Birmingham nightlife: eating, drinking and partying

By James Grinnell, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Birmingham.

Overall rating:4.3 out of 5 (based on 6 votes)
Enjoyable
4.166665
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Useful
4.5
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Inspirational
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Recommended for:
Food and Drink, Short Break, Nightlife, Budget, Expensive, Mid-range

A night out in Birmingham offers something for everyone, whether it be real ale, late night clubs or good restaurants

Depending on what you are looking for, there are different areas of “Brum” catering for different interests. The city is easily walkable but, if you are travelling between different parts in the centre, a black cab should not cost more than £5-£6.

Broad Street and Brindley Place (close to Symphony Hall and the National Indoor Arena) 

The Broad Street area is the hub of the city's nightlife, catering mainly for the 18-30 crowd and consists of a strip of pubs with loud music and late night licences surrounded by a multitude of fast food joints, a strip club, a comedy club, a casino and a few restaurants of average quality. The bottom end of the street near to Symphony Hall tends to be busiest in the week with bars such as Walkabout and Lloyds doing a very busy trade. At the top end of the street, near to Five Ways, the huge Gatecrasher club can be found where people can dance the night away - http://www.gatecrasher.com/birmingham. Dress code can be strict in some places and it may be best to check in advance if you want to go anywhere in particular. One hidden gem just off Broad Street is the Tap and Spile, catering to a diverse crowd and serving real ale - often well after the rest of Broad Street shuts down (http://www.tapandspilebirmingham.co.uk/).

Those visiting the National Indoor Arena (NIA) will find themselves just a couple of minutes' walk from Broad St and the adjoining Brindley Place area - a congregation of good restaurants and bars attracting a more mature crowd than Broad Street and concentrating on good food and drink. This area contains lots of restaurants ranging from Thai to Italian to Japanese and a good quality of food can be found in this area in a relaxed atmosphere (www.brindleyplace.com).

Between New Street Train Station and Broad Street is the designer shopping area the Mailbox, a complex itself that is worthwhile visiting for those looking for a nice drink or meal (www.mailboxlife.com).

Where to stay

For double rooms less than £100 a night the Jurys Inn is situated on Broad Street itself and is a perfect destination for those on nights out in the city.

The Marriott Birmingham is situated at the top end of Broad Street near to Five Ways Train Station.

A real bargain in a great hotel just minutes from Broad St, the Eaton Hotel comes highly recommended situated on the Hagley Road leading into the city centre.

For high level accommodation in the Mailbox complex, with a high quality restaurant, the Malmaison Birmingham is well located and well recommended.

Arcadian and Hurst Street (close to Hippodrome Theatre)

For those looking for more of a trendy night involving smart bars and designer clubs, the Arcadian area near to New Street Station will suit - www.thearcadian.co.uk/ . This area tends to attract the trendy urbanites of the city. It is generally the preserve of people following the latest fashions and can be viewed as a more upmarket alternative to Broad Street. The Arcadian borders on the Hippodrome Theatre and the nearby gay district that centres on Hurst Street, again offering a wealth of bars.

Large nightclubs and diverse music can be found in the Digbeth area of the city, a further five minutes' walk from the Arcadian. Huge clubs such as the Sanctuary are present in Digbeth hosting a variety of nights ranging from the popular Indie night “Panic” to the famous “Gods Kitchen”. Also in Digbeth is the Custard Factory, a complex of bars that play host to prestigious DJs (http://www.custardfactory.co.uk/).

Where to stay

The Ibis Birmingham City Centre is perfectly situated in the Arcadian area, giving easy access to China Town, the Hippodrome Theatre, the gay district of Hurst Street and New Street Station. Rooms are often available on promotional cheap offers.

City centre and real ale pubs

The city centre is mainly focused on good pubs and restaurants. Nightclubs are not generally found in the very centre of the city, generally congregating around the Arcadian, Broad Street and Digbeth areas. The main exception, however, is Snobs Nightclub, five minutes' walk from New Street Station and a place where generations have been to drink 50p shots of vodka while listening to music varying from the Kinks to Razorlight. Generally there is no dress code and trainers and t shirt are OK (www.snobsnightclub.co.uk).

For pubs in the centre real ale drinkers won’t be disappointed with pubs such as the Old Joint Stock, the Old Contemptibles next to Snow Hill Station and the Briar Rose Wetherspoons offering a good range of ales. The Old Joint Stock is an old bank and the inside of the building is a great venue for an afternoon pint (www.oldjointstocktheatre.co.uk). The main pub though for real ale drinkers is The Wellington, a specialist real ale pub with no music or gimmicks, just high quality real ales and ciders (www.thewellingtonrealale.co.uk).  Slightly further out, and near to St Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter area of the city, is the Lord Clifden which is also well worth a visit (www.thelordclifden.com).

