Nightlife in Birmingham, England: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

Night view of brick buildings alongside a water channel in the central Birmingham, England.

trabantos/Getty Images

Birmingham may not have the glitz of London or the high-energy of Manchester, but this Midlands city still loves a good night out. There's tons to do once the sun sets, from nightclubs to cocktail bars to artsy theaters, and even those not looking to go too crazy will find something that catches their fancy. While Birmingham's city center is lively, filled with pubs and restaurants, many of the city's other neighborhoods welcome evening visitors. Head to the Gas Street Basin or Digbeth to seek out a hip bar, or venture to the Jewellery Quarter for some late-night dining. Birmingham is also well-known for its love of live music, which can be found in venues all over the city.

Whether you're looking for a low-key night with a pint or two at the corner pub or a raging party at one of the big clubs, Birmingham has something for every taste.

Bars and Pubs

Birmingham's industrial history means that there are lot of a cool new cocktail bars that have recently popped up in older buildings. The city has a thriving bar scene, and, of course, it is also home to dozens of classic British pubs, including some seriously historic spots. The city center is filled with options, as are the Gas Street Basin, Digbeth, and the Jewellery Quarter. But almost any neighborhood in Birmingham will have a great local pub. Bars and pubs tend to close by midnight in England, so many locals opt to start their nights early, often right after work. On the weekends, some bars will keep things going until 1 a.m. Here are the can't-miss bars and pubs:

  • The Botanist: The Botanist is one of Birmingham's favorite cocktail bars, serving drinks and food daily. The cocktails are fresh, innovative takes on classics, and the bar is also known for its vast gin selection. If you don't imbibe, don't worry: there are several non-alcoholic cocktails and beers on offer.
  • Bacchus Bar: Located in the heart of Birmingham, Bacchus Bar is an eclectic spot with themed rooms (think Egyptian and medieval). The bar also serves pub fare if you're hungry.
  • 52 Gas Street: Head toward the canal to find 52 Gas Street, a chic bar that was once a gun factory. Enjoy a classic cocktail and be sure to stop by on the weekends for live music on Acoustic Saturdays.
  • One Trick Pony Club: One Trick Pony Club, in Moseley Village, has a sports bar vibe, with games on the TVs, delicious burgers, and a lot of socializing. The drinks menu is extensive, with everything from craft brews to creative cocktails.
  • The Old Crown: This Grade II-listed pub dates back to the 14th century and has a real community feel. Head in for an evening meal or grab a late-night drink (the pub is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
  • Dig Brew Co.: Found in Digbeth, Dig Brew Co. serves up limited edition craft brews. The taproom, which has pizza for sale for hungry boozers, is open on weekends only.

Nightclubs

Birmingham has no shortage of nightclubs and it's no wonder, as the Midlands city is known as a party spot. There are a lot of venues to pick from when going out for a night dancing, including happening gay clubs and posh, upscale nightclubs. Here are some of the most popular:

  • The Night Owl: The music varies at The Night Owl, from soul to retro to Hawaiian bop, but the energy is constant. The club, found just outside the center of town, is open Friday through Sunday until 4 a.m., so you can keep the party going late.
  • Nightingale Club: Boasting three floors and five bars, Nightingale is Birmingham's oldest and largest LGBTQ+ club.
  • Snobs: For some indie and alt-pop music, head to Snobs, Birmingham's most popular alternative nightclub. It hosts regular nights, as well as special one-off events.
  • Bambu: Bambu is Birmingham's most exclusive nightclub, with high-end booths and pricy drinks. Purchase tickets online in advance.
  • The Mill: The Mill, located in Digbeth, hosts DJ club nights and live music, as well as themed events.

Late-Night Restaurants

Typically, restaurants in England don't stay open particularly late (even in London). Pubs usually stop serving food around 10 p.m., so it can be tricky to find a good meal any later than that. Still, Birmingham has a few options for those who want to satisfy a late-night craving.

