Huntsville, located in the northern Appalachian region of Alabama, is the state's fourth-largest city and situated almost directly between Nashville and Birmingham. Huntsville grew thanks in part to the prominent tech and aerospace sector, which means new restaurants, bars, and nighttime events are always popping up for residents and tourists. Whether you're visiting Huntsville for the city itself or just driving through on a southeast road trip, you'll be blown away by its southern charm, delicious food, and surprisingly happening bar scene.
The bar scene in Huntsville has something for everyone: beer enthusiasts, wine lovers, bourbon drinkers, you name it. Most bars are concentrated around the city center area, so if you're interested in bar hopping, that's the best place to start.
- The Voodoo Lounge: This dive bar was opened in 2007 by a local blues artist, and continues to support local musicians from all genres. It's a perfect place to enjoy a beer, play some darts, and jam out to live music.
- The Nook: Beer lovers can't go out in Huntsville without visiting The Nook, voted the best place to drink a beer in Alabama every year from 2013 to 2018. Good luck choosing from their menu of over 500 beers (and 200 whiskeys).
- Church Street Wine Shoppe: If you prefer sipping on a glass of wine, this wine store also offers tastings. In addition to an always-changing wine list, they also serve tapas-sized snacks to munch on with your drink.
- Purveyor: This hip bar is brought to you by the same owners as Church Street Wine. In addition to an outstanding wine and beer selection, they also specialize in craft cocktails—including a full two pages of the menu dedicated to bourbons.
If you're looking for comical entertainment, check out any one of the various comedy shows held in Huntsville.
- Awesome Comedy Hour: This free comedy show is held at the Open Bottle on the first Friday of every month, featuring a revolving lineup at each show.
- The Comedy Open Mic: Head to the Copper Top on Wednesday nights, where you can either see an open-mic comedy show or sign up to be on the stage yourself.
- Don't Fear the Weasel Improv: Few things are as comical as well-done improvisation. Come out to see these trained improv artists hone their craft while creating ludicrous stories off the cuff.
Festivals and Events
As the largest city in the northern Alabama area, Huntsville hosts a variety of different festivals and events throughout the year, especially during the spring and autumn when the weather is ideal. Not surprisingly, many of the events also serve local food and beverages that you won't want to miss.
- Rocket City Brewfest: As the craft beer scene in Huntsville expanded, this beer festival turned into one of the biggest events in Alabama. Held annually in May, attendees are able to try beers and ciders from the local region and nationally, all while enjoying delicious food and live music.
- Concerts on the Dock: Come out to enjoy one of these free outdoor concerts, held every Friday evening throughout spring and fall under the water tower at Lowe Mill ARTS. It's a fun way for families and friends to unwind at the end of the week. Just remember to bring lawn chairs and cold drinks.
- Crush Wine and Food Festival: This fall festival geared toward wine lovers has been voted one of the top events to visit in the southeastern United States. Come out for a weekend of trying chardonnays, pinots, cabernets, and all others. Food trucks are also on-site to satisfy your hunger cravings.
- Panopoly Arts Festival: On the last weekend in April, Huntsville celebrates its biggest annual festival. Panopoly celebrates art, handicrafts, music, and food and drinks from the region and beyond. It's a fun outdoor weekend for the whole family or groups of friends, and there is plenty going on to keep everyone entertained.
Tips for Going Out in Huntsville
- Bars generally close at 2 a.m. in Huntsville when they are no longer able to serve alcohol.
- There is a public transit shuttle in Huntsville, but it stops running at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on Saturdays. For late-night transport, you're best options are to call a cab company or use a rideshare app like Uber Lyft.