Where to stay

For a real budget hotel at around £40 a night try the Britannia Hotel, with no frills but a clean and cosy hotel in a perfect location two minutes' walk from New Street Station and two minutes' from the Bullring shopping centre.

Briar Rose is an option for those who would like not to have to leave the comforts of the pub to get home!

Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and the Mailbox

The Jewellery Quarter area is a welcome alternative from the rest of the city and still has the feeling of being undiscovered by many locals. It has a friendly atmosphere, nice restaurants and clubs with no atmosphere or pretension. The popular Jam House Club (www.thejamhouse.com) is one of the best in the city whilst the nearby Actress and Bishop plays good indie and rock music until two in the morning with no entry fee. If you are looking for an evening bite to eat the Rectory (http://www.rectorybar.co.uk) in St Paul's Square itself does a delicious tapas menu that can set you up for a night of drinking.

Where to stay

A great location less than ten minutes' walk from New Street Station and on a quiet street near the Jewellery Quarter is the Travel Lodge Birmingham offering comfortable and basic budget accommodation.

Fine dining

If food is your main attraction for a night out, two of the best restaurants in the city centre are Purnells and Simpsons, however both come at a hefty price. Simpsons (www.simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk) is a five minute walk from the Five Ways end of Broad Street or a cheap taxi journey and has a great tasting menu for the discerning diner. It also has rooms available for those wishing to make an evening of the occasion. Purnells in situated much closer to the very centre and is a walking distance from New Street Train Station (www.purnellsrestaurant.com). Many of the city's hotels such as the Radisson, Malmaison and Marriott also have a good standard of restaurant and can be recommended.

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Author:
James Grinnell
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
4.333335
Average: 4.3 (6 votes)
Total views:
1972
First uploaded:
4 December 2009
Last updated:
4 years 41 weeks 4 days 17 hours 1 min 26 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Food and Drink, Nightlife, Short Break
Budget level:
Budget, Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
pubs, clubbing, clubs, beer

James recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Jurys Inn Birmingham
£54
N/A
2. Marriott Birmingham
£64
N/A
3. Eaton Hotel
£51
N/A
4. Malmaison Birmingham
£49
N/A
5. Ibis Birmingham City Centre
£49
N/A
6. The Briar Rose
£44
N/A
7. Britannia Hotel
£25
N/A
8. Travel Lodge Birmingham
£67
N/A

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Community comments (8)

Rating:
5
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Well done James, my husband has just come back from visiting Birmingham and i was able to tip him off on the real ale pubs you mentioned which he was very pleased with! A good and informative guide

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Rating:
5
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I agree with the sentiments of many of these comments and also found this guide very useful. It seems to actually focus on real places to visit rather than descriptions and generalisations. I am intending to visit Birmingham in the New Year and feel I have a good idea of what areas may be most enjoyable for me

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Rating:
4
1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

Very good guide with lots of variety. As with any big city a lot to do especially in my short stay there recently, and this guide had lots of things that appealed to me which enabled me to plan my stay in advance to make the most of my leisure time. Well done.

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I agree with this comment, very useful

Rating:
5
1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

I recently visited Birmingham and found the review extremely useful and informative for my stay. I was looking for somewhere to stay and dine in the central area following a show at Symphony Hall and found the suggestions of Purnells restaurant, and the Marriott Hotel both very good recommendations. Thank you

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Rating:
4
1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

Good guide James. I remember the first time I went out drinking in Brum, it took us ages to find a pub but then when we found one, they kept coming and coming. I'd recommend anyone thinking of following this pub tour to study the map in the top corner, or do as James says and get cabs to save on drinking time.

And while in The Arcadian, you've got to give the Chinese restaurants a try – this is the best Chinatown outside of London, you know! My favourite is the China Court Restaurant, dead opposite the Ibis mentioned by James.

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Thanks Richard, as you say the Chinese restaurants around the Arcadian are certainly woth a try and the Ibis is perfectly located for those staying in this area.

Rating:
3
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

While this isn't the most polished piece of travel writing, it is well structured and is bursting with recommendations and useful contact information. Thank you for a themed guide which displays your knowledge of Birmingham, James.

Please add a more colourful introduction telling the reader why they should choose Birmingham over other UK cities for a night out, as well as some more detail in your hotel recommendations - I would need to know more than how well situated a hotel is before I booked. It would also be great if you could tell us how much the "hefty price" in your recommended restaurants is likely to be. If you do all of this I am sure that readers will find your guide useful and rate it higher. Thanks.

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