A GUEST DIRECTORY Birmingham Metro Area 2012-2013
In Birmingham, you never know what you’ll find yourself up to—but you do know it will be nothing less than extraordinary. An afternoon at Alabama Adventure or Barber Motorsports Park and Museum will quicken your pulse. A tee time on one of our award-winning golf courses will challenge your competitive spirit. A visit to the McWane Science Center will electrify your mind. A tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will touch your heart. While you’re here, whether you’re sitting down at one of our nationally known chef-owned dining rooms or standing in the shadow of the world’s largest cast iron statue, prepare to have your expectations raised. For more information visit us at inbirmingham.com. GREATER BIRMINGHAM CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • 800.458.8085 • INBIRMINGHAM.COM
1800 broiler . ยบ 180 difference. ยบ
Our steaks are cooked in a special 1800ยบ broiler to seal in the natural juices and lock in that delicious flavor.
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Private party facilities for 10 to 300.
Birmingham | 205.879.9995 2300 Woodcrest Place at the Embassy Suites ruthschris.com
BIRMINGHAM’S PREMIER DANCE CLUB
LARGEST WITH THE
LIGHT SHOW AND
SOUND SYSTEM IN ALABAMA
COOL DOWN THE DANCE FLOOR!
SCAN TAG DOWNSTAIRS TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
GET THE FREE APP HTTP://GETTAG.MOBI
WITH GREAT WINES, IMPORTED BEER AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
FREE VALET FOR ALL · 21 & UP · SECURITY · DAILY DRINK & SHOT SPECIALS FROZEN DRINKS · ILLUMINATED BAR TOPS · REFLECTIVE DANCE FLOOR · LIVE DJ
IN THE HEART OF 5 POINTS (ACROSS FROM STARBUCKS)
BIRMINGHAM’S ONLY LOCAL PRIME STEAKHOUSE We have teamed up with Meats By Linz, a family operated beef purveyor out of Chicago. Together, we are bringing our guests a premier product line that is known as Premium Gold Angus Beef. Absolutely no artificial growth hormones or antibiotics are used. All of our steaks are hand cut in house and cooked under an 1800 degree specialty broiler. VIP HAPPY HOUR
MONDAY-FRIDAY 4-6PM & 9PM-MIDNIGHT (HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS IN BAR ONLY)
$5 Liquor Drinks including: $2 Off All Draft Beer (18 on Tap) Absolut, Jack Daniels, Tanqueray, 1/2 Price Wines by the Glass Cruzan, Dewar’s and Jose Cuervo. 1/2 Price MP Steak Burgers
METROPRIMESTEAK.COM 205.623.5288 1035 20TH STREET SOUTH BIRMINGHAM, AL 35205 MONDAY – SATURDAY (BAR OPEN LATER) HAPPY HOUR: MONDAY – FRIDAY SUNDAY BRUNCH
4PM – 11PM 4PM – 6PM 11AM – 4PM
SCAN TAG FOR DIRECTIONS
contributors Julie Mann – Writer
Jenny Adams – Writer
Jenny Adams is a freelance writer, living part of the year in Birmingham and part in the East Village in New York. She specializes in writing about cocktails, nightlife, food and travel, and you can find her work in Food & Wine, Budget Travel, Men’s Journal, and Coastal Living. She also pens a monthly column on great places to grab a drink around the globe for the Miami Herald. Her side hobbies include traveling, eating, drinking and generally making merriment. You can contact her at www.jennyadamsfreelance.com
Zade Shamsi-Basha – Photographer
Zade is an up and coming player in the world of Birmingham photography. He has photographed for several metropolitan and state magazines and his work has taken him on assignment to Canada and Europe. He is currently a student at Birmingham-Southern College majoring in Political Science.
Larry O. Gay – Photographer
Josh Miller – Writer
Josh Miller works on and off with the EXCURSIONS crew, writing and editing to help bring the book’s stories to life. For the Birmingham edition, Josh interviewed local chef George Reis, the culinary mastermind behind Ocean and 26. “Interviewing George was a great experience,” Josh remembers. “In the same breath, he is fiercely passionate and yet completely down-to-earth about his food. And boy, can he cook!” When Josh isn’t writing for EXCURSIONS, he spends his creative energy brainstorming fun culinary projects for KitchenMischief.com, a biweekly food blog he co-authors.
Rachel Davis – Copy Editor
Rachel Davis is a 2005 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She currently freelance writes and edits from her home near Birmingham.
Michael Clemmer –
Nate Dreger –
The work of golf landscape photographer, Michael Clemmer [pages 80-83] who lives in Birmingham, appears in all the national golf magazines. michaelclemmer.com, is consistently rated by Google & Bing as one of the top four websites for golf course photography in the world.
Nate Dreger is a freelance audio engineer and amateur photographer based in Birmingham, AL, where he has lived for the past 10 years. A frequent traveler, Nate has shot all over the world, but still finds plenty of inspiration in the Birmingham area. He can be reached via www. natedreger.com.
Larry is a freelance photographer who pursued a formal education with a double major in Commercial Art and Photography from Bessemer Technical College in Bessemer, Alabama. He loves to photograph a wide variety images, anything from scenic, nature, architecture, citylife, people, abstracts, events and historic photos. Larry takes inspiration from many great photographers including Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell and Eudora Welty. Follow him on Facebook to see his recent works or on his website at www.gay2. gotfamiliesonline.com.
A Montgomery implant, Julie has called Birmingham home for more than ten years. Working for several arts and cultural attractions in town including the Birmingham Museum of Art and Birmingham Civil Rights Institue has given her an up close view of the city she now calls home. A freelance writer by night, she loves disclosing the hidden gems she’s found along the way in her Magic City.
Stephen McGhee – Writer
Stephen McGhee is a freelance writer living in the Birmingham area. He most recently served as editor of Birmingham Works! magazine and also edited and designed the regional publication Fore: The South’s Golfing Monthly.
Padraic Major –
Padraic Major, is a highly committed and professional freelance photographer based in Central Alabama. His passion for people and photography makes him sensitive to the natural beauty that is all around and he captures that in every picture. His talent as a photographer has taken him around the world. He photographs for a broad-spectrum of American business, industry, weddings, environmental portraits, and sporting events. For the past ten years, he has been covering NASCAR races at the Talladega Superspeedway for the Associated Press. His work has been published in Street and Smith Sports Annuals, Winston Cup Scene and major sporting websites. His corporate client list includes: ESPN Regional Television, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, The City of Birmingham, Alabama Sports Foundation, Buffalo Rock, Miller Coors, Ford Motor Co. and NASCAR Public Relations Department. • Official Photographer Magic City Classic 2000, 2003, 2006-2009 • Official Photographer PapaJohns.com Bowl 2006-2010 • Official Photographer Meac Swac Challenge 2005-2010 • Official Photographer 76 Basketball Classic 2009 • Official Photographer SWAC Football Championship 2009
Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
Jeffrey Rease – Photographer
is a photographer and an art director in Birmingham, AL. He has a wide variety of award-winning photography in his portfolio, ranging from sports and landscapes to natural light lifestyle portraits of children, teens, models and families. Visit his website at www.jeffrease.com.
Mary Thompson – Photographer
Mary Thompson graduated from UAB with a degree in communication studies in 2004 and is now pursuing her master of library and information science degree at the University of Denver. Although she is a librarian, Mary does not wear glasses or believe in shushing and she only has one cat.
Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen is an active rental retirement community with independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite accommodations. The community offers maintenance-free living complemented by resort-style amenities and restaurant-style dining. Services include weekly housekeeping and linen service, social and educational events, and scheduled transportation. Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen exclusively incorporates Masterpiece Living into its culture by providing residents an opportunity to create their own plan for aging successfully. Residents are offered a defined health care benefit program and receive priority access to on-site assisted living, memory care and respite accommodations, if ever needed. The community is owned and managed by Somerby Senior Living, the senior living services subsidiary of Dominion Partners, located in Birmingham, Alabama. The principals of Dominion Partners, headquartered in Birmingham, have been actively involved in the ownership and development of senior living communities for more than 20 years, including communities located in Alpharetta, Ga., Mobile, Al., and Mt. Pleasant, SC. 200 One Nineteen Blvd. Birmingham, AL 35242 Call 205.408.6005 or visit www.somerbyatstvincents.com for more information.
welcome PUBLISHER’S LETTER
elcome to the third edition of EXCURSIONS – A Guest Directory for Birmingham Metro. This edition is packed full of the best our town has to offer in dining, shopping, attractions and night life. I invite you to visit as many of our sponsors
as possible during your stay. Each year we strive to bring you relevant information about our city, our sponsors and our people. In 2011, we lost an Alabama icon, Kathryn Tucker Windham. Mrs. Windham’s books were among the most read in elementary schools all across our state and I recall vividly the stories she wrote about Alabama and its ghosts. It was probably during this time that I discovered a love for reading and sharing stories. It is, therefore, fitting that I dedicate this edition of EXCURSIONS to the memory of Kathryn Tucker Windham. Her influence on Alabama culture will be forever treasured. September 2010, Railroad Park opened and has become the epicenter for residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors in an urban setting. Be sure to read Jenny Adams’ article about Railroad Park. We are particularly proud of this edition because it boasts the greatest number of advertisers and sponsors than any past edition. We are so thankful to our advertisers and sponsors for investing in this publication and we hope that you will let them know that you saw their advertisements in
EXCURSIONS. We are also very grateful to our hotel partners for placing EXCURSIONS in your guestroom. I would also like to thank Mr. Jim Smither, President of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau for suggesting that we create this publication three years ago. His belief and support of all the services CityVision provides to the traveling community is invaluable and greatly appreciated. Most of all, my staff and I would like to thank you for reading EXCURSIONS. We hope that we have provided you with a tremendous number of recommendations for how to spend your free time while visiting Birmingham. Please visit us again soon. Safe travels!
Brent Boyd PUBLISHER
Follow me on Twitter @CityVisionInc
ON THE COVER:
Birmingham’s Railroad Park offers spectacular views of the city and a beautiful location for events and festivals. photography by Brent Boyd
8 Of Stage and Page
Kathryn tucker Windham shaped Alabama with her words.
10 The Magic City’s Heart of Green
Railroad Park honors the past, while promising big things for the future.
14 Main Attractions
the Birmingham Metro area offers a broad range of attractions worth getting out of your hotel room.
22 Performing Arts
No longer an industrial giant, Birmingham’s new “magic” is in the thriving arts community.
28 Get Ready, Get Set, Shop! this town offers shoppers a run for their money.
36 Groomed for Greatness
Butler’s Grooming helps you step up your style in a space designed with a man in mind.
38 Magic City Charm
Birmingham’s neighborhoods and suburbs vary as widely as their visitors and offer something for every taste, interest and personality.
54 An Ocean of Flavor Chef George Reis serves seafood in style.
56 Love at First Bite
From casual dives to some of the country’s best fine dining, Birmingham’s culinary hotspots are sure to delight.
two spots worth visiting in the Magic City.
72 Birmingham Nightlife From cocktails and cigars to live music and beer, find the spot that’s perfect for you.
80 Southern Draws
Alabama’s prestigious golf courses and state parks offer a variety of fun — and challenges — for all.
86 Annual Events
From art shows, parades, music festivals and football to bass fishing, NASCAR and motocross, Birmingham has something every month of the year.
EXCURSIONS – A Guest Directory is published annually and is a registered service mark of CityVision, Inc., 3021 Sixth Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233. (205) 595-0809. Copyright 2012-13 by CityVision, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission of CityVision, Inc.
Of Stage & Page Kathryn Tucker Windham Shaped Alabama with Her Words
he was the definition of storytelling.” That is one of the ways Dolores Hydock, acclaimed actress and storyteller, remembers the Alabama legend, Kathryn Tucker Windham. There are other things that come to light when Hydock speaks about her friend—memories of her standing on stage for hours without so much as a notecard, unraveling stories that kept thousands spellbound time and time again. There are memories of Windham’s humble home and quick wit, and of her encouraging nature. For Alabamians, and many far beyond our state, Windham is remembered as a prolific author, a talented photographer and one of the last great, old-fashioned storytellers, capturing even a generation plied by iPods and cellphones. When Kathryn Tucker Windham passed away in June of 2011 at the age of 93, she left behind a legacy for the state of Alabama and these parting words from her last moments on stage. “Everybody here has stories to tell…to tell to someone you love. And now is the time to tell them.” Her craft of storytelling let the public in on who she was as a person. Her devotion to journalism, photography, writing and rhetoric let the world in on her prowess far beyond the Alabama state lines.
Her Early Years
Kathryn Tucker was born to Helen Gaines Tucker and James Wilson Tucker on an early June day in 1918 at the Union Street Hospital in Selma. Although the couple lived in Thomasville, some 60 miles southwest, they made the trek to a larger city for better hospital facilities. “My grandmother came up to Selma from her home in Thomasville a month in advance of mother’s birth,” explains Kathryn’s daughter, Dilcy Hilley. “My grandfather’s first wife, Annie, died in childbirth with my mother’s halfbrother, Wilson. Her father married Annie’s younger sister Helen, and he didn’t want to take any chances with pregnancy complications.” Kathryn quickly made a name for herself in the world, starting at the tender age of 12, when she landed her first job reviewing movies for The Thomasville Times. 8 EXCURSIONS
In typical small-town fashion, the paper was owned by Earl Tucker, Kathryn’s cousin. Earl paid her for her movie reviews with free tickets to more movies. Her early home life was also devoted to writing and rhetoric. Growing up as the youngest, Kathryn loved listening to her father, James, a banker by trade and a great storyteller by talent. “When you look at her role models, I’d say she felt inspired by Julia Tutwiler, and she was close to her older brothers,” offers Jake Reiss, close friend and owner of the Homewood bookstore, Alabama Booksmith— where Windham would later often host book signings. “But her daddy…man, he was her biggest hero in the world.” She made her hero proud, no doubt, when she graduated in 1935 from Thomasville High School as valedictorian of her class. The following fall, she moved to Montgomery for college. “Money was scarce in her family during that time,” offers Hilley. “My mother’s father, James Wilson Tucker, had been president of the Bank of Thomasville, which of course dissolved with the onset of The Depression. Mother was fortunate to get a scholarship to attend Huntingdon College.” Kathryn minored in history and majored in English, joining the honorary literary society known as Chi Delta Phi. She edited the college newspaper as well, and, it probably wasn’t a huge surprise, when she graduated in 1939 and began looking for a job in serious journalism. What would surprise the world was her choice of coverage.
The Alabama Journalist
She took a job at The Alabama Journal in Montgomery as a reporter and became the first female to cover the police beat for a major daily. While her talents definitely helped her succeed at the role, she was aided in landing the job by another force. During these years, the second World War was quickly stripping America of its male workforce. Kathryn filled shoes no woman before her had been allowed to occupy. As the war escalated, Kathryn moved to Birmingham and accepted the role of publicity director for the Alabama War Bond Committee from 1942 to 1944. She devoted the subsequent two years to work-
By Jenny Adams
in memoriam ing for The Birmingham News as a reporter, and would—during those years—meet her future husband, Amasa Windham. Amasa, an acclaimed reporter, had, like so many others, been pulled overseas to Japan to serve in the Navy. Their daughter, Dilcy, remembers a humorous anecdote about the way her parents finally met. “Mother said when she started work there, all she heard was, ‘Amasa this,’ and ‘Amasa that.’ And ‘Oh, won’t we be glad when Amasa gets home,’” Hilley explains. “He was widely adored by friends and co-workers. Mother said she was sick to death of hearing about Amasa. One afternoon while she was working away at her typewriter, the elevator doors opened at The Birmingham News, and out stepped a dashing man in full white Navy regalia. Everyone in the newsroom jumped up and went running to greet Amasa, who had finally come home from the war. My mother continued typing while everybody else fawned over him.” Amasa was apparently smitten with Kathryn from the onset, yet his first attempts to ask her out were met with blatant rejection. According to Hilley, when Windham asked Tucker to join him and his friends for a drink after work, she replied coldly, “I wouldn’t be the least bit interested.” “My daddy joined the staff of The Birmingham News upon his return,” Hilley continues. “One day he sent a copy boy over to deliver a note to my mother. It read: ‘Would you be the least bit interested in joining me for dinner tonight?’ Three months later they were married.” Kathryn and Amasa had three children—Kathryn Tabb (Kitti) Windham of Selma, Amasa Benjamin (Ben) Windham of Tuscaloosa and Helen Ann (Dilcy) Windham Hilley of Birmingham—and when he died of a heart attack in 1956, Kathryn was faced with the role of single mother. True to form, she tackled the job head on, even turning the hard lessons into enlightening journalism through a weekly column called “Around Our House.” The column was so popular, it was syndicated in newspapers across the state. From 1959 until 1973, Windham served The Selma Times-Journal as a reporter. She won several Associated Press awards for reporting and photography, and, through her lens and her words, the world got a glimpse of the racial turmoil of the state and the South. “She was an accomplished photographer,” recalls her publisher, editor and friend Randall Williams. “The first thing many people would notice about her was that she was an extremely curious woman. She had a highly evolved sense of curiosity about people, the world she lived in, her home state and her home region. That curiosity showed up in her work as a journalist, I’m sure, and it definitely showed up in her books that I had the fortune to read and edit.”
A Place in the Spotlight
Kathryn Tucker Windham’s body of work brought her dual recognition. She published 29 books before her death, and she also took to the stage hundreds of times to perform, starting in the late 1960s. She would continue to speak professionally right up until her death. “She connected with an audience whether there were 20 people in the room or 200. She was always generous with her time and talent,” recalls actress, fellow friend and storyteller, Dolores Hydock. Hydock met Kathryn in 1974 at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. “My story-telling style is very different from hers, because I didn’t grow up in same environment or in the South,” offers Hydock. “There’s a sittin’ on the porch, rockin’ and talkin’ style of storytelling. That was Kathryn’s. She loved to engage people with the events of the day.” Nearly two dozen appearances at that festival followed for Kathryn, and her lifetime would include recounting beautiful, moving,
personal truths to audiences in 28 states, as well as overseas. Her best-selling books, centered around unique subjects, felt close at home for Kathryn and for her daughter, Dilcy. She wrote several titles pertaining to a spirit that lived in her Selma home—a ghost named Jeffrey. Her ghost stories became modern classics for Alabama children and adults, alike. Jeffrey was a very real, very lasting presence in the Windham house in Selma. “In the mid-1960s … Mother decided she would write a cookbook. Treasured Alabama Recipes became an instant big seller, largely because of the stories that accompanied the family collection of recipes. About this same time, unexplained occurrences began in our house,” recalls her daughter, Dilcy Hilley. “I was the only child still at home, my older sister and brother by then off at college. One afternoon, Mother and I were in the kitchen rolling out cookie dough. At that very moment we heard a ruckus in the living room unlike anything I’ve ever heard since, loud and scratching noises that seemed to come not from one particular area of the room, but rather from a room filled completely with an unsettling sound. We looked at each other, startled, and moved quickly to investigate. At the first movement of the doors, the room became totally silent. No, eerily silent. We went back into the kitchen. As soon as the dough was almost thin enough to make acceptably crisp cookies, it began again, this time louder and with more force than before as if the room was holding an earthquake within its walls. In the weeks and months that followed, the unaccountable goings-on continued. We were amazed, entertained and puzzled, but we were never frightened.”
The Final Chapter
Amazed, entertained and puzzled are all actually fitting when looking back at the life and work of Kathryn Tucker Windham. “Apparently there’s a verse in the Bible that says ‘we are granted three score and ten years,’” her publisher Randall Williams recalls. “So, when Kathryn got around to her 70th birthday, she commissioned a local carpenter to build her casket. She lived another 23 years, so that plain pine casket sat on a sawhorse in her little carport garage alongside the house. She kept her china in there, which she almost never used. She was lovely and also eccentric in funny and endearing ways.” Windham certainly had a talent for wrapping people up in to her world. She had a gift for making her tiny corner of Alabama a place shared with audiences so that they too felt they “lived” there. That last story of her simple pine casket, along with many others, was published posthumously in Kathryn’s final book, She: The Old Woman Who Took Over My Life. In it, she addresses old age, evoking fond memories alongside frustrations with aging. Windham was inducted into the Academy of Honor in Montgomery before she passed, with a nomination by famed Alabama author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Lee would, if willing to give an interview, no doubt also speak about Windham as a dear and personal friend, a legend among writers and a good ‘ole teller of stories. Standing on a stage, with over 1,000 people gathered to hear her speak, you could always be assured of two things when Kathryn bent to the microphone. “She never, ever, in all the years I knew her, carried a notecard,” recalls Jake Reiss. “She would shoot from the hip and always entertain. She also demanded that they introduce her with one simple line. ‘Please welcome Kathryn Tucker Windham. She’s from Selma, Alabama, and she tells stories.’” What a humble opener for a woman whose life closed bringing so much to American history. ❖ EXCURSIONS 9
The Magic City’s Heart of Green
Railroad Park Honors the Past, While Promising Big Things for the Future
iles Perkins had his two sons in tow—a 5 year old and a 6 year old—as he walked through one of downtown Birmingham’s most historic districts in 2003. The scene was not a vision honoring the past or a good omen for the future. The trio looked out over a landscape that a century earlier held a train depot and marked an important center for Birmingham’s pride and joy—rail and steel. “There were two burned-out railroad cars and a trailer with a sign that read, ‘Don’t knock unless you are police. I will shoot,’” Perkins recalls. He quickly realized that this was no place for children. Two abandoned warehouses surrounded by broken glass, rusted tracks, signs of squatters and dead grass furthered that this was no picnic spot for adults, either. Today, if you stand where Perkins stood, your gaze travels across 20 acres of green space, including hundreds of native trees, grasses, shrubs and flowers. You can hear the sound of a stream that feeds into a recirculating water system, traverse the crushed stone path of a strolling garden, visit a strength/conditioning exercise area or laugh with the kids enjoying a skatebowl. The fetid wasteland in the center of Birmingham that Giles Perkins once pulled his children away from is now Railroad Park— Birmingham’s heart of green.
