Where to Drink and Eat in Birmingham

Three Birmingham Bars I Love That Are Not My Own

Feizal Valli of The Atomic Lounge

Feizal Valli and his wife Rachael Roberts own and operate the Atomic Lounge in downtown Birmingham. They have earned semifinalist status from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Bar Program in 2018, 2019, and 2020. They “surprise and delight” patrons, offering exotic animal costumes to borrow for the night and serving “Sex Panther” tattoos with their signature cocktail. For Rachael and Feizal, a good bar takes genuine care of people. When Feizal recommends a bar, you know it’s worth a visit.

Marty’s P.M.

1813 10th Court South

Insta: martyspm

A late-night dive whose namesake is a local legend who passed away a few years ago. It opens at 9 pm and only gets going at 3 am. Late night food (get the patty melt) and a nice mix of service industry folks… and that bachelorette party that got kicked out of every other bar in town. On any given night expect a drag show, comedy open mic, DJ Sexpanther, or a local metal band. Don’t expect cocktails, but the beer is cold and the drinks are stiff and the service is surprisingly good.

Mayawell

4th Ave. South

Insta: mayawellbar

Ostensibly an agave bar but it’s got a little of everything. It’s dimly lit, small, cozy, and the cocktails are great. They have a food truck most nights, a rooftop lounge, and it’s a block away from Automatic Seafood, Ovenbird, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and Bettola.

Paper Doll

1st Ave. North

Insta: paperdollbar

Posh without being pretentious, hip without being trendy, it feels like a big city nightclub that’s also a neighborhood bar. A big cocktail book that also gives you the option of a simple gin and tonic and pages of great wine options.

My Birmingham

Jose Medina Camacho of Automatic Seafood and Oysters

“When I moved to Birmingham in 2013, I had a magical dining experience at the original Sol y Luna. And I thought to myself, I want to work in this kind of restaurant. Since then, the service industry has become my home. In January of 2019, I started at Automatic Seafood and Oysters. From the day we opened, I’ve been the lead bartender. And from the beginning we’ve served my ASO Martini, made with gin, fino sherry, dry vermouth, salt, bitters, and a Castelvetrano olive. The olives still have their pits in them. (An olive without a pit isn’t an olive.) It goes really well with raw seafood. I spend a lot of time behind the bar at Automatic. When I’m not there, here’s where you can find me.”

Gus’s Hotdogs
4th Ave North

Insta: thegushotdogs

I come here as much for the kind crew, as I do the dogs. I get mine with a small Grapico.

Lé Fresca
2nd Ave North

Insta: lefresca

Brand new and really great, for a cold octopus salad and a hot anchovy pizza.

Luna
Avondale

Insta: lunabirmingham

Cachapas and tostones and yucca fries. And a really fine Cuban sandwich, too.

Great Wall
Homewood

Insta: greatwallbirmingham

Ask for the Szechuan menu, and get the eggplant and be ready for numbing heat.

Bandit Patisserie
Homewood

Insta: banditbham

A great way to start the morn with Nutella pop tarts and perfect croissants.

Los Valedores
Oxmoor Road

From a cart, I order sopes or huraches with chorizo or al pastor.

Golden Age Wine Shop
Mountain Brook

Insta: goldenagewine

Look for their orange wines and natural wines. I’m fond of Duckman wines from Portugal.

Woodlawn Cycle Cafe
Woodlawn

Insta: woodlawncyclecafe

For ideal espressos, hotcakes with crème fraiche and fruit, and a strong hospitality game.

Blue Pacific at Hoover Food Mart
Hoover

A Thai restaurant in a convenience store. Get the coconut curry soup.