  • Bodega Cantina: Bodega Cantina, a fun South American eatery, serves food until 11 p.m. on the weekends, perfect for those looking for a centrally-located spot for a snack.
  • Pushkar Cocktail Bar & Dining: Enjoy some modern North Indian dishes at Pushkar, which stays open until 11 p.m. every day of the week. There's also a very cool cocktail bar and a nicely-curated wine list available for patrons.
  • Ulysses Greek Restaurant: The party goes on until 1 a.m. at Ulysses, in Gay Village. Come for the classic dishes, which include chicken souvlaki and keftedes, and stay for the belly dancers and live music.
  • Flight Club Birmingham: Flight Club is a happening darts club and bar, but they also serve food until 11 p.m. It's great for indulgent dishes like nachos, pizza, fries, and more, and groups can book package deals to include food and booze.
  • Sabai Sabai: For a quick bite before 11 p.m., head to one of Sabai Sabai's three locations around Birmingham. The Thai restaurant has all of the requisite dishes, for reasonable prices. They also offer take-away.
Jessie J performs onstage headlining at the end of the 2nd day of Fusion Festival 2014 on August 31, 2014 in Birmingham, England.

Ollie Millington/Getty Images

Live Music and Festivals

Birmingham attracts a lot of live music, of all genres. The city is host to several annual music festivals, including MADE Festival, Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, and Supersonic Festival. It also boasts numerous music venues. Check the calendars at O2 Academy Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge, Custard Factory, The Night Owl, and Lab 11 to see what's upcoming around town. For classical music, Symphony Hall is a great place to see a performance, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra frequently does pop-up performances in unexpected venues throughout the city.

Comedy Clubs

Birmingham boasts several comedy clubs, including the very popular Glee Club, which brings together a lot of British comedians. Most of the comedy clubs tend to host acts from around the U.K., although some of the bigger theaters will have international comics on the calendar.

  • The Glee Club: There are several Glee Clubs throughout the U.K., with the Birmingham venue being the first to open in 1994. It hosts comedy nights and music shows, and many big-name comics will stop by for warm-up shows.
  • Just the Tonic Comedy Club: Just the Tonic, located in the Gas Street Basin area, offers an ongoing calendar of comedy nights with primarily British acts.
  • Fat Penguin Comedy Club: Fat Penguin, a weekly, crowd-funded comedy night, is a great spot to see up-and-coming and established comics alike. It's free entry, with a recommended donation.
  • The Rose Villa Tavern: Jewellery Quarter pub The Rose Villa Tavern hosts regular comedy nights alongside regular quizzes.

Theater and Live Performances

Drinking or dancing the night away not your thing? No worries. Birmingham has plenty to offer every type of visitor late into the evening. The city has a massive, thriving theater and dance scene, with lots of plays, musicals, and performances to pick from. Check out the calendar at the Birmingham Hippodrome, which hosts everything from ballet to opera to pantomime, or head to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which puts on plays for visitors all ages. Other theaters include The Alexandra, The Old Rep Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre, and The Old Joint Stock.

Birmingham is also home to many great movie theaters, many of which have an arthouse vibe. Look for Everyman Mailbox Birmingham, The Mockingbird Bar and Theatre, and the Electric Cinema, which is the oldest working cinema in the U.K. Alternatively, book a lane at Lane7, an upscale bowling alley that also has arcade games and karaoke.

Tips For Going Out in Birmingham

  • Many of Birmingham's bus routes operate a night bus schedule, while the Tram runs just past midnight on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on Saturdays. Check the schedule online to ensure you don't miss the last Tram. If you prefer not to take public transportation late at night, look for taxis or order an Uber.
  • Tipping is included when dining at restaurants, pubs, and in some bars (usually where you have table service). The traditional amount is a 12.5 percent service charge added to your bill, and any additional tip isn't necessary. In bars, pubs, and nightclubs it's customary to add a few pounds onto your total when paying for drinks if it's not included. Tips can be added to a credit or debit card payment in most venues, although it's nice to have a few pounds in cash available just in case.
  • The drinking age in England is 18 years old, so you must be at least 18 to drink in public in Birmingham. Drinking outside and on transportation is legal unless otherwise stated. Be sure to check that it's allowed on public transportation before cracking open a beer.
Was this page helpful?