Photo: brent boyd
Perkins is the president emeritus of the Railroad Park Foundation. A lawyer by day, he’s also been a bit of a superhero where the Magic City’s community needs are concerned. After helping the struggling Birmingham Zoo find private funding (it’s now the largest attraction in Alabama, drawing half-a-million visitors annually, thanks to the deal), he felt a need for another project.
B y J e n n y A dams The vacant blight of rusted tracks running through downtown was beckoning. “Friends of mine, living near the site, suggested I talk to a group called Friends of the Railroad District (FoRRD),” Perkins recalls. “Some were urbanites living downtown, longing for green space. The others were really into trains. They all wanted to build a string of parks through the area.” He became president of their board, and they eventually formed the Railroad Park Foundation. Between 2004 and 2007, the group raised a staggering $23 million, moving ahead with a project that was both privately and publicly funded. This park was a dream for many long before 2004. It’s always been in the hearts of downtown dwellers and the civic-minded citizens, like Cheryl Morgan. As professor and director of the Auburn University Urban Studio, she’s lived and worked in the downtown area since 1997. The Urban Studio functions as an outreach component of the Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, here in Birmingham. “The Urban Studio was one of the early champions of the Railroad Park,” explains Morgan. “In the mid to late ‘80s, leaders in the city and planning/design community began talking about the idea of a ‘central’ park that would capture the untapped potential of largely vacant or under-utilized land at the heart of downtown. Frank Setzer—founding director of the Urban Studio—knew the potential of projects like this to create economic development opportunities and a way to leverage other assets like the Civil Rights Institute, the Alabama Theater, UAB, the Museum of Art and Sloss Furnaces. He began to use the railroad corridor as a site for numerous Urban Studio class projects. These studies, along with mid-town housing studies, helped to keep the notion of Railroad Park visible to leadership and
change makers in our community. It also introduced a generation of emerging professionals to the potential of this part of our city. “I had seen similar projects in other cities transform whole neighborhoods and districts. This area of the city—on historic maps—is the Railroad Reservation,” she continues. “It was—along with the natural resources of iron ore, coal, limestone, wood and water—the reason for Birmingham’s founding in 1871. We are the only place in the country with these ingredients, and so the joining of north/south and east/west rail lines along Jones Valley created the city’s impetus of enterprise. I think in the early days, that was a ‘place holder,’ because of the name of the location. But, as work began in earnest, it was clear that people identified with that name, the place and with a love of our railroad history.”
Tom Leader, principal of Tom Leader Studio, was contracted as the main architect for the park. He’s a man with no shortage of accolades in designing community spaces, including numerous commercial and public projects in cities like Denver and San Francisco, and two under his direction took home American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Honor Awards—Longacres Park in Seattle, Washington and Asahikawa Riverfront Park in Hokkaido, Japan. For Railroad Park, he worked on the master plan and hardscape park elements, and locally with landscape architecture firm Macknally Land Design. “The park is a partnership between City of Birmingham and the Railroad Park Foundation, and it’s about a 50/50 split,” explains Lea Ann Macknally, president of Macknally Land Design. “I think it’s a good case study, because things have been done like this on smaller scales, but the sheer size of this park is a testament to what can be achieved.” ➤ EXCURSIONS 11
As the best things in life often do, this one came with a resounding set of challenges. “We started working with Tom in 2007, when the park project got underway, and it definitely took longer than we imagined. There were some old deeds to the property that the railroad owned, and we had to have agreements on those. We had challenges like utilities that had been there for 80 years we had to work around, and we had a major electrical transmission line that runs east west through the site. It provides power to half the city, and you can’t move it. We also had a major water line that ran north south through the site that was in a sensitive condition, and additional sewer and fiber optic cables to work around,” she recalls. “I think as far as the amount of coordination with the utilities and the railroad, this was the most challenging project to date not only for us, but for everyone involved.”
Railroad Park’s expansive lawn offers seating for movie nights and other events photograph by Larry O. Gay
Something for Everyone
While the challenges seemed to sprout from every possible corner of the park, the teams pushed onward, never stopping to even consider that this might not be a reality. The original plans were redrawn and reworked with each challenge, with a final, realized dream of 20 acres spreading through central downtown opening in September of 2010. The dimensions of the main park run from 14th Street South to 18th Street South, encompassing the area between 1st Avenue South and the railroad tracks that split downtown. At every intersection, there’s a plaza for people to gather, each with a unique feature. “We have a Birch Grove in one, skateboard bowls in another and small ponds fed by the stream system at each,” explains Macknally. “At the 14th Street plaza, there are exercise elements to use for strength training. I think a lot of the runners love to use them before or after their runs. Seven-
teenth Street terminates into the main plaza, which will accommodate special event set up.” There are also food service vendors and restrooms there. An improved pedestrian corridor providing connection from UAB and Children’s of Alabama campuses to the south, is slated for 17th Street. The crushed rock path that winds through the strolling garden on the south end of the park affords guests the smells and sights of bright Knockout Roses and ornamental grasses that change colors throughout the seasons. Ongoing work with the Birmingham Museum of Art continues for sculpture artists to add installations, and the park’s two bridges allow visitors to experience the trains at the same level as well as to view the park and its stream system. The stream itself serves a purpose beyond mere visual beauty. “A lot of what we do is integrated storm water management,” Macknally says of her firm. “It’s just, in our opinion, a better way
to handle storm water and water conservation. The small pond at 14th Street collects water from the stream and pumps it back east to flow through a wetland area with native plants. The wetland is the natural filtration system for the park.”
When the park opened, the landscape architects requested that the city refrain from large-scale events for a year to let the new plants settle. These upcoming years however, will see new levels of traffic to the park. The western plaza is capable of outfitting a massive stage, and the lawn beyond it can accommodate 50,000 people with full sightlines to performers on stage. Potentially, Railroad Park could one day hold some of Birmingham’s larger events like the annual Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil or a new City Stages. Summer concert series, outdoor theater, kids camps and movie nights are already happening, as well as those beauti-
ful, individual moments where friends meet for lunch. George’s Boxcar Cafe opened in spring of 2011, with beloved local chef George Sarris of city restaurants, The Fish Market and DoDiYos, at the helm. Just as the flowers and trees are living and growing, so is the park itself. The plans still have more to come. “The overall diagram done by Tom Leader suggests that the park will be the western anchor of a green corridor that runs east along Powell and First South to Sloss Furnaces,” explains Cheryl Morgan. “In some places this will be along the street and right-of-ways. In other places, we expect it will expand to deeper green places both passive and active. Many people envision an adaptive re-use of the rail bed—the ‘cut’ that goes along 1st Street between 20th and 24th as a good ‘next’ phase. The city has a strategy for streetscape improvements that will reinforce the concept of extending the “green” from 14th to 32nd Street.
“I think one of the most important things about Railroad Park is that it has shown this community that we can do it,” continues Morgan. “It took many people, the city, foundations and citizens to make it happen, but it did. That is so confirming.” Giles Perkins can’t help but agree. For him, thinking back on those days of angry, spray-painted words on a trailer and broken bits of the city’s legacy scattered on the ground, and now, to what has been realized in the form of nationally recognized green space, he can’t help but be excited for the next generations of Birmingham. “I always tell my kids, ‘You can make your community better,’” he says, thoughtfully. “The best projects…the best ideas… have bad moments. I hope that people with big dreams and big projects will come out here during the challenging times and look around and realize what is possible. This is possible. This is what determination can produce.”
The Birmingham-Hoover area offers a broad range of attractions worth getting out of your hotel room. Gear up for a day of wet and wild fun for the whole family at this theme park and water playground. Take a daring plunge down the Acalpulco Drop or hold on as you go down the Wild River Gorge. Classic rides like the Pirate Ship and Scrambler sit alongside newer, faster rides like the Space Shot and Splashdown. Seasonal hours. Admission charged. 4599 Alabama
Adventure Parkway, 205.481.4750, www.alabamaadventure.com
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
Located in the historic 4th Avenue Business District inside the art-deco Carver Theatre that has seen the likes of Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton grace the stage, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame offers exhibitions honoring the Jazz greats with ties to Alabama. Honorees include W.C. Handy, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Admission Charged. 1631 4th Avenue North, 205.254.2731, www.jazzhall.com
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
Over the last thirty-five years, the ASHOF has become the benchmark for other sports museums across the country, with more than 5,000 sports artifacts elegantly displayed in the 33,000 square foot building. On ESPN’s list of the top 100 athletes of the century, five out of the top fifteen are in the ASHOF: Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, Willie Mays and Carl Lewis. This is Alabama, so also expect to see Paul “Bear” Bryant, James Ralph “Shug” Jordan and Joe Namath memorabilia. Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm. Admission charged. 2150 Rich-
ard Arrington, Jr. Blvd. North, 205.323.6665, www.ashof.org
The Alabama Theatre was constructed by Paramount Theatre in 1927 as the Alabama showcase for Paramount films. It was used primarily as a movie palace for 55 years, but also hosted the annual Miss Alabama pageant and the weekly Mickey Mouse Club. Still a haven for movie buffs, the Alabama
Theatre hosted the premiere of Sweet Home Alabama during the Sidewalk Film Festival in 2002. The Summer and Holiday Film festivals are also big draws, as are showings of the classics around Christmas. MondayFriday, 9 am-4 pm plus film screenings and events. 1817 Third Avenue North, 205.252.2262, www.alabamatheatre.org
Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation
This memorial is a place to ref lect on the contributions Alabama veterans have made to preserve our nation’s freedom. Amid peaceful Alabama woodlands, you can peruse the names of Alabamians lost to war. A timeline in the memorial walkway outlines historic events and descriptions of Alabama’s 23 Medal of Honor recipients in the 20 th century. In the courtyard, those Medal of Honor stories appear on columns, along with artwork and letters. Closed major holidays. Liberty Park
and I-459, 205.985.9488, www.alabamaveterans.com
Photo: ron blakely
Birmingham Museum of Art
Noted horticulturist Eddie Aldridge was hired to plant three magnolia trees at the Cox Family Estate in 1966. That planted the idea for a public garden in ever-growing Hoover. Aldridge Botancial Gardens features more than 175 hydrangea species and cultivars growing among other plants on the 30-acre grounds. Of particular interest is the snowflake hydrangea, bred by Aldridge and his father and fellow horticulturist, Loren. Free admission. Seasonal hours. 3530 Lorna Road, 205.682.8019,
Join George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and a host of other early-American historical figures on a tour of this replicated Revolutionary War town. The tour brings to life America’s quest for liberty and independence, focusing on rekindling patriotism in children by teaching American history, civics and government in a hands-on fashion, including participation in a mock election. Admission charged. Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm or by appointment. 3727 Highway 119, 205.665.3535, www.americanvillage.org
Arlington Antebellum Home and Garden
Arlington is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture dating from the 1840s, before the founding of Birmingham. The house was built by Judge William S. Mudd, one of the 10 founders. The house is furnished with a collection of 19th century decorative arts. Arlington is a center for historical, cultural and civic activities. Admission charged. TuesdaySaturday, 10am-4pm, Sunday 1-4pm. 331 Cotton Avenue SW, 205.780.5656, www.informationbirmingham.com/arlington
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
This architecturally spectacular museum houses the world’s largest motorcycle collection, with more than 1,200 vintage and modern bikes ranging from 1902 models to present day and from common street bikes to rare, one-off Gran Prix race machinery. The museum also showcases the largest collection of Lotus and other significant cars. It is located on a park that includes a world class 2.38 mile track that houses the Porsche Driving School. Admission charged. Seasonal hours. 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy,
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama’s largest living museum with more than 10,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens’ 67.5 acres contains 25-plus unique gardens, 30-plus works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the United States, conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Free admission. Dawn to dusk daily. 2612 Lane Park Road, 205.414.3950, www.bbgardens.org
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Institute tells the story and captures the drama of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Once coined “Bombingham” for the violence that erupted in the city during this pivotal time in American history, the permanent collection envokes emotion as guests are confronted with images of the firehoses blasting children in Kelly Ingram Park, tells the amazing story of local hero Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, and displays the original cell door that trapped Martin Luther King, Jr. as he wrote the famous “Letter from a Birming-
Aldridge Botanical Gardens
attractions ham Jail.” The journey ends with a view of today’s continuing struggles for human rights. Admission charged. Donations only on Sundays. Free on Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm. 520 16th Street North, 205.328.9696,www.bcri.org
birmingham Museum of art
The Birmingham Museum of Art houses a diverse collection of more than 24,000 paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and decorative arts dating from ancient to modern times. The collection presents a rich panorama of cultures, featuring the extensive holdings of Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian and Native American art as well as the Kress Collection of Italian Renaissance painting and sculptures. Best known for its collection of Wedgwood, it also houses the finest collection of Vietnamese ceramics and the only known collection of early 19th-century European cast iron objects in the country. Free admission. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday, noon-5pm.
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., 205.254.2565, www.artsbma.org
birmingham Public library
The Birmingham Public Library, one of the largest and most well-respected library systems in the Southeast, consists of 19 branches and a main library located downtown. The main library downtown is composed of two compelling buildings, the East Building, with its dramatic atrium, and the Linn-Henley Research Library, with its beautiful wall murals, the Tutwiler Collection of Southern History (named one of the top 10 library collection for genealogists by Family Tree Magazine) and the Rucker Agee Map Collection. Free admission. MondayTuesday, 9am-8pm, Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-6pm, Sunday, 2pm-6pm. 2100 Park
Place, 205.226.3600, www.bplonline.org
birmingham race Course
With more than 200 simulcast races on Saturday alone, this race course presents the best in simulcast wagering opportunities. Here, even the most ardent handicapper has the chance to “hit a big one.” From tiered-table seating on the clubhouse level, patrons enjoy cocktails and Southern cuisine served with down-home hospitality while watching select races on closed
circuit television. Free admission; Pay to play. Opens 11 am daily. 1000 John Rogers
Drive, 205.838.7500, www.birminghamracecourse.com
The Birmingham Zoo is Alabama’s most popular attraction, drawing more than 500,000 visitors annually. Approximately 750 animals of 250 different species call the 122-acre Birmingham Zoo home, including sea lions, kangaroos and endangered species from six continents. The “Trails of Africa” initiative is blazing new trails in elephant conservation. Intended to set new benchmarks for the care and breeding of endangered elephants, this mixed-species exhibit also features red river hogs, giraffes, rhinos, wildebeest and other animals of the continent in a more natural habitat. Other popular draws are the Hugh Kaul Children’s Zoo, the Lorikeet Aviary and the interactive Sea Lion Splash Show, as well as other daily shows featuring various species. Admission charged. Open daily 9am-5pm. 260
Cahaba Road, 205.879.0409, www.birminghamzoo.com ➤
Photo: MIChael WaDe
McWane Science Center
Grab your kayak or canoe and ride the current down this longest-free flowing river in Alabama. Both scenic and biologically diverse, the river is home to the unique Cahaba Lily, 131 species of freshwater fish (18 of which have not been found elsewhere), 40 species of mussels and 35 species of snail. The first provisional state capital, Cahawba, founded at its mouth in 1819, was the hub of riverboat commerce on the Alabama River. 2717 7th Avenue South, 205.322.5326,
everyone in the family will have a blast. Admission charged. Monday-Friday, 9 am5:30 pm, Saturday, 9 am-6:30 pm, Sunday, 1 pm-6:30 pm. 5181 DeSoto Caverns Pkwy, 800.933.2283, www.desotocavernspark.com
International Motorsports Hall of Fame/Motorsports Museum
Spanning three buildings and the enclosed courtyard, this collection of history-making vehicles includes more than six halls of fame and a racecar simulator. Opened
The cavern tour takes visitors through thousands of cave formations, making it one of the most concentrated collections in America. The tour begins in a room that is 12 stories high and larger than a football field. The caverns stays a comfortable 60 degrees year round, but 100 percent humidity inside the caverns makes the temperature feels closer to 70. With more than 25 family activities, such as the threequarter acre Lost Trail Maze, Panning for Gemstones and Wacky Water Golf, 18 EXCURSIONS
Southern Museum of Flight
in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. It has experienced tremendous growth, with its collection of racing vehicles and memorabilia, from 1902 to present, valued at more than $15 million, and increasing every year. Admission charged. Seasonal hours. 3198 Speedway Blvd. (Talladega), 256.362.5002, www.motorsportshalloffame.com
Kelly Ingram Park
This historic park was the stage for one of the most pivotal scenes of the Civil Rights Movement. Under the direction of Public Service Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, police and firefighters, armed with high-powered water hoses and snarling dogs, met demonstrators. Many of the demonstrators were children and images spurred a national outcry for racial equality. Today, dramatic sculptures depict the infamous scenes. Charge only for audio tour from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s admission desk. Corner of 5th Avenue and 16th Street North
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
McWane Science Center
Fun and learning never end at this hands-on museum and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder — from an amazing collection of dinosaurs to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds and an awe-inspiring aquarium. The excitement of discovery springs to life through an extensive daily lineup of educational science demonstrations. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX® Dome Theater, where visitors experience the sights and sounds of films on a five-story-tall screen surrounded bythree tons of high-intensity speakers. Admission charged. MondayFriday, 9 am-5 pm, Saturday, 10 am-6 pm, Sunday, noon-6 pm. 200 19th Street North, 205.714.8300, www.mcwane.org
Moss Rock Preserve
The 250-acre beautiful nature preserve is abundant with trees and plants, rock outcroppings, streams, waterfalls, wildlife and
Birmingham Public Library
other unique natural features. It includes miles of hiking trails through unspoiled forests. Ideal for nature lovers, Moss Rock is a magnet for anyone who enjoys bouldering, bird watching or just meandering through the woods. Free admission. Preserve Park-
way, 205.739.7141, www.hooveral.org
Oak Mountain State Park
As Alabama’s largest park, Oak Mountain provides 9,940 acres of pine-studded ridges and lush green hardwood bottoms. The park offers vacation cottages, golf, improved camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, mountain bike trails, backpacking, a demonstration farm and horseback riding facilities. Admission charged. Open 7am-dusk, later for registered campers. 200 Terrace Drive, 205.620.2520,
Reynolds Historical Library
at Birmingham, the Reynolds Historical Library maintains a growing collection of over 13,000 rare books and manuscripts pertaining to the history of medicine and science, dating from the 14th to the early 20th centuries. Free admission. MondayFriday, 9 am-5 pm. 1700 University Blvd,
A part of Historical Collections at the Lister Hill Library at the University of Alabama
Built in 1910, Rickwood Field is America’s oldest baseball park. During its heyday, Rickwood hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Friends and fans eagerly await the annual Rickwood Classic, a game that pits the AA Birmingham Barons against a regular Southern League rival. Team members dress in vintage uniforms, and people come from around the country to celebrate baseball history. The authenticity of Rickwood is being carefully preserved by the Friends of Rickwood
Photo: (TOP LEFT) Larry o. Gay
Vulcan Park and Museum
Vulcan Park and Museum
Vulcan Park is home to the world’s largest cast iron statue and features spectacular panoramic views of Birmingham. Located atop Red Mountain, Vulcan Park tells the story of Birmingham’s past, present and promise for the future. Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, was originally built in 1904 as Birmingham’s entry in the World’s Fair contest. Vulcan won first place. A 10-acre urban green space surrounds the 56-foot high statue and observation balcony that sits upon a 124-foot pedestal. Visitors to the Vulcan Center find interactive exhibits and displays that give insight into the region’s history and industrial growth. Vulcan Park is open seven days a week from 7 am - 10 pm. Vulcan Center and Tower Observation Balcony is open Monday - Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday 1 pm-6 pm.
attractions American Village
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Field, a non-profit organization devoted to the restoration and upkeep of the historic ball field. Open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm. Check events schedule for expanded hours. 1137 2nd Avenue West. 205.458.8161.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
Just ten minutes from downtown, this 1,011-acre nature preserve is a quiet getaway for nature lovers. Easy to moderate hiking trails lead through a Southern upland forest with its diversity of plant and animal life including resident and migratory birds. Find a spectacular view at Hawk’s View overlook. Beautiful spring wildf lowers and autumn color highlight the seasons. The new Visitors Center offers lessons in nature and the environment and has exhibits including raptors, turtles and other native Alabama wildlife. The visitor center is open Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, 1pm – 5pm. Hiking trails also open daily, dawn to dusk. Donations welcome. 1214 81st Street South.
Samuel Ullman Museum
For years, Samuel Ullman (1840-1924) and his prose poem “Youth” have been admired by the Japanese, but the man and his work are largely unknown in the United States, even in Birmingham where the German-Jew spent the last 40 years of his life. “Youth” of course is not a poem only for the Japanese but more a directive for the way one should live life. Japanese visitors commonnly make pilgrimages to the Samuel Ullman Museum, created to advance Ullman’s civic, educational and religious ideas and endeavors. To schedule a tour or meeting space call 205.934.3328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2150 15th Avenue South, www. main.uab. edu/sites/UllmanMuseum
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church National Historic Landmark
The church is the site of the most horrific occurrence of the American Civil Rights Movement, when a bomb shattered the quiet of a Sunday morning and took the lives of four young girls in September 1963. If any good came of the bombing, it was
that it awakened the city and the nation and was a turning point in race relations. The sanctuary features a beautiful stained-glass window, a gift from the people of Wales. Tours are given 10 am-4 pm, TuesdayFriday and by appointment on Saturdays. Groups should call to make arrangements. 1530 6th Avenue North, 205.251.9402, www.16thstreetbaptist.org
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
Sloss is a 32-acre blast furnace plant where iron was made for nearly 100 years. Now a museum of history and industry, the site preserves an extraordinary collection of buildings, industrial structures and machinery. These industrial artifacts typify the first 100 years of Birmingham’s history and the technology that drove America’s rise to world industrial dominance. Sloss is the only 20th century blast furnace in the country that is being preserved as a museum. It is rumored that Sloss is haunted by Theopholus Calvin Jowers, who died in the Alice Furnace and
Photo: (Bottom Left) Nate dreger
Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation
swore as long as there was a furnace in Jefferson County, he would be there. Sloss also plays host to a number of local events throughout the year. Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm, Sunday noon-4 pm. 20 32nd Street North, 205.324.1911, www.slossfurnaces.com
Photo: Getty images
Southern Museum of Flight/ Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame
Explore the miracle of flight. Take off to the Southern Museum of Flight where visitors can view eight decades of aviation history through aircraft, models and memorabilia of some of the country’s greatest aviation pioneers. The new Tuskegee Airman exhibit is a must see for all fans. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 am-4:30 pm. Admission charged.
