Street also offers cocktail masterclasses from £25 per person.
Gas Street Social
Social is in the name and Gas Street Social’s philosophy is all about sharing, brunching, and catching up with friends. Large sharing tables go alongside cosy, intimate booth areas.
When you’re offered a bottomless brunch with unlimited Bellinis & Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and beers, it’s hard to think of a better way to celebrate this mindset.
A cocktail menu with drinks including “Pink Flamingo”, and “Costa Del Solero” is pure 1980s meets beach party vibes.
Don’t let the bright colours put you off – these guys really care about their flavours.
A mainstay of the Brum night time scene since launching in 2015, Gas Street Social is a must-try.
The Canal House
A country-styled tavern offering elevated British grub, the Canal House has creative cocktails, with live music and canal views.
The ever popular spritz cocktail gets its own section on the menu, with the classic Aperol Spritz recipe accompanied by options including Lanique Raspberry, Campari Blood Orange, or St-Germain.
The Best Bars in Birmingham: Digbeth’s best bars
Digbeth has been the heart of Birmingham ever since settlers started living in the area.
Through the industrial revolution the centre of “the first manufacturing town in the world” revolved around the famous Custard Factory.
Though the area is now seeing the effects of redevelopment, this home to artists, musicians and street food pop ups still retains its independent feel, making it a hip drinking spot.
NQ64 Arcade Bar
Go back in time with this bar featuring retro arcade games like Space Invaders and Street Fighter.
Whilst you play, the cocktails are a fun take on famous games like the Donkey Kong cocktail, or the Pac’s A Punch. There is a wide array of canned and draught beer options also.
NQ64 Birmingham doesn’t take bookings, so just rock up and start playing. The atmosphere here is cool enough that even if you have to wait to get on the classic Nintendo 64 console, you won’t mind.
Birdies Bar and Barbeque
A flavour of the beach party in the city. Birdies combines cocktails, beers, and street food for a vibrant and fun offering.
Fruity, confident drinks like the Bananarama fruit punch or the Cactus Juice coconut colada mean you should definitely pack your Hawaiian shirt and shades.
In the sunshine, you can enjoy live music out in the summer garden, along with delicious bites from Birmingham best independent food popups.
Luna Springs’s name is inspired first by the River Rea, which runs through the city, and from the 18th Century Lunar Society, a group of creatives who met at the full moon.
So far, so arcane.
Set in the site of the old Digbeth Arena, the open air venue Luna Springs celebrates Digbeth’s industry, creativity, and spirit, inviting revellers to party and “go wild, moonchild”.
Live music, live sports, bottomless brunches, and moonlit cinema screenings. What’s not to like?
The Best Bars in The Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is a thriving hub of over 700 businesses devoted to the manufacture of jewellery and retail. It’s also home to some amazing bars and restaurants.
The Rectory’s beautiful stained glass windows and exposed brick offers a nod to the heritage of the picturesque St. Paul’s Square, the last remaining Georgian Square in the city.
This venue has a vibrant charm and is the perfect spot for a weekend brunch or pre-dinner drinks.
The Rectory pulls together it’s cocktail menu with some interesting flavours and twists on the classics, like their Salted Caramel Manhattan.
Also worth a try is their Crème Brulée cocktail including Martell VS, Vanilla Syrup, and Amaretto. Simply yum.
Downstairs in the 180 Club you can wing it at darts, or just grab some tasty wings to eat.
Saint Paul’s House
Situated in a beautiful Georgian building, on the site of a former rope factory, Saint Paul’s House launched in 2016 as part of Birmingham’s new wave of boutique hotels.
With 34 rooms, on-site parking and 24/7 reception, this little gem is the perfect stay for those coming into the city for a minibreak.
Saturdays are about bottomless brunches with bottomless Prosecco, Bellinis and Gin Roses.
Saint Paul’s keeps its cocktail menu compressed, to ensure its team knows exactly how to make them.
The drink names are intriguing call outs to the history of the area, with the Jeweller’s Gate, including Buffalo Trace whisky and rosemary infused Aperol.
Birmingham’s Best Whisky Bar: Grain & Glass
Nestled in the Jewellery Quarter, they have 300 open whiskies available, as well as a range of events, tastings, and of course cocktails.
Tables in the beautiful wood furnished bar are available to book for non-members, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Membership to the Club is available from £60 and provides perks including discounts on events, member only events, access to exclusive member only whisky, and much more.
The Best Bars in South Birmingham
The beauty of Birmingham’s cocktail scene is that most bars are easily accessible via New Street Station in the centre of the city.
However, a quick 10 minute journey towards the south of the city reveals some gems that are not to be missed.
The Edgbaston Hotel
Situated in leafy south Birmingham, stepping into one of the Edgbaston hotel’s three glitzy cocktail lounges is like stepping into a scene from The Great Gatsby.
Stylish jet-black and gold art deco design enhances a bespoke cocktail menu of original creations.
The Edgbaston prides itself on its service, harking back to the era of Martinis before dinner.
They aim to offer “a welcome offered by a gracious friend at a fine private residence” and it shows: with the team winning Imbibe UK Bar Team of The Year 2019.
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