I’m here in lovely Birmingham, enjoying the unusually mild weather and visiting my family. I’ve tried asking around a bit to find a nice local tavern, preferably one that brews its own beer, but not a single person in this area seems to enjoy a good ale.
If you have any suggestions at all, I would greatly appreciate it!
If not a good brew, then I will have to settle for some good food.
Now now. The Dreamland in Tuscaloosa is fantastically good, but the one in B’ham has some mighty fine ribs too…just not quite on the same level as Tuscaloosa. Still manna from a merciful god, though.
As for BBQ, you should try that other Birmingham institution, Jim & Nick’s, over in Lakeview (right off Highland near St. Vincent.) Also there is a great pizza place named Rocky’s, and a number of other cool/funky restaurants and bars.
Across Red Mountain in Homewood, there’s an excellent French-style cafe called Chez Lulu. Not very expensive, but the food is wonderful. I am a devotee of their pear and goat cheese sandwich with arugula. Best of all, they’re right next door to International Bakery, which has, hands down, the best homemade bread (their ciabatta is amazing) I have ever had, and they get all their bread from there.
There’s a bar (Dave’s) in Five Points which, although I haven’t been there in some time, used to have a reputation for their beer selection. They used to have some 40-50 beers on tap and a couple hundred more by the bottle. Hopefully, they still do. There are many other restaurants/taverns in Five Points as well. Just park somewhere off 20th in Five Points, and take your pick. The Mellow Mushroom is down there, as is Dave’s, as is Cosmo’s (for more great pizza,) Surin West (Thai,) one of Jim & Nick’s offshoot restaurants. and many others.
One of my favorite watering holes in 5 Points is The Garage…a laid back place whose courtyard (where most of the seating is) is sort of a junk store. There’s lots of statuary, ironwork, and other bric-a-brac out there. Lots of beer, too.
For world-class dining, make a reservation at Highland Grill, Frank Stitt’s first (and best) restaurant. Gourmet magazine ranked Highland Grill as the 5th best restaurant in the US a couple years ago. Bottega and Chez Fonfon are also superb, though.
Then there’s the Nick, for loud rock n’ roll and cheap beer. Legendary punk rock/metal/art rock/alternative venue since the 70’s.
Oh, and more to the point, there’s The Mill, a restaurant and brewery in Five Points.
There may be others as well (I know there used to be, but Red Mountain and Vulcan went out of business,) I’m not sure.
Thanks first of all for your incredible rundown of the local food joints, it was an education for sure.
I was at Six Flags all day yesterday, so I apologize for the delay in response.
We are headed to the Mellow Mushroom tonight. I checked it out online and it looks like a place with great food and an interesting selection of brews. I will post my review sometime Saturday as we will be traveling back to Ohio tomorrow.