4343 73rd Street North, 205.833.8226, www.southernmuseumofflight.org
Talladega Superspeedway is the biggest, fastest, most competitive motorsports facility in the world. Records for both speed and competition have been established at Talladega. Two major races during the year draw thousands of fans from across the country for the heart-thumping action. The International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is adjacent. Admission charged. 3366 Speedway Boulevard, 256.362.2261, www.talladegasuperspeedway.com
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
At Tannehill Historical State Park, the old ironworks and a large collection of 19th century cabins give visitors a glimpse into life in the 1800s. The third weekend of each month (March-November), shoppers and swappers come to Trade Days in search of
tools, clothing, jewelry, knives, furniture and other treasures. Admission charged.
12632 Confederate Parkway, 205.477.5711, www.tannehill.org
Vulcan Park and Museum
See Sidebar Page 18. 1701 Valley View Drive, 205.933.1409, www.vulcanpark.org
Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park
Located in Oak Mountain State Park, the center is Alabama’s oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center. The center is open to the public for self-guided tours and features the Treetop Nature Trail. A beautiful, elevated walkway in the woods, the trail offers close-up views of non-releasable hawks and owls in natural habitat enclosures built among the trees. Oak Mountain State Park,
205.663.7930, www.awrc.org ❖
Performing Arts No longer an industrial giant, Birmingham’s new “magic” is in the thriving art community
irmingham was nicknamed “The Magic City” at the turn of the 20th century due to its almost overnight emergence as a powerhouse in steel and iron manufacturing. The city thrived on the sudden influx of people and commerce. As with any new and bustling city, it did not take long for an active community of arts to form and grow strong. The steel and iron business may have faded but, although Birmingham is no longer an epicenter of the industrial movement, it has established itself as a quite a leader in the realm of visual and performing arts. And while the nickname, “The Magic City,” originally described Birmingham’s industrial prowess, it has come to accurately describe the city’s long-reaching influence on the arts. Merriam-Webster lists “magic” as a noun described as “an extraordinary power of influence seemingly from a supernatural source,” as well as “something that seems to cast a spell.” Birmingham does indeed cast a spell on patrons of the arts, ranging from theatre to music to film. Entranced audiences will have the chance to be anything, anywhere they had ever dreamed. Escape to Egypt through Opera Birmingham’s performance of Aida or to France through the Alabama Ballet’s adaptation of Giselle. Or unearth the treasures of home as you visit the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Samford Theatre, Birmingham staples that date back to the 1920s. If you find yourself drawn to independent arts movements, take a trip through the The22 EXCURSIONS
atre District in downtown. Here you will find the Red Mountain Theatre, Terrific New Theatre and the Theatre Downtown, each of which boasts origins from an almost phoenixstyle rising of new art from the beloved traditions of the past. Wander through the Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival or come to the Cabaret. For a more mainstream show, take a drive south of Birmingham and enjoy the Verizon Wireless Music Center which has hosted acts ranging from Rascal Flatts to Kings of Leon and the Dave Matthews Band. Moreover, in Birmingham, the arts form a true community with each guild and theatre enmeshing themselves within the cultural and educational spheres of the city. The Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Birmingham Festival Theatre performed its first original piece on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, whose stage mirrors that of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, as the Alabama Ballet hosts their four annual productions at Wright Theatre on the campus of Samford University. And the Library Theatre is aptly titled, since it is housed inside the Hoover Public Library. The Virginia Samford Theatre and the Red Mountain Theatre both have intertwined past lives with Birmingham’s famous “Town and Gown” productions, while the Alabama Symphony Orchestra answered the city’s need for music after World War II. A guided tour through Birmingham’s performing arts venues will certainly make anyone a believer in the magic this city has to offer. Those who know choose Birmingham for visual and performing arts. ➤
The Alabama Theatre represents preservation at its finest. photograph courtesy of The Alabama Theatre
by heather adams
Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center
or visit www.alabamaballet.org
1200 10 th Avenue South. 205.975.2787 or www.alysstephens.org
Photo: (top left) Billy Brown (Bottom right) Dina Graphics, (opposite Page) Jeff Tombrello
Alabama Ballet seeks to promote and foster the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality education and community outreach. They offer a variety of classes for all ages. Under the direction of Tracey Alvey, this company of professional dancers presents four full-length productions annually. This year’s performances include the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Alice in Wonderland. 2726 1st Avenue South, For tickets and details, call 205.975.2787,
Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center’s trademark is diversity—diverse performances and diverse audiences. From classical, pop, jazz and world beat music to dance, comedy and family entertainment, the center welcomes the entire community into the magical world of performing arts. Some of the world’s most renowned performing artists take the stage at this concert hall and theater space on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus.
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Birmingham Festival Theatre
205.933.2383 or www.bftonline.org
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has entertained audiences for more than 70 years, playing a variety of classical and popular compositions and hosting performances by some of the finest international guest artists. The symphony’s 54 talented musicians bring to life some of the world’s most treasured musical masterpieces, giving 190 performances a year. 3621 6th Avenue South. 205.251.7727 or
Founded in 1972, Birmingham Festival Theatre is the oldest theatre in Birmingham producing contemporary and classic theatre. It is managed by an all-volunteer board of directors. Since its founding, BFT has staged more than 200 productions—involving more than 50 directors, almost 1,000 actors and 500 crew people—attended by almost 100,000 audience members. 1901 11th Avenue South.
Northern Alabama’s only professional, regional opera company, Opera Birmingham has entertained and informed audiences in the region for over 50 years. From its humble beginnings in 1955 to its 50th anniversary in 2005 and beyond, Opera Birmingham has produced world-class operatic productions and concerts that have been hailed by critics and loved by audiences. 3601 6th Ave. South. 205.322.6737 or www.operabirmingham.org ➤ EXCURSIONS 25
The Library Theatre
Terrific New Theatre
Theatre Downtown was founded in 2006 and provides the city of Birmingham with cutting-edge contemporary theatre and a host of Alabama and Southeastern premieres. A traveling troupe, Theatre Downtown performs throughout the Birmingham area in a variety of locations. This season’s offerings include The Graduate, Harold and Maude and many others. 205.306.1470 or
The Library Theatre is a professional venue bringing world-class entertainment to an intimate setting in the heart of Hoover. The Library Theatre is sponsored in part by the City of Hoover and the Friends of the Hoover Public Library. The theatre also features the work of local artists in their gallery. Hoover Public Library, 200 Municipal Drive, Hoover, Alabama. 205.444.7888 or
Founded by Steve Stella and Carl Stewart in 1981. Terrific New Theatre (TNT) is the off-Broadway of Birmingham. Featuring avant garde performances, TNT thrills audiences with performances that aren’t seen anywhere else in town. Performances at TNT are always Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 pm. Only cash or checks, please. 2821 2nd Avenue South. 205.328.0868
Red Mountain Theatre Company
Verizon Wireless Music Center
Red Mountain Theatre Company is a non-profit professional theatre organization with an emphasis on musical theatre. Red Mountain Theatre Company‘s season begins in September and runs through July each year with a wide variety of well-known musicals. Business Office: 2900 1st Avenue South, Suite A. 205.324.2424 or
Each year between April and October, some of the world’s top musicians perform in the beautiful outdoor arena, formerly known as Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. Fee varies with each performance. Now a LiveNation venue, located just south of the city, off Interstate 65. Highway 119 exit off I-65, 1000 Amphitheatre Road.
The Virginia Samford Theatre presents a wide variety of musicals ranging from The Sound of Music, to Scrooge The Musical to Hairspray. The charming historic theater with its parkside setting is located on Birmingham’s southside and has a lovely outdoor courtyard. Their seasons begin in August and run through July each year. Also, a great place for small meeting, the board room seats twenty-two people and catering can be provided by the Theatre’s list of chefs. Check their website for current showtimes and ticket prices. 205.251.1228 or www.virginiasamfordtheatre.org ❖ 26 EXCURSIONS
Virginia Samford Theatre
Get Ready, Get Set, Shop! irmingham has long been known as the retail giant of Alabama and offers everything from major department stores and popular chains to quaint boutique shopping, including one-of-a-kind vintage and couture. Located in Hoover, The Riverchase Galleria is Alabama’s largest retail complex. You’ll find 200 specialty shops, 30 eateries and several major department stores. The Summit, located on Highway 280 at I-459 boasts more than 80 upscale shops to choose from and more than a dozen places to eat. Designed as an open air mall, The Summit can be a delicious, all day shopping experience. Colonial Brookwood Village, located in Homewood, combines the convenience of a traditional mall with the ambiance and novelty of village shopping. Department stores, Belk and Macy’s, anchor each end of the two-level mall with unique couture shops and a food court in between. Travel outside for a bite at one of several restau-
rants like Cocina Superior. Historic downtown Homewood is best known for its sidewalk shopping as well as its mom-and-pop-style eateries, and now is home to a brand-new development called SoHo—a place to shop, eat and live that can rival even the trendiest of neighborhoods. The Villages of Mountain Brook offer shopping and dining experiences that are not to be missed. Conveniently situated just southeast of downtown Birmingham, off of Red Mountain Expressway (Hwy 280), Mountain Brook Village is brimming with unique boutiques, antique stores and casual and fine eateries. This is a great place to spend a day or a couple of hours strolling from store to store. Come to downtown Birmingham to 2nd Avenue North, where you’ll find Levy’s Fine Jewelry. Specializing in antique and estate jewelry, Levy’s offers a huge selection of loose stones and designer pieces. Where ever you decide to begin you shopping adventure in Birmingham, you’ll enjoy our friendly people, ample selection of retailers and our beautiful mountains and valleys.
This town offers shoppers a run for their money.
COME SHOP WITH US ECLECTIC Urban Suburban in Crestwood offers the most eclectic
selection of treasures in Birmingham. Find the perfect antique, a piece of rare memorabilia, and custom-made furniture and accessories all under one roof.
5514 Crestwood Boulevard Birmingham, AL 35212-4131 (205) 592-0777 • urbansuburbanantiques.com
TRADITIONAL Hoover Antique Gallery is our more traditional
store. Here you’ll find everything from antique furniture, paintings, chandeliers, vintage jewelry, china, silver, crystal glassware and so much more. 3411 Old Columbiana Road Hoover, AL 35216 (205) 822-9500 • hooverantiquegallery.com
VINTAGE Vintage Interiors in Pelham, Alabama, our newest
location, offers wide range of hard-to-find vintage furniture, artwork and accessories. 2838 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, AL 35124 (205) 620-1900
shopping riverchase galleria LIVE WIRE CELLULAR
205-988-8801 The coolest accessories for cell phones and tablets.
205-985-8800 Unique boutique defined by fabulous contemporary clothing, shoes and accessories.
205-985-3766 Selling University of Alabama souvenirs since 1983.
205-985-8800 Our boutique is a treasure chest overflowing with gifts, apparel, home accesssories and jewelry.
Yankee Candle company
205-987-2333 Authentice, true-to-life fragrances and renouned quality make us Americaâ€™s best loved candle.
RICHARD JOSEPH STUDIO
205-682-3613 Richard Joseph Studio at Belk uses an array of products by Aveda and Bumble and Bumble to provide top notch hair and body services.
STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY
205-987-4867 Delicious, handcrafted beverages and great-tasting food sure to satisfy any craving.
SANIBEL SUNGLASS COMPANY
205-733-6704 Our selection ranges from brands like Maui Jim and Costa Del Mar, to brands like Kaenon and Reptile, and more.
THE LEGO STORE
205-987-9545 Lego toys, experiences and teaching materials for children of all ages.
shopping The OUTleT shOPs OF graND river LE CREUSET
Innovative designs and exceptional handmade quality since 1925.
BROOKS BROTHERS FACTORY STORE
A full, classic line of office wear, business casual, sportswear and accessories for men and women.
ALLEN EDMONDS OUTLET
The world’s leading manufacturer of quality leather dress shoes, casual shoes, and business footwear for men.
The latest fashions in designer clothing and accessories for men and women.
NINE WEST OUTLET
BANANA REPUBLIC FACTORY STORE
The premier destination for timeless Banana Republic Style at brilliant prices.
A world-renowned fashion leader offering a quick edit of the runways, pinpointing the “must-have” looks of each season.
Over 65 StOreS 路 leedS, al
savings at up to 65% off
T o m m y H i l f i g e r C o m pa n y S T o r e Banana repuBliC faCTory STore DKny TalBoTS ouTleT KenneTH Cole gap faCTory STore gueSS faCTory STore niKe faCTory STore nine WeST ouTleT BrooKS BroTHerS faCTory STore anD more
advantage C L U B FREQUENT SHOPPERS CLUB
Join for exclusive online only discounts
I-20, Exit 140 | shopsofgrandriver.com Present this ad to Guest Services, located inside the Food Court, for a FREE VIP Coupon Book.
shopping rETAIL CENTERS
The Outlet Shops of Grand River
The Birmingham area is one of the top shopping destinations in the Southeast. Ready, set, shop! Colonial Brookwood Village
Conveniently located in Homewood right off 280 Highway, shoppers find specialty stores as well as larger retailers such as Macy’s, Belk and Books-A-Million. Also houses several particularly good restaurants. Garage and courtesy valet parking is available. Located on Shades Creek Parkway (Alabama 149) between U.S. 280 and U.S. 31 just minutes from downtown Birmingham. www. colonialprop.com
Bottling Company, Pepper Place is the focal point of the Lakeview District in the Southside area of Birmingham. Since the Pepper Place Market’s inception in 1999, it has become a great event for Birmingham during the summer. The Market is open, rain or shine. All Pepper Place Markets will open promptly at 7 am and close at noon each market day. Pepper Place also anchors the design district. www. pepperplacemarket.com.
The booming suburb of Trussville includes two large shopping areas with a third scheduled to open in October. Target, Books-a-Million and Old Navy anchor the mall on U.S. 11. A second shopping area occupies both sides of Chalkville Road, just after the first I-59 Trussville exit, with a Wal-Mart and cinema on one side and a Kohl’s anchoring the other. The third cluster of shops is the Pinnacle Shopping Center, located behind Target and anchored by Belk and Best Buy. www. colonialprop.com
Combines a “main street” element with parking and sidewalks in front of an eclectic mix of quaint, unique shops and restaurants, with larger retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Rave Motion Pictures. In the Birmingham suburb of Hoover between I-459, the Riverchase Galleria, and Alabama 150. www.pattoncreek. com
Pepper Place Market
Formerly the Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant and 34 EXCURSIONS
Housed beneath the world’s longest skylight are more than 200 shops, a dozen restaurants and a colorful carousel. Look for American Eagle, Banana Republic, Godiva Chocolatier and Abercrombie & Finch, just a few samples of stores in this two-story city under glass. The complex also includes the Wynfrey Hotel. U.S. 31 and Alabama 150 at I-459. An extensive renovation began this year. www.riverchasegalleria.com
The Outlet Shops of Grand River
Set against the picturesque landscape of the Cahaba River Valley, The Shops of Grand River is a brand new shopping destination. A sampling of the distinctive outlet and specialty stores are Brooks Brothers, Gap Outlet, Jones New York Outlet, Bose, Polo Ralph Lauren, Carters Babies and Kids and more. www.shopsofgrandriver.com
This outlet center offers huge discounts on name brands such as Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, The Gap, Lane Bryant, Strasburg and more. Located west of Downtown Birmingham on I-59/20 at Exit 110. Adjacent to Alabama Adventure. www.watermarkoutlets.com
In the heart of the suburb of Mountain Brook, these three distinct shopping areas are linked by tree lined sidewalks. Crestline Village has a nice mix of restaurants and high fashion shops with special emphasis on children’s clothing. www.mtnbrookchamber. com
This shopping destination continues to thrive and expand. A recent addition brought shops such as Coldwater Creek, Anthropologie and J. Jill to the list which already includes Saks, Old Navy, Restoration Hardware, Williams- Sonoma, Chico’s, the Pottery Barn, a luxury spa and some very good restaurants. At I-459 and U.S. 280. www.thesummitonline.com
ART & ANTIQUES shopping
Antiques 5th Avenue Antiques
2410 5th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-320-0500 www.5thavenueantiques.com Architectural Heritage
200 28th St. S., Birmingham 205-322-3538 www.architecturalheritage.com Argent
2949 18th St. S, Homewood 205-871-4221 Charlotte Woodson Antiques
2410 Canterbury Rd., Birmingham 205-871-3314 www.charlottewoodson.com Charm
2329 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-322-9023 www.charmonsecond.com Christopher Glenn, Inc.
2713 19th St. S., Homewood 205-870-1236 www.christopherglenninc.com Christopher House Antiques
3205 2nd Ave. S., Birmingham 205-581-0202 Circa Interiors & Antiques
2831 Culver Rd., Birmingham 205-868-9199 Clark Antiques Gallery
2717 2nd Avenue, S., Birmingham 205-325-1999 www.clarkantiquesgallery.com Four Seasons Antiques, Art and Botanicals
2910 18th St. S., Birmingham 205-803-4059 www.4seasonsantiquesandart.com Garage Cafe & Antiques
2304 10th Terrace S., Birmingham 205-322-3220 Gardendale Flea Mall & Antique Center
2405 Decatur Highway, Gardendale 205-631-7451 Greystone Antiques
5475 Hwy. 280, Inverness 205-995-4773
2817 2nd Ave. S., Birmingham 205-323-2817 Jackson Galleries
Lamb’s Ears, Ltd
70 Church Street, Mountain Brook, 205-802-5700 www.lambsearsltd.com Levy’s Fine Jewelry
2116 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-3381, levysfinejewelry.com Martha Lauren Antique Linens & Accessories
2417 Canterbury Rd., Birmingham 205-871-2283 Mulberry Heights Antiques
2419 Canterbury Rd., Mountain Brook, 205-870-1300 Noordermeer Antieks
731 Broadway, Homewood 205-870-1161 www.noordermeerantieks.com On-A-Shoestring
601 Shades Crest Rd., Hoover 205-822-8741 Peck & Hills
2720 19th Pl. S., Birmingham 205-871-7233 Reed Books, The Museum of Fond Memories
2021 Third Ave. N., Birmingham 205-326-4460 www.jimreedbooks.com Soho Retro
2805 18th Street S., Homewood 205.870.7655 www.shopsohoretro.com Stray Cats
1717 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham 205-956-5060 The Brown House- Elegant Cottage Living- Antiques, Art, Comforts of Life
1809 Oxmoor Rd., Birmingham 205-870-3100 www.elegantcottageliving.com The Commissary
2424 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-323-6036 Henhouse Antiques
The King’s House
Henry Maus Antiques
The Royal Standard
1624 21st St. S., Birmingham 205-939-0378
147 North Chalkville Rd., Trussville 205-661-9805 Urban suburban
4984 Overton Rd., Birmingham 205-747-0814 www.bhamcommissary.com
2734 Cahaba Rd., Birmingham 205-240-0014 www.HenryMausAntiques.com
Trussville Antique Mall/ The Mall Cafe
2227 First Ave. S., Birmingham 205-714-9933 www.jacksonantiquegalleries.com
Hanna Antiques/Books! By George
1900 Cahaba Rd., Birmingham 205-918-0505 www.shophenhouseantiques.com
Interiors at Pepper Place
2807 2nd Ave. S., Birmingham 205-320-2535 www.kingshouseantiques.com 2808 18th St. S., Homewood 205-871-6644 www.theroyalstandard.com 2700 19th Place S., Homewood 205-871-9779
5514 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham, 205-595-0095 2816 Culver Rd., Birmingham 205-870-4560 What’s On Second
2306 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-567-1466 www.whatsonsecond.org Zan’s
1910 1st Ave. N., Irondale 205-520-4600
Art Galleries Amanda Schedler Fine Art
2815-A 18th St. S., Homewood 205-591-9093 www.fineartbirmingham.com A’mano
2707 Culver Rd., Birmingham 205-871-9093 www.amanogifts.com Arceneaux Gallery
2880 Old Rocky Ridge Rd., Hoover, 205-824-5800 Art Alley
109 Broadway, Homewood 205-879-1105, artalley.net Artists Incorporated
3365 Morgan Dr., Vestavia Hills 205-979-8990 www.artistsincorporated.com Atchison Gallery & Village Framers
2847 Culver Rd., Birmingham 205-871-6221 Beta Pictoris Gallery
2411 Second Ave N., Birmingham 205-413-2999 www.betapictorisgallery.com Clay Scot Artworks
2915 Highland Ave., Birmingham 205-326-2350 Cobb Lane Gallery
One Cobb Lane, Birmingham 205-939-0450, www.cobblanegallery. homestead.com Dixon-Ballog Glass and Studio
2040 Old Montgomery Hwy, Pelham 205-402-2333 dixonglassgallery.com DS Art Studio Gallery
Four Seasons Antiques, Art and Botanicals
2910 18th St. S., Birmingham 205-803-4059 www.4seasonsantiquesandart.com Gallerie Alegria
600 Olde English Lane, Ste. 128, Birmingham, 205-868-9320 www.galleriealegria.com Gallery Soleil
109 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. S. 205-218-3596, www.gallerysoleil.com Griffith Art Gallery
109 Hilltop Business Dr., Pelham 205-985-7969 www.griffithartgallery.com Jennifer Harwell Gallery
Regions Harbert Building, Ste. 197, 1901 Sixth Ave. N., Birmingham 205-327-9950 www.jenniferharwellart.com Jennifer Hunt Gallery
2800 Cahaba Village Plaza, Ste. 260 Birmingham, 205-972-3232 www.jenniferhuntgallery.com Lamb’s Ears, Ltd.
70 Church Street, Mountain Brook, 205-802-5700 www.lambsearsltd.com Littlehouse Galleries
2915 Linden Ave., Homewood 205-879-7022 Loretta Goodwin Gallery
605 S. 28th St., Birmingham 205-328-1761 www.lorettagoodwingallery.net Monty Stabler Galleries
1811 29th Ave. S., Homewood 205-879-9888 www.montystablergalleries.com Naked Art Gallery
3815 Clairmont Ave., Birmingham 205-595-3553, www.nakedartusa.com New Life Art, Inc.
3831 Clairmont Ave, Birmingham 205-979-2158, www.newlifeart.com Red Dot Gallery
1001 Stuart St., Birmingham 205-870-7608 www.reddotgallery.com Space One Eleven
2409 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-328-0553, www.spaceoneeleven.org The Commissary
4984 Overton Rd., Birmingham 205-747-0814 www.bhamcommissary.com
2805 Crescent Ave., Ste. E., Homewood, 205-802-4700 www.dsart.com
Tina Newton Gallery
Four Corners Gallery
What’s On Second
4700 Hwy. 280, Ste. B, Birmingham, 205-980-2600 www.fourcornersgalleryonline.com
2717 Second Ave. S Ste. D, Birmingham, 205-731-9955 2306 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-567-1466 www.whatsonsecond.org ❖
Groomed for Greatness
Butler’s Grooming helps you step up your style in a space designed with men in mind.
