The sunny, warm weather is making its way to Birmingham, and what better way to spend a night, afternoon or evening this summer than by enjoying a drink in a beer garden while enjoying some of city’s best street art?
Well, luckily for you, the Lonely Planet, the travel guide renowned for its expert knowledge on hidden gems off the beaten track, has highlighted its favourite places in the city to do just that!
In the guide travel writer James March showases his the best things about Birmingham neighbourhoods. Here’s a look at his recommendations.
Jewellery Quarter - best for history and heritage
“With its immaculately preserved workshops and live demonstrations, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is a fascinating time capsule into Birmingham’s heritage. Other quirky museums include the Pen Museum (yes, really!) and the nearby Coffin Works, a celebration of Victorian Birmingham’s fascination with funeral decorations.
“Don’t miss the superb bars and restaurants of the area too, including low-lit Japanese cocktail bar Ikigai, jaunty microbrewery Rock & Roll Brewhouse, and the darkly enigmatic fine-dining restaurant The Wilderness.”
Moseley - best for bohemian brunches
“Moseley Village’s laid-back community vibe has been part of its character for generations and its colorful pubs, cafes, bistros and restaurants hold an enduring allure.
“And from the seductive Middle Eastern aromas of Damascena and Tabule Kitchen to hearty stalwarts like De Maines and Maison Mayci, there are an endless amount of brunch options on Moseley’s vibrant streets. And when evening comes, quality recent additions such as French bistro Le Petit Bois, veggie-only pizza slice kings Peacer, and sublime Peruvian restaurant Chakana give every reason to stay.”
Digbeth - Best for nightlife and street art
“Set underneath hulking coal-grey railway arches, Digbeth’s industrial-chic seems almost tailor-made to show off Birmingham’s exceptional street art and was even featured in Stephen Speilberg’s Ready Player One. Just a short walk from the city center, the striking graffiti and shimmering criss-cross fairy lights of Floodgate Street make Digbeth the most distinct of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.
“The Custard Factory’s independent shops, cafes, and bars attract throngs of weekend revelers throughout the day, but it’s in the evening when Digbeth truly comes alive. From rare Belgian beers at Roberto’s Bar and Tasting Club to neon cocktails at Birdie’s, there’s an array of choices in a conveniently compact area.
“Dance the night away to beats under the arches at Mama Roux’s, while DJs at the Night Owl spin everything from funk and reggae to soul and indie. And if that wasn’t enough, you can dance and play games like ten-pin bowling and basketball at Roxy Ball Room.”
Kings Heath - Best for parks, pints and independent boutiques
“Just south of Moseley and down the winding Alcester Road lies Kings Heath, a lively shopping neighborhood centered around its High Street. From institutions like legendary record shop Polar Bear Records to modern favorites such as handmade gift store ENKI, Kings Heath has long operated as a welcoming neighborhood platform for independent businesses and boutiques.
“Pedestrian-friendly York Road is the neighborhood’s thriving epicenter, instantly recognizable by the imposing presence of Victorian redbrick pub and gig venue The Hare and Hounds (UB40 played their first-ever gig here in 1979). Enjoy a revolving cast of street food and craft beer at The Juke, natural wines at the breezy Grace + James, and alfresco woodfired pizza at POLI.
“If you need a bucolic escape then nearby Highbury Park is a tranquil and underrated park, full of meandering trails passing by lazy weeping willows, small serene ponds and dense green woodland.”
Stirchley - Best for craft beer
“With its splendid old pubs and casual modern taprooms, Stirchley is the lively focal point of Birmingham’s craft beer scene. So much so, that it even has its own dedicated “beer mile” for intrepid ale aficionados to merrily enjoy as they amble down the understated Pershore Road and its various tributaries.
“Bright and airy Attic Brew Co is conveniently situated across Mary Vale Road from Bournville Station, while Glasshouse’s canalside location is secluded and offers a ton of room for drinking on its outdoor tables during the summer. In the winter months, the cozy confines of Cork & Cage and Wildcat make for ideal spots to sample their sours, stouts, and hazy pales.
“In a previous life, Stirchley was perhaps best known for its proximity to the famous chocolate haven that is Cadbury World and it’s still a popular spot to this day, especially for a family day out.”
Harborne - Best for foodies
“No city in the UK outside of London has more Michelin stars than Birmingham and the city has become a gastronomic hotspot because of the creativity and passion of its chefs. And while the leafy neighborhood of Harborne doesn’t own any stars (yet), it might be pound-for-pound the city’s best place for consistently high-quality dining experiences.
“Sitting proudly in white at the top end of the High Street, The Plough’s delightful paprika-smoked chicken Cubano’s go beyond what you’d normally expect from a pub menu while further down the road The Cods Scallops sets a new high bar for fish and chips, especially when they come with freshly shucked oysters.
“The succulent slow-cooked ox cheek is one of many highlights at wonderful Italian Tropea, while the relaxed fine-dining and imaginative drinks pairings at Harborne Kitchen make for arguably the best value quality eating in the city.”
To see more recommendations, visit the the Lonley Planet guide, here.
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