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Photograph: Mama Roux's
Photograph: Mama Roux'sPhotograph: Mama Roux's

The 25 best bars in Birmingham

From mead specialists and organic wine connoisseurs to American-inspired drinking dens, here’s Birmingham's best bars

Written by
James Brennan
Kayleigh Watson

While Birmingham loves a good, old-fashioned pub, it’s also a thriving location for an array of incredible bars. From laidback establishments to those who take a novel theme to the extreme, there’s never been a better time to grab a small-batch artisanal gin, top-notch glass of wine, or showstopping cocktail in the second city.

Fancy supping a whisky whilst getting a fresh trim? Looking for an obscure craft beer to enjoy while you play pinball? Well, lucky you, as you're about to hit the jackpot. Prepare to discover hidden speakeasies, restaurant drinking dens, neon-decked establishments plus a bunch of new and exciting bars opening their doors; Birmingham has it all - and then some.  

Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.

Best bars in Birmingham

40 St Paul’s
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

Proclaimed World Gin Bar of the Year in 2019 by Gin Magazine, 40 St Paul’s proudly presents no fewer than 140 of the very finest gins available to humanity. Overlooking St Paul’s Church on the last remaining Georgian square in Birmingham, it’s a cosy and intimate spot with just 24 seats, so you might want to book ahead. 

During the industrial revolution, Birmingham was known as ‘the city of 1,000 trades’, and this hip hangout in a listed building in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter is all about craft. From craft beers to natural organic wines, the bar is thoughtfully stocked with artisanal goodies. The same philosophy applies to the kitchen residencies, DJs and artwork adorning the exposed brick walls: everything is local, expertly crafted and proudly presented as the very best of Brum.


A favourite of the Mailbox crowd, Aluna has established itself as the perfect post-dinner pre-party setting. It’s all in the theatricality, as mixologists serve with relish and aplomb: whether it’s fire, smoke or a humble glowstick that takes your fancy, there is plenty of fun on the menu. While cocktails are definitely the star of the show, there’s also a generous collection of wines and tasty pan-Asian cuisine should you need a nibble. 

When is an art gallery not an art gallery? When it’s a Spanish tapas bar, antiques showroom, luxury watch shop and cocktail bar as well. The wonderfully eccentric and slightly bonkers Ana Rocha Bar & Gallery is all things to all cultured people, and a real gem in the Jewellery Quarter. Float up its red carpet and drink it all in.

Bacchus Bar
  • Bars and pubs

Bacchus makes the grade thanks to its sheer wackiness. It’s one of those places that’s always fun to duck into with a visiting friend, if only to watch their reaction to the extravagant décor within. The bar is tucked away on the basement floor of the Burlington Arcade, a complex of hotels and shops in the centre of town, which is located on one of Birmingham’s oldest streets. Dating back to 1398, this is a pub that’s taken the historical theme of the area and run wild with it. 

Another well-kept secret of Digbeth, Wine Freedom brings a grounded yet sophisticated alternative to the plethora of cocktail bars around. With a mantra of ‘fresher, cleaner, greener’, it is Wine Freedom’s prerogative to source natural, organic wine for Michelin-starred restaurants and the punters of their own warehouse venue. Doubling up as a wine school as well as providing a delivery service of freshly-bottled goods, there’s something for all to dip into: their orange offerings offer an alternative twist.


With locations scattered across the country, we’re sure you’ve heard of The Botanist by now, but if not, you’re in for a treat. They take what they do seriously, and by ‘seriously’ we’re talking taste and portion size; the hanging kebabs (yep, it’s just what it sounds like) are a firm favourite. The liquid offerings are similarly generous, with cocktails divided into ‘fruit and floral’, ‘fresh and herbaceous’ and ‘citrus and spice’ – a winner for all tastebuds.

Oozing sophistication and style, The Edgbaston is a boutique hotel in an Edwardian townhouse that boasts three stunning cocktail lounges. Attention to detail is the order of the day, with sleek art-deco finishes and an extensive selection of the world’s finest spirits. The bartenders are effortlessly knowledgeable but good-humoured and the range of signature and classic cocktails will make you wonder whether you’re in Brum or 1920s New York.


Craft beer, all-day breakfasts, burgers, coffee, cakes – you can get it all at Cherry Reds. This favourite independent spot in a listed building on historic John Bright Street is marvellously homely, despite its quirkiness. It’s part bar, part café and part living room. And with its goldfish bowl windows looking out on the street, it’s also a great place to kill some time and people-watch.

A city can never have enough gin bars and sometimes it’s the hidden ones we are most thankful for. The Gin Vault is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it basement bar that can only be accessed by a canalside door. Inside, it’s all rough wood panels and exposed brickwork, but some clever lighting really warms the place up, as does the live music during the weekends. 


This is a glorious pub and restaurant, but arguably an even better place to make a pitstop for a potent cocktail or two. Located in a grand former bank, the drinks menu changes seasonally. That means you may have to make the most of your current favourite drink while it’s still available, but the ever-shifting options are all part of the fun. 

The Loft
  • Bars and pubs

Perfectly placed in the vicinity of Chinatown and the Gay Village, The Loft is a fun bar that provides the perfect launchpad for a night on the town. The atmosphere is relaxed during the day and early evening, giving way to high-energy revels on the weekend. Cocktails are the big pull here, with a two-for-one deal running all day Sunday to Friday. 