lothes make the man? Maybe. But superior grooming? That’s what makes him a gentleman. Butler’s Grooming is a unique concept in men’s services, a destination for expert haircuts and styling, hot lather shaves, nail and foot treatment, facials, massages, waxing and shoe shines, along with top of the line products that cater just to men. No longer will you find yourself 36 EXCURSIONS
lurking around the day spa, sipping cucumber water and getting spritzed with lavender the next time you want a little pampering. Likewise, you won’t be under-serviced in an old-school barbershop the next time you want to hang out with the guys. Butler’s offers the perfect blend between service and sophistication—exactly what the wellgroomed man should expect. The first thing you need to know about our Men’s Club is that we are here to make a guy feel comfortable and relax,” says CEO
and Co-founder, Chris Butler. A veteran of the banking industry after an injury ended his career as an NFL free agent, Chris encountered a common frustration when looking for grooming services. There was no one place where he could get premium pampering in a guy-friendly place. So in June of 2009, Chris and his business partner, Karlos Dansby—a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins—opened Butler’s Grooming For Men in Birmingham’s financial district. A second location will open in Saks Fifth Avenue at
The Summit in Spring 2012. We’re not talking a man cave here. Picture a sleek metal-and-wood interior, free Wi-Fi™ and a flat-screen TV at each styling station. When you walk through the door you are greeted by a concierge and treated to a complimentary beverage of your choice. Your personal “butler” takes you through a consultation and discusses your personal grooming habits and maintenance to help you determine a grooming routine best suited to your needs. Your services are performed with the utmost care and precision. Best of all, the staff of Butler’s Grooming can accommodate your schedule. If you’re in town for a conference, you might simply need the Beard Trim or Express Cut in 15 minutes. Or maybe a Signature Haircut that takes just 30 minutes and includes a drink of your choice, consultation, hot facial towel, shampoo and conditioner, scalp massage, haircut, cleansing re-shampoo, style and a fifteen-minute chair massage. But say you’re going to be in town for
a while – for your buddy’s wedding, perhaps or a class reunion. You might have time for more extensive grooming like a package that includes haircut, hot lather shave, express facial, hand detailing, foot detailing, chair massage and boxed lunch. With just two week’s notice, you and your wedding party could have the salon all to yourselves. And because it’s never too soon to teach your son the value of good grooming, ask about the Father and Son Haircut, which is a perfect father-son ritual for Saturday mornings. “We want each man to think of Butler’s as ‘his’ place,” adds President and CoFounder Karlos Dansby, “somewhere he’s happy to hang out in and feel comfortable getting first-class service.” So the next time you’re in town and want to experience expert grooming, pay us a visit. You’ll enjoy your choice of cold drinks, wine, premium spirits or cold beer, and you will leave looking and feeling your absolute best. We guarantee it. www.butlersgrooming.com ❖
Butler’s Grooming For Men- Downtown
2025 Second Ave N, Birmingham, AL, 35203, 205-323-4100 Butler’s Grooming For Men- Saks Fifth Avenue
129 Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35243, 205-298-8550 email@example.com
Scan this code with your smartphone for a special offer. (See page 6 for details and software)
Magic City C Charm
Birmingham’s neighborhoods and suburbs vary as widely as their visitors and offer something for every taste, interest and personality. Find the right one for you or visit them all. Mt. Brook
irmingham is a unique city in many ways, one of the most obvious being its different neighborhoods and suburbs. Each neighborhood has its own distinct personality, culture and inhabitants. The various cultural flavors of Birmingham’s neighborhoods ensure that there is something, somewhere for everyone. Most locals use “downtown” as a directional marker. Dowtown Birmingham is our main business district and home to our tallest buildings. Many people in the past several years have also made their homes in downtown with an explosion of loft development. Accompanying the loft dwellers have been a variety of businesses, mostly restaurants and night spots, but also retailers. The Birmingham Museum of Art, The Civil Rights Institute and the Public Library are just some of the attractions in the area. Due east of downtown lie the historic neighborhoods of Avondale, Crestwood and Forest Park. A drive through the Forest Park neighborhood is well worth your time because of its unique historic homes. Crestwood also boasts many historic homes and is enjoying an insurgence of young married couples who prefer to be close to the city center. The areas are also known for boutique shops and unique restaurants. Many of Crestwood’s shops offer hard-to-find or oneof-a-kind items that are sure to be conversation starters. Due south of downtown is an area of town we call “Southside.” The UAB campus encompasses a large part of Southside, but the Highland Avenue area of Southside is also a fantastic place to see historic homes. Southside is also home to our most vibrant nightspots, Five Points South and the Lakeview District. Much of the city’s local music scene calls the area home. and local bands can often be heard playing in the small bars around every corner. You can even get in a round a golf at our urban golf course, Highland Park Golf Course.
Venture up the mountain towards Vulcan, and you’ll be on Red Mountain. The Red Mountain ridgeline, also known as Redmont, is most notable for many fine and historic homes that have tremendous views of the downtown skyline. There is no better spot to see Birmingham from above and the view of the city at night is breathtaking. Cross over Red Mountain and you enter the southern suburbs of Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. Within these suburbs are unique shopping areas and dining, as well as some of Birmingham’s main attractions, including Vulcan Park, the Birmingham Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. Local shopping includes some of the most prestigious stores in the city, in Mountain Brook Village, The Summit and Brookwood Mall. Farther south of town, you will enter Hoover, Birmingham’s largest suburb. Hoover is the home to the Riverchase Galleria, Patton Creek and Regions Park where the Birmingham Barons baseball games are played. There are also a variety of restaurants and activties for families, couples and individuals. The Highway 280 corridor, which includes Greystone, Inverness and Chelsea to name a few neighborhoods, has also grown into a booming area of the city, boasting some of the city’s newest shopping, dining, entertainment and newly constructed neighborhoods. Continue east of downtown Birmingham on Interstate 20 and you will reach Irondale and Leeds. Irondale is home to the Irondale Café, most notable for its influence on the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. A few more miles east and you reach Leeds, home to the Barber Motorsports Park and Vintage Museum, Bass Pro Shops and our newest retail outlet center, Shops of Grand River. We hope that you have time to explore the many areas of the Magic City during your visit! The next several pages will help you navigate through the city and hopefully find fun places to visit for shopping, dining, nightlife and entertainment. ➤ EXCURSIONS 39
neighborhoods Mountain brook
The perfect location for a stroll to enjoy some of the area’s best salons, shopping, eating and beautiful homes.
ountain Brook is a suburb of Birmingham situated just “over the mountain” from downtown. A short drive, but a different world in terms of the atmosphere and appearance. It’s probably one of the most notable small cities in America due to its high median income, lush, treelined streets and magnificent homes. Mountain Brook is also home to some of the most unique shops in the city, packaged together in areas that feel like little towns. These three distinct villages, English Village, Crestline Village and Mountain Brook Village, are similar but different and worthy of
investigating. Each of these villages has its own flair, great variety of privately owned specialty retailers, and fine and casual restaurants. When exploring Mountain Brook, one should travel the winding roads that connect village to village and enjoy the tremendous views of the private country club golf courses, spectacular homes and brilliantly manicured landscapes. The villages are perfect for strolling from store to store and exploring the many shops and eateries. Mountain Brook is also notable for the a host of celebrities including Wayne Rogers, Kate Jackson, Courteney Cox and former Green Bay Packers quarterback, Bart Starr.
2412 Canterbury Road, Mtn Brook, AL 35223; www.salon2412.com; 205.414.7854
Photo: (top) Jeffrey Rease
Salon 2412 offers a complete range of professional services including haircuts and styles for men and women, hair color, nail services, brow shaping and waxing, event hair and bridal services and the new Bumble & Bumble Con-cen Straight Treatment. Salon 2412 boasts an extensive line of Bumble & Bumble and Oribe products and is excited to offer Shellac for nails. Salon 2412’s professional stylists and manicurists are among the most knowledgeable and experienced in the business and you will be treated like royalty in this high-styled, modern salon.
A Tiny Kingdom
Once upon a time there was a magical place in Mountain Brook Village where children’s dreams came to life. More than a toy store, more than a party venue, A Tiny Kingdom is a special occasion destination. Offering both time-tested favorites and unique, one of a kind gifts, there are treats for boys and girls of all ages. Parents are also in for a treat because A Tiny Kingdom can handle every detail of specially- themed birthday celebrations—from invitations to costumes to personalized gift registries. And, there’s no need to wait for a birthday to give your prince or princess the royal treatment. With an unsurpassed selection of toys, video games, collectibles, dolls for adoption and so much more, A Tiny Kingdom came make any day unforgettable. 2834 Culver Road, Mtn. Brook, AL 35223; www.atinykingdom.com; 205.802.8469
Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers
Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers, where quality, fine workmanship, and exceptional customer service are the cornerstone of their 24-year established business. Barton-Clay prides themselves in their highend jewels, watches, and unique gift items. They are the exclusive Alabama dealer for the Panerai watch brand and carry other prestigious brands such as Raymond Weil, Ebel, and Montblanc. In house authorized Rolex technician, jewelry and watch repairs, along with custom design. 2701 Cahaba Road, Mtn Brook, AL 35223;
Billy’s Sports Grill
Billy’s Sports Grill has been a Birmingham tradition for over 32 years starting in its original location in English Village in Mountain Brook. With its rustic neighborhood bar atmosphere & modern updates you get the best of both worlds between an old time bar & grill and a full service restaurant with fabulous cuisine. Billy’s serves some of the best house-made specialties like: Fresh cut & battered Cheese Sticks, Fried Olives, Signature Chicken Sandwich (a favorite by all), Award Winning Wings, Cut to order Steaks, & Famous White & Hot Mustard Sauces just to name a few. Billy’s opened its second location in Liberty Park. Both locations have live entertainment several nights/week and offer full service catering. Two convenient locations: (English Village) 2012 Cahaba Road,
Mountain Brook, 205-879-2238; (Liberty Park) 4520 Overton Road, Birmingham, 205-956-2323; See our ad in the Dining Section on page 63.
neighborhoods Mountain brook Charlotte Woodson Antiques This charming shop offers hand-selected delicious antiques and decorative arts from Italy, France, etc. 18th century tapestries, unusual lamps, silver sixpence, handmade sheep, and wonderful mirrors are just a sampling of wonderful treasures you’ll find here. Major credit cards, shipping, and gift wrapping. 2410 Canterbury Road,
Mtn Brook 35223; www.charlottewoodson.com; 205.871.3314
Nothing but Noodles
Nothing but Noodles is a fast-casual restaurant dedicated to providing the highest quality, best tasting, made to order noodle and global pasta dishes available. We fill the void between the typical fast-food outlet that so many people frequent due to lack of choices and time constraints and a full service dining experience that is both costly and time consuming. Within 15 minutes of entering the store, customers are enjoying a wok-seared bowl of noodles or a garden fresh salad served in one of our heavy ceramic china bowls. Serving cuisine that draws on a variety of cultural influences from around the world, including Asian, European, Mediterranean and American, Nothing but Noodles offers something for every member of the family to enjoy! 2800 Cahaba Village Plaza Ste. 140, Mtn Brook,
AL 35243; www.nothingbutnoodles.com; 205.238.5511
2838 Culver Road, Mtn Brook 35223; www.olexas.com; 205.871.2060
Photo: (Top Rigth) becky Luigart-Stayner
When shopping Mountain Brook Village, Olexa’s Cafe is a must for a memorable and delicious lunch. The charming cafe is open Monday thru Saturday 10am to 4pm serving homemade quiche, crepes, grilled panini sandwiches, unique salads, soups and blissful desserts. Also a full service catering and wedding cake company, locals know to never leave without a piece of warm buttercreme cake. The warm white chocolate chunk bread pudding with butter rum sauce is a local favorite and perfect with a cup of coffee after a fun day in the village! Hours Mon-Sat 10 - 4
One of the bustling Mountain Brook villages boasting unique boutiques and fine eateries.
ucked away between Eastern Birmingham and Irondale lies the bustling Crestline Village. Teeming with locally owned boutiques, restaurants and a nursery, one could spend a day roaming from place to place. Planning a wedding? Then, you must stop by Ivory and White for the latest in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Looking for the
perfect cocktail dress? Stop in Hayden to get ready for that special night on the town. Laura Kathryn will also help you get into the latest styles in apparel, shoes and handbags. Be sure to pet her new puppy! Down the street a bit is ORE Drink & Dine where singer/actor turned restaurateur, Taylor Hicks, may be there to greet you. Please let our advertisers know that EXCURSIONS brought you to their doors!
Ivory And White Boutique
At the heart of the Ivory & White experience, just like the wedding itself, is the bride. Our passion and promise is to make sure that every bride has the perfect gown for her perfect day, and we do so by providing the utmost in personal attention. The dedicated and talented stylists of Ivory & White will provide you with consummate one-on-one service by appointment, to unite you with a gown that celebrates and complements your individual beauty and personal style. Because just as we believe your wedding day should truly be the happiest day of your life, we believe that the right gown is essential in making it so.
55 Church Street,Birmingham, Al 35213; www.ivorywhiteboutique.com; 205-871-2888
Laura Kathryn Hayden
Hayden Boutique is located in prestigious Crestline Village. We specialize in Women and Tween (7-14 girls) fashion. Hayden carries lines such as It jeans, Glam, Minnie Rose, Joy Joy, Ya, and much more. We also carry fashion jewelry, handbags and other accessories. At Hayden you will find looks complementing not only teenagers but also the sophisticated woman with sizes ranging from 0-14. We carry thousands of items from hundreds of different brands ensuring you can walk out with the perfect outfit with accessories and all. Come in now! 81 Church Street, Mountain Brook, AL,
Laura Kathryn is an exclusive women’s boutique located in Crestline Village. Dressing the city’s women for the past twenty years, it carries one of a kind items and select designer labels. Go in and you will find exquisite pieces by designers such as Alice + Olivia, Calleen Cordero, Cordani, Ella Moss, Frye, Joie, Rebecca Taylor, Shoshanna, Tibi, Velvet and Waverly Grey. We carry not only a large selection of womens clothing but also timeless jewelry, fabulous shoes, and beautiful handbags perfect for women of all ages. From teenagers to hip moms or college ladies to career women, at Laura Kathryn, we have the perfect items to satisfy any fashion craving.61 Church Street, Birmingham, AL 35213; www.shoplaurakathryn.com; 205.870.5683
“Voted Birmingham’s Best New Restaurant of 2011 by Birmingham Magazine, ORE Drink and Dine serves “Southern Eclectic” fare created by Executive Chef Joey Dickerson with carefully selected Wine pairings by Certified Sommelier Alexis Douglas. From Joey’s daily prepared Fresh Catch to the Prime Steaks and ORE Burger, there are many original items that will suit your culinary delights. You will enjoy live music in a lively atmosphere in this Birmingham original. Join us and co-owner, Birmingham native Taylor Hicks, in a celebration of Birmingham’s hard working past and Southern culinary future. Remodeled from “The Open Door Café,” Ore strives to bring only the freshest local ingredients to you in a creative and delicious way. Also, don’t miss ORE’s celebrated Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring Alabama Music Hall of Famer Cleve Eaton!” 1115 Dunston Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35213, 205.745.3920
Historic Downtown Homewood is home to the most eclectic mix of shops, boutiques and eateries in the area.
trolling from store to store, window-shopping. sipping on a coffee and catching the happy hour specials are a favorite pasttime for many who frequent downtown Homewood. Dowtown Homewood offers the charm and convenience of old-fashioned shopping and dining, while offering everything from antiques, to home accessories, tothe latest
fashions for women, men and children of all ages. And donâ€™t miss the variety of food options in downtown and Soho Square. Many downtown Homewood merchants have thrived in this area for decades. Whether you are staying in downtown Birmingham, on the Highway 280 corridor or in Hoover, downtown Homewood is easy to find and well worth your time. EXCURSIONS 45
A unique “vintage, modern and antiques” shop, you’ll find plenty of mid-20th century finds blended with a contemporary look at Soho Retro. Owner Steve Thomas is constantly on the hunt for the most unique items. The most frequent comment from customers is that Soho Retro always leaves them smiling. A browse among the unique selection of furniture, accessories, linens and jewelry will take you back to the “modern” era, and provide you with a whole new “retro” experience. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. 2805 18th St. South, Homewood, AL, 35209; www.shopsohoretro.com; 205.870.7655
The Briarcliff Shop started out fifty years ago as a lamp store and over the years have added home accessories and furniture. A very traditional store, so what you find at The Briarcliff Shop will last you a lifetime. The Briarcliff Shop also has a wide variety of gifts for all occasions—wedding, birthday, anniversary, baby and a great holiday selection. Newly relocated to Homewood, the owner loves her new open space and location that allows shoppers to shop door to door. The Braircliff Shop has new merchandise arriving all the time so come see what we have to offer. 1829 29th Ave South, Homewood, AL, 35209;
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Voted “Best Steaks” by readers of The Birmingham News and Best Steak House by Fox 6 “Best Of” 2300 Woodcrest Place, Located at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Birmingham, AL 35209; www.ruthschris.com; 205-879-9995
Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Birmingham, Alabama is situated in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel conveniently located just off the Red Mountain Expressway between the Homewood and Mountain Brook neighborhoods. Deep, rich reds with accents of teal and copper predominate the steakhouse dining room while the dense foliage of the open atrium hotel envelops our restaurant in an air of casual elegance. Private dining rooms offer a variety of event options for 10 to 300 guests. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two, an important business luncheon, a social event, or an all-day meeting, Ruth’s Chris Birmingham can accommodate your needs.
a.k.a. Girl Stuff Pinches Tacos
Pinches Tacos specializes in freshly cooked authentic Mexican cuisine. Using recipes that date back generations in the Anaya family, we hand select the freshest vegetables and high quality meats to make what we feel is one of the best tacos anywhere. Whether you choose our Carne Asada Taco made with angus beef on a freshly made tortilla, our Fish Taco made with red snapper or even our chips with fresh guacamole, we are sure that you will make you come back for more. We look forward to seeing you soon! 300 Hallman Hill, Ste 109, Birmingham, AL 35209; 205.536.6511
Located at the top of the hill on 18th Street South in historic downtown Homewood, a.k.a. Girl Stuff has been voted “Best for Shopping” by the Birmingham Visitors & Convention Bureau year after year. Just pay them a visit and you’ll soon experience why they’ve been around for more than 10 years. This boutique isn’t just your typical women’s clothing store. It features fun - yet moderately priced - apparel and accessories for women 20 to a ‘hip’ 55. When it comes to gifts, you’ll find a totally different assortment of gifts for pre-teens to 100! You’ll always be greeted by an owner and treated like a guest. 2906 18th Street South, Homewood, AL 35209;
Photo: Arden Ward
Harmony Landing is located on 18th Street in the heart of downtown Homewood since 1999. We feature casual furniture and upholstery for your home or second home. We have a variety of products including home décor and gifts. Our accessory selections complement every style. Lamps, wall art, rugs, linens, and tabletop, we offer the best selection of seasonal décor and custom floral designs. The assortment is broad enough to include everything you need to make your house into a home. Our knowledgeable staff offers warm personal service to every customer. Please come in and visit us and become a part of the Harmony Landing experience. 2925 18th Street South, Homewood, AL 35209; www.harmonylanding.com: 205.871.0585
Jinsei Sushi Ambiance
Ambiance is a unique gift boutique located in the heart of charming Homewood. You can find a wide variety of home decor, handbags, jewelry, women’s attire, and an assortment of items that are vintage in style and from diverse cultures all over the world! Dedicated to customer service, Ambiance is the place to beautifully decorate your home, satisfy your fashion fix, or to purchase gifts for everyone on your list. Drop by Ambiance and instantly be transformed into a global shopper without ever needing your passport! 2824 South 18th Street, Homewood, AL 35209, 205.797.5592
Located at the heart of SoHo in Homewood, AL. Jinsei is an intimate dining experience offering an exquisite blend of Japanese French Fusion cuisine and a Champagne collection that is befitting of a “big city” restaurant. Jinsei is the perfect place to dine on the freshest sushi and lounge with friends while sipping on their award winning cocktails. The signature dish, Kadoma Tuna, pairs well with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut, bringing the subtle spices of both the wine and the dish to the forefront of your palette. Featuring one of the largest sake and champagne selections in the Southeast, Jinsei is not to be missed. Open 7 days a week for lunch, 11-2, and dinner 5- until. 1830 29th Avenue South, Homewood, AL 35209,
2818 18th Street South, Homewood, AL 35209, www.shaias.com; 205.871.1312
Shaia’s is a menswear retailer in the finest sense of the tradition, featuring makers such as Zegna, John Varvatos and Luciano Barbera, among many. Shaia’s has been included numerous times in Esquire Magazine’s annual “Best of Class” issue—awarded the Gold Standard for menswear stores—alone among Alabama retailers. More than a shop that sells suits, sportswear, shoes, accessories and formal wear, Shaia’s is a destination for camaraderie, much like a coffee house or men’s club of old. It’s a mingling of generations, personalities and points of view where anyone can feel at home upon arrival, and will be well-dressed upon departure.
