Tuesday, May 20

Deep South's Guide to What's Good For You in Birmingham

SEC Baseball Tournament Edition (read: Hoover-centric)

This fall, I'll have been living in the greater Birmingham area for a decade, and if there's one thing I've learned during my stay, it's that I love to eat and drink well.

Best Place to Stay for Guys - Ross Bridge Resort

4000 Grand Ave
Hoover, Alabama 35226 USA
(205) 916-7677

It's bad ass. Looks like a European castle, but with an awesome pool and championship golf. Bonus: It's romantic enough that you might even get a little extra special wife/girlfriend action.

Best Place to Stay for the Ladies -
The Wynfrey

1000 Riverchase Galleria
Hoover, Alabama 35244
(205) 987-1600

Your woman's not that into baseball? She should be ok in this Bama classy hotel attached to one of the largest malls in the southeast. This is also where SEC Football Media Days is held every year, so it's obviously not too demasculinating.

Best place for lunch - Cajun Steamer

180 Main Street
Ste. 200
Hoover, AL 35244
Phone: (205) 985 - 7785

If you like fried goodness, this is the place. It's laid back, quick and good. In central Alabama, it's the closest thing you can get to "Mother's" in NOLA.

Best Mexican - Iguana Grill (

2085 Colonial Drive, Suite 101
(In the Plaza Fiesta off Lorna Rd. in Hoover)
(205) 987-8240

Well worth it and relatively close to the stadium. Women love the atmosphere, food it great for an underwhelming price. They even give you two different types of salsa.

Best Pizza -
Tortugas (review)

2801 John Hawkins Pkwy
Hoover, AL 35244
(205) 403-9800

If you like Chicago style (real deep dish) pizza, this place is a must. A lot of native Chicagans (??) say it's as good or better than anything you can get in Ditka-ville. It's outstanding, but it can take awhile to cook. My advice: call ahead.

Best place to watch Sports -
Buffalo Wild Wings

2772 John Hawkins Parkway
Suite 100
Hoover, AL 35244

I don't think I'm gonna tell you anything new about this place. Good food (even corndog nuggets for the Bengal Tiger in you) and big screens. Sadly, I have to endorse BWW over the local Bob "Bammer" Baumhower's Wings. I'm usually not gonna steer anybody to the national chain over the local business, but Buffalo Wild Wings does it better in every aspect of the Sports Bar game and if not for the Bama fan contingent ("Gotta support Bear's Boys"), Wings would be gone baby, gone.

Best Steak -

103 Summit Boulevard,
Birmingham AL 35243
205-262-WINE (9463)

If you don't mind dropping some serious coin, this is the place for you. Ruth's Chris can't hold Fleming's loin strap. Best Steak I've Ever Had. No shit. And there is nothing in the culinary world I love more than a great cut of beef. Get the bone-in Ribeye ($42, a la carte). Very nice wine list as well.

Best All Around Fine Dining -
Highlands Bar and Grill (reviews)

2011 11th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205
(205) 939-1400

This is the top of the food chain in Birmingham. It's on the Southside, so it requires a little more effort, but it's so very worth it. See why Gourmet Mag ranked Frank Stitt's flagship Top 5 in the nation. The menu is seasonal, but it's all outstanding. Southern/French with a upscale bar scene full of Cougars waiting to pounce.

Best Place to Drink Beer and Listen to Live Music in a "Garden" -
The J. Clyde

1312 Cobb Lane
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
(205) 939-1312

The Perfect pub for those who've graduated from the typical college bar (see: Innisfree) Technically The J. Clyde is a "beer garden" because of it's awesome, lush back patio and it's bonerific two hundred some-odd available beers. I wrote more about it here.

Best Sushi -
Jensei (review)

1820 29th Ave. South (SoHo)
Homewood, AL 35209
(205) 802-1440

If the Crunchy Shrimp Roll is the extent of your Sushi experience, well you might want to skip this place, asshole. Jensei is the best, most serious Sushi establishment in Alabama. Even so, when you step in the little restaurant, you'll feel like you're in swank Manhattan. Sit at the Sushi bar (if you can find a seat anywhere) and watch these culinary ninjas kick some raw ass. You're guarenteed a happy ending at Jinsei.

Best (and only) Dueling Piano Bar -
Twist and Shout

2011 Highland Ave. S.
Birmingham, AL 35205

As you can tell, the nightlife is on the Southside of Birmingham. If you're looking for a little more entertainment than The J. Clyde can offer, walk on over to the ill-named T&S in the Five Points area (next to perennial late, late night hook up spot, Bellbottoms) T&S is a good "main event" bar for a big night out. Sandwich it between pre-gaming at a relaxed place like The J. Clyde and a late night, booze fueled "last stop on the skank-train," the aforementioned Bellbottoms.

This is meant to be an ever-expanding guide to what's good for you in Birmingham. Check back for updates as I continue to explore the surprising wealth of cool shit to do/eat in Bham.


  1. Wow, that write up almost makes me want to visit Birmingham. I usually plan my destination/length of stay by how well I can eat and drink, which explains why I've spent so much time in NOLA and Memphis.

  2. are you referring to mother's on poydras in n.o.?? b/c they are not known for their seafood by any means...although its pretty good too. they are all about ham po boys and roast beef po boys (with or without "debris").

  3. I love Mother's for its Fried Shrimp Po Boy and Gumbo. I've never tried their signature sandwich with "debris", but a friend of mine did and he was certainly a fan.

  4. great...now i'm craving mother's.

  5. I noticed you put the cajun steamer down for some fine seafood. What about the Cleveland steamer?