Until its closure back in 2017, multi-venue behemoth The Rainbow was well-renowned for its raves, gigs and street parties across its pub, warehouses and outdoor arena. Back with a bang and a hefty refurb at the end of 2021, traditional aesthetics and plush velvet update its pub interior whilst street art and an impressive light show adorns its live music basement - another venue for upcoming acts in Birmingham. They serve a sturdy ale alongside a fully vegan street food menu, but it’s their extensive cocktail list that is the main surprise; take a punt on a ‘Custard Factory’ in homage to their Digbeth home.

A new addition to the Birmingham scene, Luna Springs has popped up near to Digbeth’s famed Custard Factory. The outdoor venue is the perfect place for catching some rays in the (supposed) heat of summer. With a calendar of events ranging from disco to bingo, and with street food on hand, it’s a great place to hang out and work your way through the cocktails that come with the bottomless brunch.


Found at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham, Madeleine Bar befits the name of its surroundings: think dark wood interiors, red velvet seating and low-hanging chandeliers. In the midst of the glamour, Madeleine’s menu covers the classics as well as a clutch of house numbers plus a selection of quirky snacks. 

Located a few doors down from Birmingham’s Post Office Vaults, Fox and Chance is a new bar renovated from abandoned adults shops a short distance from Grand Central Station. With its name nodding to the city’s historical industrial entrepreneurs, the bar aspires to be as welcoming as a local pub while delivering both classic cocktails and more ingenious creations; try Stone Fence, which mixes whisky, maple syrup and cider.


The former locale of perhaps Birmingham’s most renowned street food venture, Digbeth Dining Club, Mama Roux’s wears a lot of hats. It’s a hub for live music and a great destination for a bevvy with pals while you chow down on the rotating array of guest street food vendors. 

A classy affair found on Birmingham’s Waterfront, Noel’s Bar has found the sweet spot between being a high-end experience in a relaxed setting. It delivers delightfully arranged Mediterranean-inspired dishes but its cocktails are worthy of their own praise; petal-strewn, decadent and a pleasing size, they are pulled from a colourful palette and an extensive menu that stretches to all manner of gin, wine, whisky and tequila.


A recent addition to the Great Western Arcade, The Pineapple Club is as cute as they come. Palm leaves and pink abound, its interior has a nostalgic feel whilst its menus pay homage to Miami; from paella and tapas to zingy numbers like Fever 105 and Candy Club Punch, it’s certainly laid back. Keeping with the independent theme, it also stocks a range of craft gin and mead.

Have you ever wanted to up the ante of relaxation by supping whisky while getting a haircut? Well, Digbeth’s Stag has arrived to leave you feeling all kinds of fresh for the weekend. Doubling up as a bar and coffee house as well as a barbershop, the establishment has DJs and live music in its repertoire as well as delivering a sharp trim. And with zesty cocktails such as Barbicide on the menu, the place makes it very easy indeed to stick around.


Quietly located out in Hockley near Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, The Wolf is a favourite that escapes the oft-times hustle and bustle of Digbeth on the opposite side of the city. A family-run business that opened in 2017, the bar brings great cask ales and a rotating - though very extensive - menu set to keep the city’s patrons on their toes. Think grapefruit-laced beer, locally sourced favourites, and nationwide signatures on tap: consider it your British ale bar crawl, all from one seat.

Purecraft Bar & Kitchen
  • Restaurants

Despite offering more than 100 beers, yes, really, Purecraft is as popular with Brum’s gin-swigging contingent as it is for business lunches or post-work ales. With local legends Purity Brewing on board, the beer is unsurprisingly served right every time, and the drinks list includes a blackboard that’s chock full of tasty surprises. 


Are you the sort that finds it difficult to commit when spoiled for choice? With more than 100 wines on the menu, Vagabond certainly fulfils that. A wine bar unlike any other, what makes Vagabond unique is its ‘self-pour’ option, which means visitors can simply top up their card and pour a glass (or a pint of its recently introduced craft beer). Never fear, however; with dedicated advisors on hand to help, they’ll whittle down the range to suit your individual tastes in no time.

A bar dedicated to pinball? There has to be a twist. And there is, because as well as a flashing, bashing collection of some 20 modern and retro machines, this City Arcade bar is a wizard when it comes to craft beer, speciality coffee and loose leaf teas. Whether you’re twitching the flippers on a 1993 ‘Twilight Zone’ table or wetting your whistle with something rare and tasty, you’ll be guaranteed to want a replay.


After The Pineapple Club, you may be left wondering if you need more pink in your life. Of course you do! And the ace bar Tonight Josephine is happy to oblige. Unapologetically fabulous, it boasts themed bottomless brunches, afternoon teas and burlesque evenings. Whatever the time of day, make good on your surroundings and go for a classic pornstar martini.

Next, why not try a local boozer?

The 16 best pubs in Birmingham
  • Bars and pubs

Whether it’s a cheeky half you’re after, some delicious pub grub or a lazy afternoon sipping classic ales, drinking at one of the best pubs in Birmingham is a quintessential Brummie experience. These are the city’s best boozers of all.

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