Collage Designer Consignment
You may have seen Collage Designer Consignment on The Balancing Act Show on Lifetime Television, on FoxBusiness or in Southern Living or Entrepreneur Magazine, but it is nothing like experiencing Collage in person. For twenty years, Collage has outfitted well-heeled women from news anchors to attorneys and has consistently attracted merchandise from the most exclusive closets in the Southeast. From Chico’s to Armani, Stuart Weitzman to Jimmy Choo, you’ll find the labels you love in a cozy boutique atmosphere with plenty of personal attention or space to browse, all at prices less than wholesale. For details or to shop online, please visit ShopCollage.com. 1802 29th Avenue South, Homewood, AL 35209; www.shopcollage.com; 205.879.6163
Voted “Best Boutique” by Birmingham Magazine readers two years in a row, Soca Clothing is the one-stop shop to buy everything you need to rock the latest fashions. Known for their outstanding customer service and impeccable collection of designer denim, you are sure to find the perfect fit and style at Soca Clothing. From accessories and shoes, to dresses and denim, this contemporary boutique offers the best collections in the fashion industry. 2820 18th Streeet South, Homewood, AL 35209; www.socaclothing.com; 205.879.6788
Established in 1973 as The Brass Bed, and now Mantooth Interiors. Owners Larry & Lynette Mantooth have created an extensive collection of fine hand crafted furniture, luxury bed linens, chandeliers, art and rugs. Furnishing some of the south’s most celebrated homes. Our fine furnishings are designed to become valued heirloom pieces handed down from one generation to the next. Chic metropolitan, classic tradition, or regal elegance, we have the perfect piece for every taste and style. While visiting Birmingham treat yourself to a walk through our gallery and our village of unique shops and restaurants. Nationwide delivery available. 2813 18th
Street South,Homewood, AL 35209, www.mantoothinteriors.com; 205.879.5474
neighborhoods cahaba heights
An upscale community brimming with variety and charm.
estled in between Downtown Birmingham and I-459 corridor is a small but affluent community called Cahaba Heights. Cahaba Heights is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the City of Vestavia Hills and has long been a favorite community among Birmingham natives. Boutique stores, children’s stores, antique stores, hair and nail salons, locally owned restaurants, and many other specialty retailers call Cahaba Heights home. Visit specialty boutiques Serendipity and Manhattan South. For the
little ones, be sure to stop in “Kid Row” and find the latest in fashions and toys at Little Soles, The Lili Pad & GiGi’s and Learning Express. Feeling a little hungry? We’ve got you covered there, too. Check out Suburban Grill for some great southern-style cooking or take some fresh seafood home with you from Sexton’s Seafood. Located just off of Highway 280 between Lakeshore Parkway and I-459, Cahaba Heights is a great place to get out of the car and wander around. Be sure to park at Heights Village, which is centrally located and home to all of the merchants featured in this section.
Hours: 11am - 9pm Monday - Saturday. 3154 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243; www.suburbangrill.com; 205.972.9227
Suburban Grill is about classic American food. It is best described as a “meat and three” with culinary flair. Featuring such favorites as bacon-wrapped meatloaf, hamburger steak, baked or grilled chicken, crabcakes, grilled fish, and a wide variety of fresh cooked vegetables, salads and homemade desserts. Suburban Grill offers a wide selection of wines by the glass and both draft and bottled beers to accompany your dinner selection. Carry out and catering is available for any size group. Call and let us help you put together the perfect meal for your professional or family needs. Suburban Grill is located on Cahaba Heights Road in the Heights Village shopping center just a mile from Highway 280.
Manhattan South (named for Manhattan Beach, CA) embodies the West Coast lifestyle— relaxed, carefree but totally sexy and put-together. Manhattan South was voted “Best Women’s Boutique” by Fox 6, a local television station. What people are saying about Manhattan South: “Manhattan South has something for everyone by combining posh fashion with laid-back style. While offering high-end items, most of the prices are extremely affordable and there is always a selection of sale items to choose from. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating to the customer’s every need, even going so far as to specially order products and inventory. A luxurious collection of clothing, accessories, and shoes combined with the best staff in the Birmingham makes Manhattan South the Best Women’s Boutique!” 3122 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243; www.manhattansouth.net; www.facebook.com/manhattansouth; 205.977.3871
Serendipity is a fabulous chic boutique located in Heights Village in Cahaba Heights. Confident, fun and all about attitude; this boutique captures fun styles for both work and play. Carrying such lines as Silver, Neon Budda, Mystree, Cutloose, Pure Sweaters, David Kahn jeans, Christopher Blue, WORN jeans, Anna Lili, and more Serendipity is sure to have something for any woman on your shopping list. With new arrivals of women’s fashions, shoes, jewelry, handbags and more coming in weekly, Serendipity Boutique is definitely a shop you will not want to miss. 3124 Heights Village,
Birmingham, AL 35243; www.serendipityboutique.net; 205.970.2398
Sexton’s Seafood is conveniently located in the Heights Village off highway 280 in the Cahaba Heights community. Sexton’s is dedicated in procuring and selling the finest American Gulf products for over 25 years. The store hours are Tuesday through Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturdays 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Their selection includes Red Snapper, Scamp, Grouper, Trigger Fish, Tuna, Flounder, Swordfish, Shrimp, Crabmeat, oysters, mussels, and clams. Other seasonal items such as halibut, wild salmons, Live Crawfish, and stone crab claws are available. Sexton’s packs to travel so bring your own cooler or coolers are available. 3164 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243, 205.967.3437
neighborhoods cahaba heights
Learning Express Toys
Learning Express Toys of Cahaba Heights takes great pride in calling ourselves “Your Neighborhood Toy Store” because we are just that: a hub of activity, a meeting spot for kids and families, a place where we get to know you by name and where going the extra mile for you is the norm. We go to work each day to provide you, our neighbors, with a warm, friendly environment in which to shop, meet, and learn. We seek out unique toys that catch our eyes for lots of play value. Our store is filled with learning toys, infant toys, baby toys ... unique toys that will delight children of all ages. 3132 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243, cahabaheights.learningexpress-toys.com; 205.970.9710
The Lili Pad & GiGi’s
The Lili Pad and GiGi’s are nestled in the quaint neighborhood of Cahaba Heights. This “Alabama Retailer of the Year” boutique offers 3,000 square feet of shopping bliss for children’s clothing and gifts. With an outstanding reputation as THE place with the cutest children’s clothes and gifts in Birmingham, The Lili Pad offers sizes preemie to 16 for girls and up to size 12 for boys. Adjoining The Lili Pad is GiGi’s , THE place for teens, tweens, and drama queens offers a large selection of fashion and style that both mother and daughter continuously come back for. Come see why both stores were voted “Birmingham’s 2011 Favorite Children’s and Tween Clothing Boutiques” by Alabama Baby & Child magazine readers! 3138 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243, 205.298.1811
Little Soles is Birmingham’s premier full service children’s shoe store, offering shoes for boys and girls from newborns to teens. With a full range of children’s shoes, hair accessories and hosiery, Little Soles is known for offering an excellent selection of quality products by Stride Rite, Morgan and Milo, Willits, Keds and Livie and Luca. We also carry hard to find European lines such as Naturino, Primigi, Elephantito and Umi to name a few. A knowledgeable staff and friendly atmosphere will make buying shoes at Little Soles a pleasure. Little Soles is locally owned and is the perfect place to find little soles for your little feet. 3140 Heights Village, Birmingham, AL 35243; 205.970.6990
Ca rra wa yB lvd
t Ave S
S Av e S Av e 4th S Av e 6th
5 POINTS SOUTH
ENGLISH VILLAGE ve st A
MOUNTAIN BROOK VILLAGE
HOMEWOOD le Val
Green Valley Rd
mp ho us eR d
MaP ILLUstratIoN: JaMes WILLIaMs
HEIGHTS VILLAGE Cahaba Heights Rd
Neighborhoods and Suburbs of Birmingham This map provides general reference points and major roadways for navigating to the neighborhoods and suburbs highlighted in this section. Please scan the QR codes with your smartphone for a link to Google map directions or ask hotel personnel for more specific
directions to each of these conveniently located neighborhoods. When visiting our neighborhood sponsors, please let them know that EXCURSIONS pointed you towards them. You may also view EXCURSIONS online at www.cityvision.tv. ď ś eXCUrsIoNs 53
An Ocean of Flavor Chef George Reis serves seafood in style.
ew Southern cities can brag about their dining scene like Birmingham. It seems that every corner boasts an outstanding restaurant with an awardwinning chef. With so many delicious choices, navigating your way requires a skilled guide, and no one’s better than Chef George Reis. “Birmingham is a great culinary city, filled with world-class restaurants,” Reis says. “We’re very proud to be recognized as two of the better restaurants in a town with
such a rich culinary scene.” Reis is chef and owner of two of downtown Birmingham’s most sought-after dining spots, Ocean and 26. Fortunately for you, they’re located right next door to each other, so treating yourself to both in one night makes for one delicious itinerary. As you’d expect, seafood steals the show at Ocean, while 26 is the place the see and be seen in Birmingham. But the one thing these restaurant siblings have in common is the creative palate of their head chef. “We feature a globally inspired menu, which makes us a little different in Birming-
ham,” says Reis. “A lot of the cuisine in this town is pseudo-French southern; we pull in flavors from around the world.” Reis began acquiring his worldly palate at the tender age of four. His foodie parents encouraged him to explore cuisine hands on, even if it meant he had to stand in a chair to reach the stove. “My parents were very adventurous in the kitchen,” he remembers. “My dad took lessons from James Beard, and we’d cook with tofu, dried wood-ear mushrooms, all kinds of stuff that most kids those days had never heard of.” Early experiences with exotic flavors molded his culinary perspective as his passion for cooking grew. Whereas some chefs might lose their way working with such a variety of worldly flavors, each dish Reis conceives is a focused culinary discovery. He says the secret is starting with the best ingredients. “We’ve made a commitment to source and serve the best fish possible,” Reis says, matter-of-factly. “That’s the beauty of really great seafood; it doesn’t take a lot to make it stand out.” All modesty aside, every dish that Reis creates stands out. Employing his global influences and the restaurant’s many tools, Reis uses his passion and creativity to deliver flavor-infused dishes that leave you almost speechless. “I’m part boy scout, part chef,” Reis muses, as he describes his passion for the wood-fired oven at Ocean. “You have to know how to build a fire, feed it, nurture it. It takes cooking to another level.” Love for the grill aside, Reis says if he had to pick one dish to eat at Ocean, hed opt for the pan-seared grouper. I love that old French style, where you have all six eyes of the stove going, and you sauté the world, he says. Reading the menu at his flagship restaurant Ocean is like flipping the pages of a culinary atlas. Italy, India, Thailand, Jamaica, Greece, France...wherever waves crash, there Reis draws inspiration. “We picked the name Ocean because oceans touch every continent in the world,” Reis says. “By focusing on seafood, we’re
by Josh miller
able to showcase any kind of cuisine…we’re not pigeonholed to a certain regional cuisine or flavor profile. The world is my palate.” He speaks the truth. A glance at the menu takes your senses on an exotic journey. Words like, “saffron-scented,” “wasabi-crusted” and “Thai-spiced” pique your interest, while comfort comes with a twist on the familiar, like his Tabasco beurre blanc, brown butter vinaigrette and housemade Worchestershire. With a respectfully gentle hand, Reis applies these flavor accoutrements to showcase the amazing array of fresh seafood and local produce that he and his staff painstakingly source daily. It’s no surprise that their effort and talent have earned Ocean the AAA Four Diamond Award for five years running. Reis takes his restaurants’ ambiance as seriously as he does the food. The beauty of both Ocean and 26 is their approachability factor. While Ocean stands out as the more elegant setting, both are relaxed enough to welcome you as you are. Ocean’s white tablecloths, cool, aquatictoned lighting, and opalescent seafloor inspired tiled walls make it the perfect place for meaningful meals. Refined without being stuffy, the main dining room allows guests to dine in comfortable intimacy. Next door, 26 buzzes with a certain tangible energy you can feel in the air and taste on the plate. Named as a homage to his two young sons, 26 embodies their youthful exuberance. From the LED underlit concrete bar to the bright, wave-motif walls to the metal “waterfall” curtain, the mood here is vibrant and humming. A quick glance around the dining room of 26 reveals a remarkably diverse crowd. While twenty-somethings laugh and live it up down the bar, their friends are doing the same in the dining room, next to tables of
baby boomers, businessmen and girlfriends out for a night on the town. In fact, the only thing the diners at 26 have in common is they all seem to be having an awesome time. That, and they’re staring adoringly at their dinner. The menu at 26, like at Ocean, is inspired by every place touched by the sea. And while seafood is a big star, George enjoys the opportunity to create some amazing dishes for landlovers. “At 26, you can’t beat the braised short ribs,” Reis says. “But the hidden secret on the menu is definitely the Asian stir-fried pork. Most people skip it because it’s the cheapest on the menu. The taste is alive and vibrant — it’s screaming with flavor.” So at my last visit to 26, I took his advice and ordered the pork. No surprise —he was absolutely right. Saturated with flavor, the fork-tender pork paired perfectly with the spicy, crunchy slaw...every bite was pure pleasure. It wasn’t just the pork that made the night. It was the expertly mixed dry martini I had at Ocean, delivered by a bartender who took his craft as serious as rocket science; it was the fun and tasty appetizers we noshed on during the famous happy hour at 26 while we waited for our table; it was the smile and charm of our waitress as she
guided us through the night’s menu. The sum total of these details is a completely satisfying dining experience that makes you want to come back for more. If you’d like to sample the taste and ambience of Ocean and 26 for yourself, they’re just a few steps from the Five Points district in Downtown Birmingham. Stop in for drinks and appetizers at 26. If you can manage to tear yourself away (and you should) head next door to Ocean for a dinner you’ll never forget.
Reservations Reservations are accepted at both restaurants; call ahead for availability.
Ocean is located at 1218 20th Street South. Call 205.933.0999 or visit their website at www.oceanbirmingham.com.
26 is located next door at 1210 20th Street South. Call 205.918.0726 or visit their website at www.twentysix26.com.
Seabass at Ocean
MetroPrime Steakhouse’s Double-Cut Lamb Chops
Photo: (OPPosite) bigswedefood.net; (top) brent boyd
Love at First Bite
Birmingham’s Culinary Hot-Spots Are Sure to Delight
ne of the best kept secrets about Birmingham is its dining. From casual dives to some of the country’s best fine dining, your culinary experience in the Magic City will be one to write home about- and keep you coming back! Looking for a good place for lunch? Head to one of Billy’s Sports Grill’s two locations in either Mt. Brook or Liberty Park for their signature chicken sandwich or their hot wings, voted Birmingham’s Best Hot Wings. For great pizza, Slice Stone Pizza & Brew is a great spot to grab a slice and a craft beer. For great burritos, tacos and burgers served until 2 a.m., head over to Fuego Cantina in Five Points South. Sit outside on the spacious patio and enjoy people watching from the best spot in the area or head in to the Saloon for a drink and live music after dinner. While in the Five Points area, try The J. Clyde for dinner and a beer in their Biergarten. The J. Clyde is the only place in Alabama that serves cask-conditioned ales with traditional British Beer Engines. If upscale dining is up your alley, Village Tavern at The Summit is the place for you. A relaxed atmosphere paired with great steaks, fish, burgers and pizza makes for a great dining experience.
For the meat eaters out there, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in the Embassy Suites in Homewood is a must try. Voted “Best Steak” by the Birmingham News, Ruth’s Chris is the place to go for a mouthwatering meal. Just over the mountain in 5 Points South is another great locally- owned steakhouse, MetroPrime Steakhouse. MetroPrime features hand-cut and dry-aged beef and their burger is one of the best in town. If fine dining is what you are looking for, head to Ocean in Five Points South for some of the city’s best seafood. Or, head next door to 26 for a more casual meal and a mojito at one of Birmingham’s trendiest spots. Also near 5 Points South is The Fish Market serving up fresh seafood prepared a variety of ways - Greek style is the local favorite. Little Savannah in Forest Park offers a menu that changes daily with the freshest locally grown vegetables and meats available. If you’re on the eastern side of town, be sure to check out Taylor Hicks’ Ore Drink & Dine - known for their Sunday Jazz Brunch. In Lakeview, you can transport yourself to France and dine at Cafe de Paris for authentic French cuisine. For something more familiar, try Landry’s Seafood in Homewood. No matter what you’re craving, there is something for all tastes in Birmingham! EXCURSIONS 57
The J. Clyde
ORE Drink & Dine
1312 Cobb Lane, Birmingham, AL 35205 205.939.1312, www.jclyde.com
1115 Dunston Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35213-2132 205.745.3920, www.oredrinkanddine.com
There’s no place like The J. Clyde. With Birmingham’s largest covered patio, you can eat outside rain or shine! On Historic Cobb Lane, the newly renovated front bar is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. Originally, horse pens and later a 1920’s era garage, the building has a unique history. Add in a German-style Biergarten and a Parisian street cafe and there’s a little space for everyone.
“Voted Birmingham’s Best New Restaurant of 2011 by Birmingham Magazine, ORE Drink & Dine serves “Southern Eclectic” fare created by Executive Chef Joey Dickerson with carefully selected Wine pairings by Certified Sommelier Alexis Douglas. From Joey’s daily prepared Fresh Catch to the Prime Steaks and ORE Burger, there are many original items that will suit your culinary delights. You will enjoy live music in a lively atmosphere in this Birmingham original.
HourS oF operaTion
Sunday: Closed, Monday: 2pm – midnight (Pub menu only 3pm-10pm) Tues – Thurs: 2pm – 2am, Friday: 2pm – 4am (kitchen closes at 2am) Saturday: 2pm – 2am
A Few Items From Our Menu Southern-Style Caprese Stack: Alabama grown tomatoes layered with marinated black eyed peas, fresh mozzarella and basil, garnished with fried okra and pancetta Chicken Fingers: Hand breaded chicken tenders with ranch, honey mustard or bleu cheese dressing and your choice of sweet potato fries, steak fries or pasta salad The J. Clyde Burger: 8 oz. Classic American burger topped with a fried green tomato
Join us and co-owner, Birmingham native Taylor Hicks, in a celebration of Birmingham’s hard working past and Southern culinary future. Remodeled from “The Open Door Café,” Ore strives to bring only the freshest local ingredients to you in a creative and delicious way. Also, don’t miss ORE’s celebrated Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring Alabama Music Hall of Famer Cleve Eaton!” Hours of operation: Lunch 11am-3pm Tuesday—Saturday Dinner 5pm-10pm Tuesday—Saturday Sunday Brunch 10:30 am - 2:30pm scan code to like us on facebook
A Few Items From Our Menu Fried Green Tomatos With Crawfish Etouffe Smoked Salmon Chips • Paella Crawfish Springrolls • Blackened Tuna Caesar Citrus Braised Short Ribs
The J. Clyde offers more craft beer than any other place in Alabama and easily offers the most taps of fresh ales and lagers in Birmingham.
Ocean 1218 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205 205.933.0999, oceanbirmingham.com
26 1210 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205 205.918.0726, oceanbirmingham.com/26
Welcome to Ocean. Opened by George Reis in 2002, and located in the trendy Five Points district of Birmingham’s Southside. Enjoy a casual night out with friends at the inviting and contemporary patio bar, or venture inside for some of the best seafood in town for an award-winning dining experience. Enjoy a signature martini at our beautiful, waterfall-accented bar, or feast on an array of oysters, shrimp, clams and lobster at the raw bar.
Ocean has a sibling… with the same city-feel but industrial-chic decor and the buzz of bistro dining. Slow-roasted, rustic flavors meet fast, fresh influences… Light and heavy play together with the extraordinary flavor combinations that George Reis does so well.
Ocean is one of Birmingham’s most recognized restaurants, winning multiple awards including Best Chef and Best Restaurant, not to mention a regular winner of the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and Winner of the AAA Four Diamond award for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Reservations are recommended.
26 features a big-city feel that makes it unlike any other restaurant in town. From the art deco inspired seating, to the LED-lit bar, there’s always something new to see at 26. The eclectic dishes on the menu rival those of the biggest names in food. Best of all, 26 keeps the kitchen open late, so you can go enjoy a show, and then still have time for a fantastic meal.
Reservations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday. Tuesday - Saturday starting at 5:30pm SCan COde tO view OuR videO
Scan code to view ouR video
HOuRS OF OPeRatiOn
HouRS of opeRation
Lunch 11am-2pm, Bar Menu 2pm – 5pm Dinner Monday-Thursday 5pm-10pm Dinner Friday-Saturday 5pm – 11pm
A Few Items From Our Menu
A Few Items From Our Menu
Oysters Rockefeller: Spinach, bacon, manchego cheese, pernod cream
Rolls: Spicy Hawaiian Tuna, Red Pepper, Sambal, Cucumber, Macadamia Nuts, Toasted Coconut
Salt and Pepper Calamari: cumin remoulade and red pepper aioli
Starts: Blue Crab Sweet Corn Fritters, Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Buttermilk Garlic Dressing
Ocean Salad “greek style”: fried feta, crispy greens, roma tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives
Salads: 26 Chop – Romaine Hearts, Tomato, Apple, Bacon, Red Onion, Cucumber, Roasted Corn, Avocado, Candied Almonds, Maytag Bleu Cheese Dressing
Pure Fish: our freshest fish prepared four ways: wood grilled Greek style, steamed oriental style, pan seared or cornmeal crusted southern fried. Served with vegetables of the day, mashed potatoes of the day and Ocean salad.
