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.
1813 10th Court South
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.
4th Ave. South
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.
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.”
From a cart, I order sopes or huraches with chorizo or al pastor.
A Thai restaurant in a convenience store. Get the coconut curry soup.