Mains: Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Roasted Smashed Red Skin Potatoes, Caramalized Onions, Wild Mushrooms, Creole Mustard Horseradish Cream
Landry’s Seafood Since 1947 139 State Farm Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35209 205.916.0777, www.landrysseafood.com
Slice Stone Pizza & Brew 725 29th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35223 205.715.9300, slicebirmingham.com
Landry’s is a hit from the moment you walk through an inviting movie house-style entrance. One look at the menu, and it’s clear Landry’s isn’t just the catch of the day. It’s a classic. The exceptional, fresh seafood gets star billing, any way customers want it—gulf snapper, flounder, redfish, rainbow trout, salmon, tuna and mahi-mahi—all with or without specialty toppings incorporating jumbo lump crab, shrimp, scallops and crawfish. And there’s more: Bountiful seafood platters. Gulf shrimp, oysters and shellfish prepared myriad ways. Seafood-spiked gumbos, salads and pastas, plus beef and fowl to appeal to every palate. Landry’s Famous Salad Bowl, which comes with every entrée, is tossed at the table. And it’s served on ice-cold salad plates, a Gulf Coast tradition. Hours of operation: Sunday - Thursday 11am - 10pm Friday - Saturday 11am - 11pm Happy Hour: Monday - Friday 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Anybody can make a pizza. But if you’re looking for a true experience to accompany a unique twist on pizza, then you’ll find a new home at Slice. We keep our menu as fresh as our ingredients, so you’ll always have new things to try. Started by brothers, Jeff, Jason, and Chris Bajalieh, Slice Pizza & Brew is as local as you can get, from the ingredients that go into every pizza to the beer on tap. Started as a place not just to eat, but to hang out. We think no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll love the flavorful food and atmosphere. HOurS Of OperatiOn:
Monday - Wednesday 11am-10pm Thursday - Saturday 11am-12am Sunday 11am - 10pm Scan cOde tO vieW Our WeBSite
Shrimp and Crab Fondue Cedar Plank Salmon Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes Broiled Seafood Platter Steak and Lobster Landry’s Signature Bananas Foster
A Few Items From Our Menu Bajalieh Special - Bacon, Grilled Red Onion, Wickles Pepper Rings Old School - Molinari Pepperoni, House Italian Sausage, Fresh Mushrooms, Grilled Red Onion White Shadow - Garlic, Caramelized Onion, Portabella Mushrooms, Feta, Fresh Parmesan, Finished w/ Truffle Oil
A Few Items From Our Menu
Café de Paris 2801 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 205.202.4024, www.cafedeparis.us Party and catering available.
Café de Paris opened its doors on December 8, 2008 and since then this authentic French restaurant has been bringing a new French taste to the Magic City. Owned by two French chefs, Serge Pambo and Evens Estinfort, (both of whom grew up in France, attended French Culinary School and traveled for many years all over the world), Café de Paris and Birmingham are now where they call home. Bringing a little bit of Paris with them, the French chefs pride themselves in preparing fresh, homemade cuisine. When dining at Café de Paris you will feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint Parisian bistro. The food is always prepared at the peak of freshness and always delicious. The desserts are outstanding also and the best way to find out is to stop by Café de Paris. Ask us about parties and catering for your next event. HouRS of oPeRaTion:
Lunch: Monday - Friday 11am to 3pm Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday at 5pm Brunch: Sunday 10am to 3pm Scan coDe To view ouR viDeo
A Few Items From Our Menu Grilled Duck Breast: Grilled Duck Breast served with red fruit sauce
Herb De Provence Roasted Lamb: Marinated Lamb with herbs de Provence then roasted in the oven
Village Tavern 101 Summit Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35243 205.970.1640, www.villagetavern.com
Village Tavern celebrates classic American food featuring hand cut steaks, fresh seafood, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes and salads in a made from scratch kitchen. We offer over 60 selections by the glass from our Award winning wine list. Join us Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 for half off Happy hour in the Bar, or all day Wednesdays for half off all wines by the glass. Don’t forget live music in the Bar Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 9. HourS of oPeration:
Monday - Thursday 11am - 10pm Fridays - Saturdays 11am - 11pm Sundays 10am - 10pm SCan Code for SPeCial offer
A Few Items From Our Menu
Grilled Beef Tenderloin: Beef tenderloin grilled & served spicy Peppercorn Sauce
Southern Shrimp and Grits: Jumbo sautéed shrimp with diced bacon, mushrooms, & green onions over Anson Mills organic stone ground grits.
Grilled T Bone Steak: 14oz grilled T BONE steak with spicy peppercorn sauce
Maple Cured Pork Chops: Served with homemade apple chutney, garlic mashed potatoes & fresh green beans.
MetroPrime Steakhouse 1035 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205 205.623.5288, www.metroprimesteak.com
Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar 3811 Clairmont Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35222 205.591.1119, www.littlesavannah.com
Birmingham’s only local Prime steakhouse, MetroPrime Steakhouse, is located at the heart of the city in Historic Five Points South. The menu features a unique selection of prime, bone-in and dry-aged steak options. Every steak is hand-cut in house and seared under an 1800-degree specialty broiler. The menu is rounded out by a house-ground Prime burger, fresh seafood offerings and inventive steakhouse sides. The expansive bar area offers a more casual dining experience. The bar features handcrafted cocktails, eighteen specialty beers on tap and an extensive wine by the glass list. In addition, the bar offers a separate sandwich menu and a small plate menu – perfect for sharing while listening to live Jazz music on Saturday evenings or catching the game on one of our HD televisions. HOuRS Of OpeRAtiON: Monday – Saturday 4pm until 11pm VIP Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 4pm - 6pm & 9pm - midnight Sunday Brunch 11am until 4pm Bar open later ReSeRvAtiONS SuggeSteD fOR tHe DiNiNg ROOm
Welcome to Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar in Historic Forest Park, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. At this quaint neighborhood Southern Bistro, nightly remedies to life’s hustle are offered the Southern Way! Clif and Maureen, chef and coowner, will greet you at the door, to make sure your experience is as though you have come to their own home! While you are there, you will need to savor their Specialty Summer Cocktails like the Watermelon Mojitos or Spicy Peach Margaritas. As you peruse through the hand selected wines from their awardwinning wine list, you will find what makes Little Savannah’s Cuisine the highlight of your trip to Birmingham, Chef Clif’s amazing fusion of Southern Ingredients incorporated with flavors from around the world. Every week Chef Clif finds the freshest ingredients, some from the local Farmer’s Markets, some he picks right from the farm and even fresh herbs and Tommy Toe tomatoes from their back of the House Garden that Maureen tends to. “Knowing where your food comes from” is most important to the secrets of Little Savannah’s cuisine. Hours of operation
Bar opens Daily at 5pm until... Tuesday-Saturday supper begins at 5:30pm Tuesday-Thursday serving until 9:30pm Friday-Saturday until 10pm scan code for directions
Dry-Aged Steaks: Dry-aging is the oldest form of beef aging that adds remarkable depth of flavor and tenderness. 16oz New York Strip Well-marbled, larger end of the short loin. Served witha brandied green peppercorn sauce. Oysters Rockefeller Freshly shucked Apalachicola oysters topped with sautéed kale, Béchamel and aromatic breadcrumbs.
Our Menu Our menu changes daily, centered around the bounty offered by our Southern Seasons. Little Savannah Restaurant and Bar is focused on the nightly offerings of our “Indigenous Southern Cookery;” an easy model to “keep it local,” which emphasizes the best local ingredients balanced with a minimalist’s hands. Photo:
A Few Items From Our Menu
Ruth’s Chris Steak House Billy’s Sports Grill
2300 Woodcrest Place, At the Embassy Suites Hotel Birmingham, AL 35209, 205.879.9995, www.ruthschris.com
English Village, 2012 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35223 205.879.2238, Monday - Saturday 11am-11pm+ Liberty Park, 4520 Overton Road, Birmingham, AL 35210 205.956.2323, 7 Days 11am-11pm+ Sunday Brunch Served 11am - 3pm www.billysbarandgrill.com text “billys” to 46786 for special offers & updates
Billy’s has been a Birmingham tradition since 1979. With over 32 years of experience, you are sure to fall in love with not only the house made specialties, but the neighborhood atmosphere. Billy’s is known for many things, a few being their Signature Chicken Sandwich, White & Hot Mustard Sauces (which are available to take home), & their Award Winning Wings (yes, Billy’s has been voted Birmingham’s Best Hot Wings). With a family friendly atmosphere that turns into a great late night place to enjoy Live entertainment without the kids you can experience Billy’s personalities. Billy’s in English Village is open M-Sat from 11am-until and in Liberty Park is open 7 days a week from 11amuntil with a fabulous Brunch served on Sunday from 11am-3pm with great tasty options like Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Eggs Horatio, Omelets and more! Truly something for everyone is available from signature salads, sandwiches, steaks and the list goes on. Billy’s is also available for Catering and private events. Come on in and FEED YOUR GOAT!
A Few Items From Our Menu Billy’s Signature Chicken Sandwich
Southwest Wrap (Chicken or steak) Greek Chicken Wrap • Santa Fe Salad • Fried Olives
Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Birmingham, Alabama is situated in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel conveniently located just off the Red Mountain Expressway between the Homewood and Mountain Brook neighborhoods. Deep, rich reds with accents of teal and copper predominate the steakhouse dining room while the dense foliage of the open atrium hotel envelops the restaurant in an air of casual elegance. Private dining rooms offer a variety of event options for 10 to 300 guests. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two, an important business luncheon, a social event, or an all-day meeting, Ruth’s Chris Birmingham can accommodate your needs. Voted “Best Steaks” Readers of The Birmingham News and Best Steak House by Fox 6 “Best Of” HouRS of opeRatioN: Lunch Served daily 11am - 3pm Dinner Served daily 3pm - 10pm SCaN Code to make ReSeRvatioNS
A Few Items From Our Menu Sizzlin’ Blue Crab Cakes: Two jumbo lump crab cakes with sizzling lemon butter. New York Strip: This USDA Prime cut has a full-bodied texture that is slightly firmer than a rib eye. Creamed Spinach: A Ruth’s favorite, chopped spinach in a New Orleans style cream sauce. Ruth’s Chris Chopped Salad: A Ruth’s Chris original. Tossed with lemon basil dressing and topped with crispy onions
Taste the Flavors of Birmingham The Fish Market Southside 612 22nd Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 205.322.3330, www.thefishmarket.net
1210 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-918-0726, www.twentysix26.com Atrium Café in Sheraton Hotel
2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd, Birmingham, 205-307-3005 Bettola
2901 2nd Ave. S., Ste. 150, Birmingham 205-731-6499 Bogue’s
3028 Clairmont Ave. S., Birmingham 205-254-9780 Bottega Italian Restaurant and Cafe’
2240 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-939-1000 www.bottegarestaurant.com Brick & Tin Restaurant
214 20th St N, Birmingham 205-297-8636, www.brickandtin.com Cafe de Paris
2801 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-202-4024, www.cafedeparis.us Cafe Dupont
At The Fish Market in Southside, we have always wanted to give our customers a nice, comfortable place to visit and eat. This restaurant is all of that and more. You can eat in, or get your food to go. It is our sincere wish that you enjoy our restaurant, with its comfortable and casual dine-in experience, expanded fresh fish and market offerings, fine foods to go as well as our exciting new catering menu. We grew up hearing “Kalos orisate, kali orexi”. And so we say to you, “Welcome. Bring your healthy appetite.” HourS of operAtion: Monday 10am - 9 pm Friday-Saturday 10am - 10pm
A Few Items From Our Menu Smoked Salmon Spread: Smoked in-house and mixed with cream cheese, minced red onion and celery. Served with crostini Sicilian Mussels: Sauteed with white wine, herbs, marinara and served with citrus zest. Served with crusty bread Athenian Snapper: Fresh snapper or grouper with grilled onions, marinated Greek olives, diced tomatoes, creamy feta cheese and select Greek spices Jambalaya: Shrimp, sausage, and chicken mixed with our own spicy tomato based sauce and served with white rice
113 20th St. N., Birmingham 205- 322-1282, www.cafedupont.net Cantina Tortilla Grill
2901 2nd Ave. S., Ste. 110, Birmingham 205-323-6980 Carlile’s Barbecue
3511 6th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-254-9266 Century Restaurant and Bar at the Tutwiler
2021 Park Place N., Birmingham 205-458-9611 Chez FonFon
2007 11th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-939-3221 Cosmo’s 5 Pts Pizza
Fuego Cantina & Saloon
1101 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-1544 Garage Cafe & Antiques
2304 10th Terrace S., Birmingham 205-322-3220 Green Acres Cafe
1705 4th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-3875 Gus’s Hot Dogs
1915 4th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-4540 Highlands Bar & Grill
2011 11th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-939-1400 www.highlandsbarandgrill.com Hot & Hot Fish Club
2180 11th Court S., Birmingham 205-933-5474 www.hotandhotfishclub.com Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar B Q Five Points South
1908 11th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-320-1060, www.jimnnicks.com John’s City Diner
112 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd. N., Birmingham, 205-322-6014 www.johnscitydiner.com Kelley’s Neighborhood Sports Grill
720 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-323-9786 Little Savannah
3811 Clairmont Ave. S., Birmingham 205-591-1119, www.littlesavannah.net Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant
3324 Clairmont Ave. S., Birmingham 205-324-5896 www.losamigosmexican.com Lucy’s Coffee & Tea
2007 University Blvd., Birmingham 205-328-2007
2012 Magnolia Ave. S., Ste. R-3, Birmingham, 205-930-9971
Lyric Hot Dogs & Grill
Courtyard Oyster Bar & Grill Southside
Matthew’s Bar & Grill
1808 3rd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-9952
2015 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-558-4995
2208 Morris Ave., Birmingham 205-862-6261
1427 14th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-933-2133, www.dreamlandbbq.com Fish Market Restaurant
612 22nd St. S., Birmingham 205-322-3330 www.thefishmarket.net
1200 20th St. S., Ste. 100, Birmingham 205-212-9420 www.mellowmushroom.com MetroPRIME STEAKHOUSE
1035 20th Street S., Birmingham 205-623-5288, metroprimesteak.com
Southside and Downtown
dining Mix Bakery & Café
Original Pancake House
Moe’s Original BBQ
Oscar’s at the Museum
1820 4th Ave North, Downtown 205-323-4110
1931 11th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-933-8837
731 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-252-5888 www.moesoriginalbbq.com
2000 Rev Abraham Woods Jr Blvd., Birmingham, 205-254-2755
New York Style Delicatessen
1106 12th St. S., Birmingham 205-328-2749
121 20th St. N., Birmingham 205-250-7878 Newk’s Express Cafe
611 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd. S., Birmingham, 205-323-0992 www.newkscafe.com Niki’s Downtown Cafe
1101 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-1972 Ocean
1218 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-0999 www.oceanbirmingham.com On Tap Sports Cafe - Lakeview
Pita Stop Cafe Bar & Grill
Rocky’s Pizza & Subs
715 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd., Birmingham, 205-252-8282 www.rockyspizza.net 2312 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-202-4151 www.roguetavern.com
1717 10th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-933-7555
Q & S Soul Food Restaurant
215 41st St. S., Birmingham 205-591-1409 Ranelli’s Deli & Cafe
1225 20th St. S. Birmingham 205-933-6983, www.ranellisdeli.com Razzleberry’s on 20th
321 20th St. N. Birmingham 205-320-6888
Sekisui Pacific Rim
The J. Clyde
1025 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-1025 Silvertron Cafe
3813 Clairmont Ave. S., Birmingham 205-591-3707 www.silvertroncafe.us
1312 Cobb Lane, Birmingham 205-939-1312, www.jclyde.com The Red Cat Coffeehouse
2901 2nd Ave. S., Ste. 120, Birmingham 205-616-8450 www.redcatcoffeehouse.com
Sinbad’s American and Mediterranean Restaurant
The Wine Loft
401 19th St. S., Ste. 100, Birmingham 205-714-9991
2200 1st Ave. N., Birmingham 205-323-8228 www.wineloftbirmingham.com
Slice Pizza Restaurant
2101 5th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-324-2101
724 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-715-9300 www.slicebirmingham.com
Original Green Acres Café
Rib It Up
Sol y Luna
830 1st Ave. N., Birmingham 205-328-7427
Ted’s Cafeteria Restaurant
328 12th St. S., Birmingham 205-324-2911 www.tedsbirmingham.com
737 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-320-1225 www.ontapsportscafe.com
2724 29th Ave N, Birmingham 205-328-8099
2226 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-939-3805, www.tajindia.net
2921 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-328-4733
Purple Onion Deli & Grill Southside
1918 11th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-324-1928 www.surinwest.com
2801 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-322-1186
207A 20th St. N., Birmingham 205-202-5612 www.trattoriacentrale.com 2320 Second Ave. N., Birmingham 205-250-8200, www.urbanstandard.net
Taylor Hicks’ Latest Hit
As winner of the 5th season of American Idol, Hicks is hoping to create another legacy in Birmingham with the opening of his new restaurant, ORE. He and his four partners opened the space in the Crestline neighborhood in 2011. “Previously it was a space called The Open Door. I used to play music there, and for that reason, the spot has special meaning to me,” he says. “I fell in love with the location as a performing artist, and it’s really cool how it’s come full circle.” “My favorite thing on the menu is the crawfish rolls,” Hicks admits. “I was asked to be on the Paula Deen show this past year. I chose to carry that recipe with me to Savannah for the taping, and the crawfish rolls earned her seal of approval. I think that’s the best vote our food could probably get down South.”
1/22/12 11:31 AM
dining Chez Lulu/Continental Bakery
1911 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-870-7011 www.continentalbakeryandchezlulu. com Cocina Superior
587 Brookwood Village, Birmingham 205-259-1980 www.thecocinasuperior.com Costa’s Famous Bar-B-Que Wildwood
215 Lakeshore Pkwy., Homewood 205-263-0145 Courtyard 280 Oyster Bar & Grill
4643 Hwy. 280, Ste. M, Birmingham 205-980-9891 Crestline Bagel and Pizza
66 Church St. Ste. B, Birmingham 205-871-4583 daniel george
2837 Culver Rd., Mountain Brook 205-871-3266 www.danielgeorgerestaurant.com Davenport’s Pizza Palace
V. Richard’s Market & Cafe
3916 Clairmont Ave. S., Birmingham 205-591-7000, www.vrichards.net Veranda on Highland
2220 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-939-5551 www.verandaonhighland.com Zoe’s Kitchen - Downtown
1819 5th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-252-5200 www.zoeskitchen.com
Trussville Costa’s Mediterranean Cafe
5891 Trussville Crossings Pkwy., Birmingham, 205-655-9779 Ezell’s Catfish Cabin
5961 Chalkville Mountain Lane, Trussville, 205-655-8006 Frontera Grill Mexican Cuisine
5974 Chalkville Rd., Birmingham 205-661-3318 Moe’s Southwest Grill – Trussville
5870 Trussville Crossing Blvd, Ste. 102, Trussville, 205-655-9669 www.moes.com Neighborhood Sports Grille
1423 Gadsden Hwy, Ste. 131, Trussville 205-655-1018 www.neighborhoodsportsgrille.com Sal’s Italian Restaurant
256 Gadsden Hwy., Birmingham 205-833-9272
Tomato Pie Pizzeria
5880 Trussville Crossings Blvd., Ste. 100, Birmingham, 205-655-4900 Woody’s Barbeque
8156 Gadsden Hwy., Trussville 205-655-3343
1901 28th Ave. S., Homewood 205-871-1581
Villa Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
7950 Crestwood Blvd, Irondale 205-956-3607
2707 18th St. S., Homewood 205-879-1455
VJ’s Cafe on the Runway
Costa’s Famous Bar-B-Que Huffman Centerpoint
Homewood, Mountain Brook, Inverness
5512 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham 205-595-0300, www.myspace.com/ crestwoodcoffee Golden Rule Barbecue Irondale
2504 Crestwood Blvd., Irondale 205-956-2678, www.goldenrulebbq.com Hacienda Mexican Grill
1676 Montclair Rd., Birmingham 205-956-2550 www.haciendamexicangrill.com Irondale Cafe, the original Whistlestop Cafe
1906 1st Ave. N., Irondale 205-956-5258, www.irondalecafe.com Legends Smokehouse
6633 Old Springville Rd., Pinson 205-681-1122, www. legendssmokehouserestaurant.com
1819 29th Ave. S., Homewood 205-871-3283
4500 Montevallo Rd., Ste. E105, Birmingham, 205-951-0109
Airport, Centerpoint, Eastwood, Irondale, Leeds
Crestwood Coffee Company
Three Oaks Deli
5100 East Lake Blvd., Birmingham 205-808-0582
613 Springville Rd., Birmingham 205-853-9933, www.costasfamous.com
2837 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-879-8603
Amore Ristorante Italiano
5510 Hwy. 280, Ste. 116, Birmingham 205-437-1005 Another Broken Egg Cafe
2418 Montevallo Rd., Birmingham 205-871-7849 www.anotherbrokenegg.com Avo
2721 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-871-8212, www.avorestaurant.com Bambinelli’s Italian Cafe
2031 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-871-2423 Billy’s SPORTS Grill
2012 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-879-2238 www.billysbarandgrill.com Bongiorno Italian Restaurant
68 Church St., Ste. A, Birmingham 205-879-5947 www.bongiornoitalianrestaurant.com
1831 28th Ave. S., Ste. 110, Homewood 205-453-9300, www.dodiyos.com Dyron’s Lowcountry
121 Oak St., Birmingham 205-834-8257 www.dyronslowcountry.com Fire Restaurant, Neighborhood Bar and Grill
Crestline Village, 212 Country Club Park, Birmingham, 205-802-1410 Fish Market Restaurant
5407 Hwy. 280, Birmingham 205-980-8600 www.fishmarketrestaurant.com FLIP Modern Burger Boutique
220 Summit Blvd., Ste. 140, Birmingham 205-968-2000 www.flipburgerboutique.com GianMarco’s
721 Broadway St., Homewood 205-871-9622 Homewood Gourmet
1919 28th Ave S, #103, Homewood 205-871-1620 Jackson’s Bar & Bistro
1831 28th Ave. S., Ste. 175, Homewood 205-870-9669
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crawfish Etouffe at ORE
dining Tuna Tartar at Little Savannah
The J. Clyde
Jim N Nick’s Bar B Q - Homewood
220 Oxmoor Rd., Homewood 205-942-3336, www.jimnnicks.com Jinsei Sushi Bar & Lounge
1830 29th Ave. S., Ste. 125, Homewood 205-802-1440, www.jinseisushi.com Johnny Ray’s Bar-B-Que
3431 Colonnade Pkwy., Ste. 500, Birmingham, 205-967-0099 www.johnnyrays.com La Dama Pizzeria
8000 Liberty Pkwy., Ste. 102, Vestavia Hills, 205-967-7729 www.ladamapizzeria.com La Paz Restaurante
99 Euclid Ave, Birmingham 205-879-2225, www.lapazbham.com Landry’s Seafood House
139 State Farm Pkwy., Homewood 205-916-0777 www.landrysseafoodhouse.com Leonardo’s Italian Restaurant
2520 Rocky Ridge Rd., Birmingham 205-979-6996 Lloyd’s Restaurant
5301 Hwy. 280 S., Birmingham 205-991-5530 Lovoy’s Restaurant & Lounge
1830 29th Ave. S., Ste. 160, Homewood 205-870-9811, www.lovoys.com MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub
2 Dexter Ave., Birmingham 205-414-7878, www.mafiaozas.com Maki Fresh
2800 Cahaba Village Plaza, Birmingham 205-970-3242, www.makifresh.com
3431 Colonnade Pkwy., Ste. 400, Birmingham, 205-968-7600 www.maxsdelionline.com Michael’s Restaurant @ Aloft Hotel
1903 29th Ave. S., Homewood 205-874-8055, www.eatatmichaels.com Miss Myra’s Pit Barbecue
Mountain Brook Village, 2838 Culver Rd., Birmingham, 205-871-2060
101 Summit Blvd., Birmingham 205-970-1640, www.villagetavern.com
On Tap Sports Cafe - Inverness
Zea Rotisserie & Grill
810 Inverness Corners, Birmingham 205-437-1999 www.ontapsportscafe.com
595 Brookwood Village, Birmingham 205-380-3118 www.zearestaurants.com
3278 Cahaba Heights Rd., Birmingham 205-967-6004
1115 Dunston Ave., Birmingham 205-745-3920, www.orebham.com
Moe’s Original BBQ & Blues Revue
2501 Rocky Ridge Rd., Birmingham 205-822-2773 www.moesoriginalbbq.com
358 Hollywood Blvd, Homewood 205-639-1910, www.eatovereasy.com
Momma Goldberg’s Deli
Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Pkwy., Birmingham, 205-968-3775
2829 18th St. S., Homewood 205-834-8871 www.mommagoldbergsdeli.com Mudtown
River City Grille
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
3144 Green Valley Rd., Birmingham 205-967-3300
2300 Woodcrest Place, Homewood 205-879-9995 www.ruthschris.com
Nabeel’s Cafe & Market
1706 Oxmoor Rd., Homewood 205-879-9292, www.nabeels.com Naji’s Pita Gourmet Restaurant
166 West Valley Ave, Homewood 205-945-6001 Oak Hill Bar & Grill
2835 18th St. S., Homewood 205-870-8277 O’Carr’s Deli • 2909 18th St. S., Homewood
205-879-2196 • 3152 Cahaba Heights Village Rd., Birmingham, 205-967-4173 www.ocarrs.com
3161 Cahaba Heights Rd., Ste. 113, Birmingham, 205-969-9690 www.satterfieldsrestaurant.com Saw’s BBQ
1008 Oxmoor Rd., Homewood 205-879-1937 Suburban grill
3154 Heights Village., Birmingham 205-972-9227 www.suburbangrill.com Tavern on the Summit
225 Summit Blvd. Ste. 100, Birmingham 205-298-1222
6801 Cahaba Valley Rd., Hoover 205-981-5380 www.ourbellinis.com Brock’s
4000 Grand Ave., Hoover 205-949-3051 Fish Market Restaurant
1681 Montgomery Hwy., Hoover 205-823-3474, www.fishmarketrestaurant.com Formaggio’s Italian Bistro
1779-A Montgomery Hwy., Hoover 205-989-7999 Frio en La Paz
700 Montgomery Hwy, #188 Vestavia Hills
Klingler’s European Bakery & Cafe
621 Montgomery Hwy., Vestavia Hills 205-823-4560 La Dolce Vita
1851 Montgomery Hwy. S., Ste. 107, Birmingham, 205-985-2909 Shula’s Steak House
Wynfrey Hotel. 1000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, 205-444-5750 www.donshula.com/steakhouse/
Avondale Brewing Company founders Coby Lake and Hunter Lake hope the brewery will provide an anchor to the Avondale neighborhood and encourage more business growth 68 EXCURSIONS
Birmingham’s Craft Breweries Two Spots Worth Visiting in the Magic City
B y J e n n y A d a m s • P h o t o g r ap h s b y b r e n t b o y d
Birmingham is a diamond in the rough where the craft beer scene is concerned,” offers Michael Sellers. He’s the co-owner of Good People Brewing Company located in the heart of downtown. It’s not the first brewery by any means. Birmingham’s suds history began with Birmingham Brewery in the late 1800s. Then Birmingham Brewing Co. supplied the city from 1992 until 1998, followed by Magic City Brewery that closed in 2000. But for almost a decade, there was no beer production in town, and certainly no signature beer to offer outsiders as a symbol of the city on a hot, thirst-inducing day. Good People opened in 2008, and now its got a bit of friendly competition in town. Good People was followed by Avondale Brewing Company, opening in 2011. Together these two brew houses represent a fresh taste for the town.
Back Where it All Began
In 2004, a man named Danner Kline gathered a small group of concerned citizens in Birmingham. They met to discuss Alabama legislation, and the topic was one of a rather effervescent nature. Kline and his contemporaries were frustrated with the state’s archaic beer laws. For decades, the state’s laws stated that all beer brewed or sold in Alabama must contain below 6 percent alcohol or less. These restrictions didn’t sit well with many of Birmingham’s craft beer lovers, because there are many styles of beer only available with higher alcohol content. Brews like the Belgian doubles or English barleywines could never make it across the stateliness for sale or consumption. Those first meetings spawned an official group called Free the Hops (freethehops.org), which lobbied to change Alabama’s beer laws. Their efforts paid off in 2009, increasing the percent alcohol limit from 6 to 13.9 percent across the state. “I joined Free the Hops in August of 2005,” offers Jerry Hartley, owner of The J. Clyde, one of Birmingham’s most prolific beer bars. Opened in 2007, the J. Clyde now serves more than 250 beers by the bottle, approximately 43 on draft and offers guests their choice of up to three cask beers. “When we opened in 2007—prior to Free the Hops—my selection was obviously limited,” agrees Hartley. A year
later in 2008, when Birmingham’s first brewery Good People Brewing Company opened, they were limited as well. Thanks to Free the Hops, that’s no longer the case. In fact, Birmingham’s brewery scene is seeing a boom. Not only is Avondale Brewing opening this year, but both Avondale and Good People are adding tap rooms, tours, and tastings for locals and visitors alike.
Some Very Good People
“Good People Brewing opened our doors on July 4, 2008, and the first beer sold was an American Brown Ale,” says brewery co-owner Michael Sellers. “But we were homebrewing for at least 10 years before that day.” Sellers and his partner Jason Malone were originally popular at neighborhood barbeques and tailgating events, where they showed up with their basement-brewed beers in tow. They began to ruminate on expanding a hobby into a serious career in 2005. “Our name came about from the Southern colloquialism of saying a single individual is ‘good people,’” explains Sellers. “You know, as in, ‘He’s good people.’” Born in Birmingham and raised in South Alabama, Sellers says he feels this state had a slow start in the game of craft brew, but has quickly caught up thanks to Free the Hops. “In the last three years, I’d say Alabama has become one of the most probrewery states in a five or six state area,” he offers proudly. This was partly due to the high 13.9-percent alcohol limit and partly due to another recent change in legislation known as the Brewery Modernization EXCURSIONS 69
Good People Brewing Company founders, Michael Sellers and Jason Malone, with the trademark old yellow truck depicted in their logo
Act. Passed last year, it allows breweries in the state to sell onpremises similar to a brewpub and also sell to wholesalers. In surrounding states like Tennessee, for example, brewers have to have a liquor license to brew. In Georgia, breweries cannot sell their beers onsite. Good People is preparing a tap room and exciting new ventures for as early as fall 2012. “We will have tours, live music, tastings and beers to try that we are testing out, like cask-conditioned ales,” he continues. “We’ve also hosted several beer dinners around town at places like John’s City Diner, the J. Clyde and On Tap Sports Café. We plan to continue those.” At the moment, Good People produces 22 different styles of beer, including their very popular Snake Handler Double IPA and their Oatmeal Coffee Stout. The latter took home No. 1 Beer in the South by Beer Advocate and placed No. 4 for Oatmeal Stouts around the world.
Avondale’s Most Crafty
With Free the Hops came a vigorous interest in beer across the state but particularly in Birmingham. “Seven years ago, I got involved in the craft beer scene,” says Coby Lake, co-founder of Avondale Brewing. “My next door neighbor was a home brewer. He would invite me over, and we would brew together and enjoy the fruits of the labor, so to speak.” Lake and his partner/brother Hunter have been busy since they decided to go official a few years ago. The two purchased a historic building in the Avondale neighborhood, and enlisted the help of professional brewer, Craig Shaw. “Structurally the façade was unsound, but the building 70 EXCURSIONS
was beautiful and the owner was in financial straits,” offers Lake. “We negotiated a short sale with his lender, and although I didn’t have the intention of putting the brewery in there at that time, in the end it made sense.” The crew flew around the country looking at brewery equipment, finally settling on a custom-made German Decoction steam-powered 15-barrel brew-house. With it, they set out to produce their first beers—a Belgium saison called Spring Street Saison, a hop-foward Battlefield IPA, their Miss Fancy Tripel and a rich vanilla porter called Vanillaphant.
Passion & Pride
Despite the efforts of Free the Hops, opening a brewery in this state is still a challenge and there’s no shortage of red tape and small pockets of opposition. But for the Lake brothers and the guys at Good People, these endeavors weren’t solely about giving Birmingham better beer. It was also about creating jobs, changing the face of struggling neighborhoods and giving citizens something to be passionate about in terms of city symbols. “We named our operation Avondale Brewing Company, because we really love this area of Avondale,” continues Lake. “We think the brewery will be an anchor for the commercial downtown area, and hopefully it will spark some interest. We have seen businesses come in since we have started our work. We don’t know if this is the reason why, but it certainly must be helping. I think that the industry of brewing is an exciting one, and it brings a lot of jobs and revenue to the state and local areas. I think Alabama could sustain 30 or 40 breweries if our laws continue to change.”
Stop By and Sip a Spell Both Avondale Brewing and Good People Brewing will have tastings and tours available in 2012. One of the biggest benefits to visiting the brewery firsthand is that you can taste many styles and flavors that arenâ€™t available off-site. You can also experience beers from both breweries at the best restaurants, bars and groceries around Birmingham. If you need more information, simply holler!
Good People Brewing Company
www.goodpeoplebrewing.com 114 14th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 205.317.1363
Avondale Brewing Company
www.avondalebrewingcompany.com 201 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222 205.591.8568
Birmingham Nightlife From cocktails and cigars to live music and beer, find your perfect spot
isitors may not realize just how much there is to do in our Magic City once the dinner plates are cleared and the bands begin their soundchecks. If nightclubs are your scene, there are a few to choose from. The Lakeview Entertainment District offers New Orleans-like atmosphere with several clubs within walking distance to each other. Be sure to check Lou’s Pub and Package Store, a longstanding Birmingham landmark establishment. The Historic Five Points District is home to The J. Clyde, which offers hundreds of beer options and Fuego Cantina & Saloon, which offers live music Tuesday through Saturday. If you are a cocktail connoisseur, stop by Little Savannah Restaurant and Bar on Clairmont Avenue for a post-dinner drink from their classic and contemporary cocktail menu or join the locals at the bar at Highland’s in Five Points South for original drinks like the beloved Orange Thing or a glass of pastis. Both Sol y Luna’s Margaritas and The Wine Loft’s extensive by-the-glass lists are very popular on weekends and weekdays, and if you love martini’s, The 72 EXCURSIONS
Blue Monkey on Cobb Lane in Five Point’s South has over 150 kinds of liquor and a wickedly long martini list. Birmingham’s most applauded nightlife in annual “best of” publications often goes to the city’s diverse dive bars, from The Garage Café—whose antique-filled low-lit courtyard and dozens of beers by the bottle have graced Esquire’s pages, to Rojo—lauded for allowing pups on the patio. Visit Zydeco for a low key atmosphere and live Jam bands or Bottletree Café—which features a largely vegan/ vegetarian menu and live Indie tunes. Birmingham’s darkest dive bar, The Nick, was once called “the CBGB of the South” by Rolling Stone magazine and Metro Bistro downtown are both extremely popular spots for shooting darts and catching a variety of local and regional acts. Hoover offers Gabriel’s Cafe, which also showcases live bands, Wine’d Down, which has a cigar room, and also Iron Horse, where you can shoot pool while listening to live country-western music. These are just a few of Birmingham’s after-dark options. Most venues serve until 2 am and during football season, you will find the game on just about everywhere.
Photo: Mary thompson
b y J e nn y A d a m s
Southside and Downtown Above
The Historic Redmont Hotel 2101 5th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-324-2101, www.theredmont.com Aqua Lounge & Nightclub
2824 5th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-714-8155 BaCCHUS CLUB & PUB
720 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-323-9786 La Cocina
2111 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-252-7626 Lou’s Pub & Package Store
726 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-322-7005
1925 11th Ave S., Birmingham 205-731-2582 facebook.com/ bacchus5pts
Matthew’s Bar & Grill
2929 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-328-1748, www.barkingkudu.com Blue Monkey Lounge
1318 Cobb Lane S., Birmingham 205-933-9222 www.bluemonkeylounge.com BottleTree Cafe
3719 3rd Ave. S., Birmingham 205-533-6288, www.thebottletree.com Cantina Tortilla Grill
2901 2nd Ave. S., Ste. 110, Birmingham 205-323-6980 Chaser’s Sports Bar
817 24th Street, North, Birmingham 205-324-2425
Metro Bar & Music
2125 2nd Ave. N., Ste. 100, Birmingham 205-323-7995 Nana Funks
708 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-250-8003 Oasis
2807 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-323-5538, www.oasisbar.com Old Car Heaven
115 35th St. S., Birmingham 205-324-4545, www.oldcarheaven.com On Tap Sports Cafe - Lakeview
737 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-320-1225 www.ontapsportscafe.com
Ona’s Music Room
1102 10th St. S., Birmingham 205-251-0512
2801 Second Ave S, Suite C, Birmingham, 205-320-7006 www.onasmusicroom.com
Courtyard Oyster Bar & Grill Southside
2015 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-558-4995
2115 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-715-0077
Pale Eddie’s Pour House
1128 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-4030 Formaggio’s Italian Bistro
1713 10th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-933-7555 Fuego Cantina
1101 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-1544 Gable Square Saloon & Games
803 9th Court S., Birmingham 205-251-0960 Garage Cafe & Antiques
2304 10th Terrace S., Birmingham 205-322-3220 Innisfree Irish Pub
710 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-252-4255, www.innisfreepub.com
1928 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205 Facebook.com/pages/bacchusbham
2208 Morris Ave., Birmingham 205-862-6261
1036 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-324-1120
Bacchus Dance Club & Pub
1813 10th Court S., Birmingham 205-939-0045, www.martysbar.com
2001 Highland Ave. S., Birmingham 205-558-4320
Kelley’s Neighborhood Sports Grill
2308 2nd Ave, North, Birmingham 205-555-1234 www.paleeddiespourhouse.com Parkside Cafe
4036 5th Ave S., Birmingham 205-595-0920 Platinum Club
821 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-324-0791, www.platinum-bham.com Rags’ Italian Bistro
728 29th St. S., Birmingham 205-327-7247 Rogue Tavern
2312 2nd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-202-4151, www.roguetavern.com Speakeasy
1920 3rd Ave. N., Birmingham 205-251-1506, www.speakeasy1920.com Steel Urban Lounge
2300 1st Ave. N., Birmingham 205-324-0666 www.steelurbanlounge.com
A touch of Vegas in Birmingham! Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine, joins Birmingham’s oldest friend Vulcan, God of Fire, by opening the most exciting dance club and pub in the state of Alabama. Taking center stage in the heart of Historic Five Points South, Bacchus Dance Club and Pub is your one-stop for live music and drink specials in the downstairs Pub Tuesday through Saturday. Drop in before or after dinner for the best cocktails in town. Once the night really gets rocking, Bacchus Dance Club opens Thursday through Saturday nights with latest in light show and sound technology, the DJ spinning the latest hits and getting the dance floor bouncing. Be sure to try one of our Specialty Shots from and our signature frozen Vegas Bomb!. Free Valet during dance club hours. Pub Hours: Tue. – Fri. 4pm until 12am; Sat. 8pm until 12am DANCE Club Hours: Thu., Fri. and Sat. nights 10pm until 4am sCAN our CoDE to likE us oN FACEbook
Fuego Cantina & Saloon
Crestwood Tavern & Grill
1101 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205 205.933.1544, www.fuegobirmingham.com
5500 Crestwood Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35212 205.510.0053 www.crestwoodtavern.com
A Twist to a Mexican Cantina Your one stop for delicious food and great entertainment, both served up late until 2 a.m. Fuego offers three unique settings: the Cantina, the Saloon and our unbeatable patio. We offer two bars (smoking allowed in the Saloon bar) serving up a full menu of specialty martinis, margaritas and mojitos. We also boast an extensive beer and wine list including 14 beers on tap and over 30 wines by the glass. All of this and live music played Monday through Saturday each week. So, what are you waiting for? Come play with fire!
Loco HAppy Hour: Monday – Friday 4pm – 7pm Live Music: Monday – Saturday 8pm – 2am Karaoke: Tuesdays 8pm – 2am
A Few Items From Our Menu Fuego’s Famous Steak Tacos: Crispy fried jalapenos, pico de gallo, cilantro-lime aioli Taco Salad: Chopped romaine lettuce, jalapeno ranch dressing, sharp cheddar cheese, fire roasted corn, black beans, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole-crema; served in a crispy taco bowl Angus Burger: Served w/ lettuce, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, chipotle mayo Add: sharp cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, white American and crispy bacon
Crestwood Tavern & Grill offers a clean and smoke free environment with all the trimmings: large flat screen televisions, spacious outdoor patio, a pool table, video games and a friendly staff…everything you need for a fun night out all in one delicious, neighborhood tavern and grill. Hours of operation: Monday – Friday Open at 3pm Saturday and Sunday Open at 4pm Happy Hour 3pm - 7pm Weekdays scan qr code for directions
HourS oF operATion: Monday – Saturday 11am – 2am Serving food until 2am! Sunday 11am – 10pm
Crestwood Tavern & Grill is one of those cozy neighborhood bars that locals flock to after work for happy hour and on the weekends to meet up with friends and make new friends. Conveniently located near downtown Birmingham and the airport in the diverse Crestwood neighborhood, this night spot has everything you need to quench your thirst and also serves up some of your favorite bar foods like bacon ranch cheese fries and a whole array of mouth-watering paninis and pizzas. The owner continues to add great new menu items in addition to those mentioned above to satisfy your hunger until late in the evening.
2109 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-202-5625, www.stillwaterpub.com The Break Restaurant & Billiards
1423 Gadsden Hwy, #131, Trussville 205-655-1018 www.neighborhoodsportsgrille.com
Courtyard 280 Oyster Bar & Grill
4643 Highway 280, Ste. M, Birmingham 205-980-9891 Dram Whiskey Bar
The Upper Deck Sports Bar & Grill
449 Valley Ave., Homewood 205-942-3289
800 Gadsden Highway, Birmingham 205-838-5666
2721 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-871-8055 www.dramwhiskeybar.com
1023 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-933-9555, www.thehotelhighland. com/martini_bar.htm
Fox & Hound Pub & Grill
2132 Lornaridge Ln. #100, Hoover 205-823-4006
The J. Clyde
Airport, Centerpoint, Eastwood, Irondale, Leeds
Hogan’s Irish Pub & Grill
1001 20th St. S., Birmingham 205-252-3779 The H Martini Bar
1312 Cobb Lane, Birmingham 205-939-1312, www.jclyde.com The Nick
2514 10th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-252-3831, www.thenickrocks.com The Quest
416 24th St. S., Birmingham 205-251-4313, www.quest-club.com The Rare Martini
2839 7th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-323-0008, www.theraremartini.com The Wine Loft
2200 1st Ave. N., Birmingham 205-323-8228 www.wineloftbirmingham.com Upside Down Plaza
2012 Magnolia Ave. S., Birmingham 205-930-0333 WorkPlay
500 23rd St. S., Birmingham 205-879-4773, www.workplay.com Photo: (top right) Mary thompson
Neighborhood Sports Grille
2001 15th Ave. S., Birmingham 205-933-1032 www.zydecobirmingham.com
The Yellow Rose/Woody’s
1911 Gadsden Hwy, Birmingham 205-661-0404
Airport Inn Tavern
7502 5th Ave. N., Birmingham 205-836-9110 Bourbon St. Bar & Lounge
1568 Cooper Hill Rd., Birmingham 205-957-1006 Bubba’s Pub
2408 Carson Rd. Ste. A, Birmingham 205-853-9922 Crestwood Tavern
5500 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham 205-510-0053 Walker’s Restaurant/ The Emergency Room Lounge
2100 Pinson Valley Pkwy., Birmingham 205-849-0704
Homewood, Mountain Brook, Inverness Billy’s SPORTS Grill
2012 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook 205-879-2238 www.billysbarandgrill.com Black Market Bar
3425 Colonnade Pkwy., Birmingham 205-968-3823 507 Cahaba Park Circle, Ste. B, Birmingham, 205-995-0533 Jackson’s Bar & Bistro
1831 28th Ave. S., Ste. 175, Homewood 205-870-9669 Lucky’s Pub & Package
9340 Helena Rd., Ste. C, Hoover 205-444-0261, www.pub261bar.com Comedy Club Stardome
1818 Data Drive, Hoover 205-444-0008, www.stardome.com Gabriel’s Spirited Café
3706 Lorna Rd, Hoover, 205-985-0983
MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria and Neighborhood Pub
1694 Montgomery Hwy., Ste. 184, Birmingham, 205-978-5599 www.ironhorsecafe.net
2 Dexter Avenue, Birmingham 205.414-7878, www.mafiaozas.com Oak Hill Bar & Grill
2835 18th St. S.,Homewood 205-870-8277 On Tap Sports Cafe - Inverness
810 Inverness Corners, Birmingham 205-437-1999 www.ontapsportscafe.com Otey’s Tavern
224 Country Club Park, Birmingham 205-871-8435 Starz Karaoke Lounge
730 Valley Ave., Homewood 205-944-0007
3411 Colonnade Parkway, Ste. 800, Birmingham, 205-967-8787 www.blackmarketbar280.com
110 Inverness Plaza, Birmingham 205-980-1315
Cassie’s Pub 261
704 Valley Ave., Homewood 205-945-1657
Fultondale, Gardendale, Northwest, Trussville 2205 Decatur Hwy., Fultondale 205-849-9995
430 Green Springs Highway, Ste. 10, Homewood, 205-941-3343 4701 Highway 280 S., Birmingham 205-991-5112
Iron Horse Cafe
Wynfrey Hotel, 1000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, 205-987-1600 www.wynfrey.com Martini’s Fine Food & Club Ultra
2132 Lorna Ridge Lane, Hoover 205-822-4488 Moonlight on the Mountain
585 Shades Crest Rd, Birmingham www.moonlightonthemtn.com On Tap Sports Cafe - Galleria
3440 Galleria Circle, Hoover 205-988-3203 www.ontapsportscafe.com Redline Bar & Grill
1615 Montgomery Highway, Birmingham 205-823-1488, www.redlinebar.com
nightlife FIVE POINTS
Historic 5 Points South
oasting more fine dining establishments of any other area of town, Historic 5 Points South merchants are as diverse as the neighborhoods surrounding it. For that perfect steak and bottle of wine, try MetroPrime Steakhouse. Seafood more to your liking? Then Ocean is the answer with fresh seafood prepared daily by awardwinning Chef George Reis. Hip and cool would be the adjectives for Ocean’s sister restaurant right next door, 26. For the best selection of beers on tap and in the bottle, ease up to The J. Clyde on Cobb Lane. Owners, Susan and Jerry, will be glad to school you in the latest craft beer inventions from around the world. Their kitchen
is open late, too. Before your big night out in Historic 5 Points South, stop in DnL Hair Studio; they’ll make sure you’re looking your best. Another longstanding Birmingham iconic restaurant is The Fish Market & Deli on 6th Avenue South. Fresh seafood from around the world is served up with Greek flair. Check out the game or people-watch at Fuego Cantina & Saloon, which boasts the best patio and happy hour in town. Bacchus Dance Club & Pub always has the music pumping – whether it’s in the downstairs pub with live music or upstairs in the state-of-the-art dance club. Bacchus Dance club offers the best view of Historic 5 Points South and the DJ and bartenders will make sure you have a night out not soon forgotten.
Bacchus Dance Club & Pub
Fuego Cantina & Saloon
Facebook.com/bacchus5pts; 205.731.CLUB (2582)
Birmingham, AL 35205; www.fuegobirmingham.com; 205.933.1544
A touch of Vegas in Birmingham! Bacchus, the God of Wine, joins Birmingham’s oldest friend Vulcan, God of the Forge, by opening the most exciting dance club and pub in the state of Alabama. Taking center stage in the heart of Historic Five Points South, Bacchus Dance Club and Pub is your one-stop for live music and drink specials in the downstairs Pub Tuesday through Friday. Drop in before or after dinner for the best cocktails in town. Once the night really gets rocking, Bacchus Dance Club rules the weekend with the latest in light show and sound technology, the DJ’s spinning the latest hits and getting the dance floor bouncing. Be sure to try one of our Specialty Shots from our Bacchus Shot Menu. Free Valet during dance club hours. Pub Hours: Tuesday – Friday 4pm -midnight, Saturday 8pm-midnight; Dance Club Hours: Friday and Saturday 10pm4am. 1928 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205;
Fuego Cantina, centered in Historic 5 Points South is a fantasic live music venue serving up awesome happy hour specials and great food until 2am. Unlike any other Birmingham night spot, Fuego blends a significant amount of spice with its food and atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for a cozy, casual indoor environment or ready to experience our unbeatable outdoor patio area complete with fire pit to knock the chill off those cool evenings, come to Fuego Cantina. Fuego offers three unique settings: the Cantina, the Saloon and our unbeatable patio. Two bars (smoking allowed in the Saloon bar) serve up a full menu of specialty martinis, margaritas and mojitos. Fuego also boasts an extensive beer and wine list including 14 beers on tap and over 30 wines by the glass. All of this and live music played Tuesday through Saturday each week. So, what are you waiting for? Come play with fire! 1101 20th Street South,
The original entertainment district in Birmingham — no visit to the Magic City is complete without a visit to this unique area.
FIVE POINTS nightlife
DnL Hair Studio
DnL Hair Studio is a Redken hair salon located on Arlington Ave. S. We are located just minutes from English Village, Homewood, and 5 pts. South. We specialize in everything hair, from trendy cuts and awesome colors to extensions and waxing. We also offer Smoothing services to tame the frizz! The Artist at DnL Hair Studio are continuously seeking out and attending education classes to stay on top of all the latest trends of the Beauty World! We offer Free Consultations and beverages for every guest. So stop on by and meet with one of our Artist and experience what it’s like to actually have someone that understands what you want and need in your style.
Photos: (Bottom Left) nick layman; (bottom right) bigswedefood.net
2229 Arlington Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35205; www.facebook.com/dnlhairstudio; 205.933.4525
Birmingham’s only local prime steakhouse, MetroPrime Steakhouse, is located at the heart of Historic Five Points South. The menu features a unique selection of prime, bone-in and dry-aged steak options. Every steak is hand-cut in house and seared under an 1800-degree specialty broiler. The menu is rounded out by a house-ground Prime burger, fresh seafood and inventive steakhouse sides. MetroPrime’s expansive bar area offers a more casual dining experience. The bar features handcrafted cocktails, eighteen specialty beers on tap and an extensive list of wines by the glass. In addition, the bar offers a separate sandwich menu and menu of small plates – perfect for sharing while listening to some live Jazz music on Saturday evenings. 1035 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205 www.metroprimesteak.com; 205.623.5288
The J. Clyde
There’s no place like The J. Clyde. With Birmingham’s largest covered patio, you can eat outside rain or shine! On Historic Cobb Lane, the newly renovated front bar is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. Originally, horse pens and later a 1920’s era garage, the building has a unique history. Add in a German-style Biergarten and a Parisian street cafe and there’s a little space for everyone.The J. Clyde offers more craft beer than any other place in Alabama and easily offers the most taps of fresh ales and lagers in Birmingham. Bar hours: Monday: 2pm – midnight, Tuesday – Saturday: 2pm – 2am, Friday: 2pm – 4am. Kitchen hours: Monday: 3pm – 10pm, Tuesday – Saturday: 3pm – 2am. 1312 Cobb Lane, Birmingham, AL 35205; www.jclyde.com; 205.939.1312
The Fish Market in Southside
At The Fish Market in Southside, we have always wanted to give our customers a nice, comfortable place to visit and eat. This restaurant is all of that and more. You can eat in, or get your food to go. It is our sincere wish that you enjoy our restaurant, with its comfortable and casual dine-in experience, expanded fresh fish and market offerings, fine foods to go as well as our exciting new catering menu. We grew up hearing “Kalos orisate, kali orexi”. And so we say to you, “Welcome. Bring your healthy appetite.” 612 22nd Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233; www.thefishmarket.net; 205.322.3330
Historic Lakeview District
akeview is southside’s most eclectic mix of fine and casual dining, nightclubs and pubs, and some of Birmingham’s most notable characters. Brothers, Bobby and Johnny Lorino own and operate Rag’s Italian Bistro. They share their love of Italian food with their patrons, many of whom can be seen there nightly. Just don’t ask them to share Momma Lorino’s recipes – especially her meatballs. Nestled next door is one of the most iconic establishments in Birmingham’s history, Lou’s Pub & Package Store. There will be a cast of characters hanging out here nightly and owner, Mike Carpri, will have a string of jokes to tell you if you dare ask. Lou’s is also one of the few places to purchase liquor after sundown. Across the street from Lou’s is another brother-owned establishment, Slice Stone Pizza &
Brew. The Bajalieh Brothers know pizza and beer – they’ve concocted their own pizza creations like none other you’ve ever had. With a full bar and wide selection of craft beers, Slice is quickly becoming a Birmingham landmark. Keeping with the European theme in Lakeview is Café de Paris. Two authentic Parisian chefs, Jean Evens Estinfort and Serge Pambo, offer exquisite French cuisine in a relaxed yet fine, white tablecloth atmosphere. Try the creation of the day, but save room for dessert – some of the best in the city. New to Lakeview, but a local icon in the floral and party design business is Backstage Florist. Owners, Robert and Kent, will make sure that your gift of flowers to that someone special will be one to remember. Need help transforming a drab event space? Then Backstage Florist should be your first call.
Slice Stone Pizza & Brew
Café de Paris
Anybody can make a pizza. But if you’re looking for a true experience to accompany what we think is our unique twist on pizza, then you’ll find a new home at Slice. We keep our menu as fresh as our ingredients, so you’ll always have new things to try. Started by brothers, Jeff, Jason, and Chris Bajalieh, Slice Pizza & Brew is as local as you can get, from the ingredients that go into every pizza to the beer on tap. We started Slice because we wanted a place not just to eat, but to hang out. We think no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll love our food and atmosphere. 725 29th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233; slicebirmingham.com; 205.715.9300
Café de Paris opened its doors on December 8, 2008 and since then this authentic French restaurant has been bringing a new French taste to the Magic City. Owned by two French chefs, Serge Pambo and Evens Estinfort, (both of whom grew up in France, attended French Culinary School and traveled for many years all over the world), Café de Paris and Birmingham are now where they call home. Bringing a little bit of Paris with them, the French chefs pride themselves in preparing fresh, homemade cuisine. When dining at Café de Paris you will feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint Parisian bistro. The food is always prepared at the peak of freshness and always delicious. The desserts are outstanding also and the best way to find out is to stop by Café de Paris. Ask us about parties and catering for your next event. 2801 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL
35233; www.cafedeparis.us; 205.202.4024
Birmingham’s most eclectic entertainment district with influences from around the globe.
Backstage Florist Rags’ Italian Bistro
Every city has one, that comfortable bar/restaurant that once discovered you know you will return. Rags’ Italian Bistro is that place in Birmingham. Owned by brothers, Johnny and Bobby Lorino, Rags’ serves delicious family recipes. Not in the mood for Italian, try the hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and tamales, something that are quickly becoming a favorite at Rags’. With big screen TVs, Rags’ is a spot to have a drink, meet friends, and watch the big game. Visit Rags’; you won’t be disappointed. 728 28th Street South, Birmingham, AL; 205-327-7247
Back Stage Florist, celebrating its 25th year of service to the Birmingham area, is known for its exquisite f loral design with both fresh cut f lowers and silk. At Back Stage, every order arrives to its recipient as a showstopper! Regardless of the intent of your gift of f lowers whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, get well wishes, new baby or sympathy, we strive to put the “wow” in every design. We also specialize in party and event planning and décor. Our services range from simple to over-the-top “Avant Garde.” We offer complete planning services for your wedding, party, celebration or corporate event. Let us put you in the spotlight! 3017 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233; 205.325.1485 or 205.324.2535
Lou’s Pub & Package Store
Lou’s Pub & Package Store founded in 1987 in the Lakeview area of Birmingham’s Southside is a neighborhood bar with a “Cheers” feel, and they also sell liquor! Loved by almost all who enter, Lou’s Pub is known for its diverse clientele and colorful bartenders. Their latest acclaim came from this June’s Esquire magazine, who called it one of the “100 Best Bars in America!” Although Louis Zaden, original owner, has had his “last call”, the new proprietor, Michael Carpri, is keeping old traditions alive and well, service matters! “Sit down, Shut up, and Drink!”The staff here says, “The only time you should get out of your seat is to pee or greet a friend.” With a full line of quality highend spirits, Lou’s Pub is a great place before of after dinner or a concert, hence the slogan… Meet @ Lou’s. 726 29th Street South,
Birmingham, AL 35233, 205-322-7005
Limestone Springs No. 12 photograph by Michael Clemmergolf landscapes 80 EXCURSIONS
Ross Bridge No. 17 and 18
Southern Draws Alabama’s prestigious golf courses and state parks offer a variety of fun – and challenges – for all. By Stephen McGhee
Photo: Michael Clemmer-golf landscapes
Situated in the diverse terrain at the edge of the Appalachian foothills, Birmingham is home to more than its share of great public golf courses. Whether you’re seeking a picturesque setting in the mountains, working your way along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail or just looking for an old-style municipal course to take a few swings on, Birmingham has the course for you. One of the area’s best is limestone springs, located just 25 miles northeast of the city. Golfweek magazine’s choice for Alabama’s Top Public Golf Course, Limestone Springs also provides one of the most beautiful settings for golf you’ll find anywhere. The Jerry Pate design takes full advantage of the area’s natural beauty and, like most great golf courses, is both challenging and playable for the average golfer. Closer to town—in fact, right in the heart of the city— is highland park golf course. Believed to be Alabama’s oldest course (the original track dates back to 1904), Highland was completely redesigned by Bob Cupp in 1998, and the results were nothing short of spectacular. The new layout, though short by modern standards, is immaculately conditioned and makes for a fun and sometimes diabolical (see the par-four seventh hole) test of golf. With dramatic elevation changes and beautiful views of the Birmingham skyline, Highland Park provides a unique and memorable setting for downtown golfing. No discussion of Alabama golf courses would be complete without mention of the renowned robert trent jones trail (rtj). The RTJ at oxmoor valley, just south of the city, offers two spectacular full-length courses (Ridge and
Valley) and the challenging par-three short course. This trio features rolling fairways, severe elevation changes and a stunningly beautiful backdrop for golf. The unique Short Course enjoys a national reputation and has been named by Golf Digest as one of the country’s “Great Value” courses. Nearby renaissance ross bridge resort and spa is home to yet another RTJ layout. The Ross Bridge course plays to an astounding 8,184 yards from the back tees, making it one of the longest golf courses in the world. Ross Bridge also features no fewer than 10 lakeside holes and an 80-foot waterfall. Designed for tournament golf, as well as recreational play, Ross Bridge is currently the home of the PGA Champions Tour’s Regions Charity Classic. Located some 30 minutes south of Birmingham, timberline is an outstanding Jerry Pate design. This par-71 starts out as a lakeside course, then gently winds upward into wooded, rolling terrain. An old railroad line (now used only as a tourist attraction) cuts through the property and is a perfect complement to the beauty of the golf course. Timberline was recently named as one of the state’s Top Ten Public Courses by Golfweek. Also south of Birmingham are ballantrae and the course at oak mountain state park. Ballantrae, which bills EXCURSIONS 81
outdoors golf courses
Highland Park No. 8
its experience as “fun, fast and friendly,” opened in 2005 and was selected as that year’s “Best New Affordable Public Golf Course” by Golf Digest. Ballantrae has also earned a reputation as a terrific place to record a career round. Only a few miles away, Oak Mountain’s beautiful setting and relatively flat terrain create a near-perfect course for walking golfers. The layout is also a classic shot-maker’s course that provides a fun and fair test of the game in a relaxed environment. A truly unique golfing experience waits only an hour southeast of Birmingham. Opened in 2003, farmlinks was conceived as the world’s first demonstration and research golf course, and the Hurdman-Fry design covers an incredible 350 acres. Playing at 7,400 yards (7,000 yards from the second set of tees), Farmlinks’ intimidating length is offset by its generous fairways, some of which are easily twice the width of a typical layout. A pristine setting and nearly unparalleled course conditions make Farmlinks well worth the drive. Also southeast of the city is eagle point golf club, a beautiful facility set against the foot of Double Oak Mountain. This relatively short par-71 features large bunkered greens, tight fairways, steep elevation changes and some beautiful (and treacherous) water hazards. Southwest of the city, in nearby Bessemer, is bent brook golf club. The first of the city’s premier public golf courses, Bent Brook was opened in 1988 and has hosted events such as the Alabama
Ballantrae Golf Club 1300 Ballantrae Club Drive, Pelham, AL 35124 Phone: 205.620.4653 Because not everybody can travel to Scotland to play golf, now there is Ballantrae. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72, Yardage: 7,310 Rating/Slope: 74.5/130 Practice Range: yes
Bent Brook Golf Course 7900 Dickey Springs Road, Bessemer, AL 35022 Phone: 205.424.2368, www.bentbrook.com Once a dairy farm, this beautiful course is located approximately 15-20 miles from downtown Birmingham. No. of holes: 27, Par: 36-36-35 Yardage: 6,000-7,000 Rating/Slope: 69.6/117, 70.2/121, 69.2/116
State Amateur and U.S. Open qualifying. Relatively level (at least by local standards), Bent Brook offers three nine-hole layouts— Brook, Windmill and Graveyard—each with its own unique features and challenges. A bit further down the road, toward Tuscaloosa, is the capstone club. This Gil Hanse-designed course has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best courses in Alabama. Capstone is also a great value—Golf Magazine recently listed the course as one of America’s top 50 with green fees under $50. For those whose tastes run toward the less expensive (and more informal) municipal course, Birmingham provides a nice pair of options within easy driving distance. Historic roebuck golf course (site of the legendary Bobby Jones’ first tournament victory in 1915) marks its 100th anniversary this year. Roebuck offers a great walking golf course, low fees and a terrific spot for a low-key afternoon round. Bessemer’s frank house golf course is another solid municipal course with a relaxing atmosphere. The short layout features small greens and few bunkers, but there are great scoring opportunities for players who can shape their shots. Whatever state your game is in; Birmingham has the right course for you. We invite you to try a Birmingham-area public course today.
Practice range: yes All major credit cards accepted.
Cedar Creek Golf Course 900 Cedar Creek Drive , Bessemer, AL 35023 Phone: 205.424.8450 An 18-hole course with large Bermuda greens located only 20 minutes from Birmingham. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72, Yardage: 6,004 Rating/Slope: 67.9/114 Practice range: yes Tee times required for weekends only. Visa and MasterCard are welcome.
Eagle Point Golf Club 4500 Eagle Point Drive, Birmingham, AL 35242 Phone: 205.991.9070 www.eaglepointgolfclub.com This course, created by architect Earl Stone, is
located 15 miles from downtown Birmingham. No. of holes: 18, Par: 71, Yardage: 6,493 Rating/Slope: 70.1/119 Practice range: yes Tee times can be made five days in advance.
FarmLinks Golf Club 2200 FarmLinks Blvd., Sylacauga, AL 35150 Phone: 205.403.4653 www.farmlinksgolfclub.com FarmLinks is the world’s first research and demonstration course. The Hurdzan-Fry design offers a diverse layout with dramatic elevation changes and striking views of the mountains and lakes on Pursell Farms. Golfweek named FarmLinks in the top five publicaccess courses in Alabama. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72, Yardage: 7,444 Rating/Slope: 73/134, Practice range: yes
Photo: Michael Clemmer-golf landscapes
Oxmoor Valley - Valley 7
golf courses outdoors
FarmLinks No. 18
Tee times may be made up to 30 days in advance. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Groups and outings welcome. All inclusive golf experience includes unlimited range balls, golf and lunch in the charming FarmHouse Grille. Managed by Honours Golf.
Highland Park Golf Course
Photo: Michael Clemmer-golf landscapes
3300 Highland Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35205, Phone: 205.322.1902, www.highlandparkgolf.com Known as the oldest course in Alabama, Highland Park still sparkles from the 1998 restoration by renowned architect, Bob Cupp. It offers 18 enticing holes with uphill approach shots, heavily bunkered greens, lakes and beautiful vistas of the Birmingham skyline. No. of holes: 18, Par: 70, Yardage: 5,801 Rating/Slope: 68.1/128, 66.1/123, 63.8/114 Practice range: yes, Practice Range on-site. Tee times may be made up to five days in advance. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Groups and outings welcome. Managed by Honours Golf.
Limestone Springs Golf Course 3000 Colonial Drive, Oneonta, AL 35121 Phone: 205.274.4653 www.limestonesprings.com Located northeast of Birmingham in Oneonta, this Jerry Pate design stretches almost 7,000 yards throughout the Appalachian Mountains with strategically placed bunkers and numerous lakes. Rated number 64 in “America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest, it offers some of the most dramatic eleva-
tions and picturesque views in Alabama. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72, Yardage: 6,987 Rating/Slope: 74/139, Practice range: yes Tee times may be made up to seven days in advance. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Groups and outings welcome. Golf cottage sleeps eight, and is available for rental. Managed by Honours Golf.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Oxmoor Valley
Oak Mountain Golf Course
• short course
Oak Mountain State Park Road Pelham, AL 35137, Phone: 205.620.2522 Located 17 miles south of downtown Birmingham in Oak Mountain State Park. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72 Yardage: 6,748-5,615 Rating/Slope: 71.5 / 127, 69.8 / 124, 66.7 / 117 Practice range: yes Pre-noon tee times must be made five days in advance. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are welcome.
Robert Trent Jones Golf TrailRoss Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, 4000 Grand Avenue Birmingham, AL 35226 Phone: 205.949.3085, 800.949.4444 www.rtjgolf.com/courses/ross_bridge/ A big, muscle-bound course, its 18 holes sprawling over 330 acres and stretching almost 8,200 yards from the back tees, Ross Bridge is big and brawny, yet inviting to golfers of all levels. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72 Yardage: 8,191 Rating/Slope: 78.5/135 Practice range: yes
100 Sunbelt Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35211 Phone: 205.942.1177 or 800.949.4444 www.rtjgolf.com/courses/oxmoor_valley/ One of nine state-spanning courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Oxmoor Valley’s course has three sets of links to challenge the golfer on the go and the putter with time on his hands. No. of holes: 18, Par: 54, Yardage: 3,360 Rating/Slope: n/a, Practice range: yes
• ridge course
No. of holes: 18, Par: 72 Yardage: 7,055-4,974 Rating/Slope: 72/136 Practice range: yes
• valley course
No. of holes: 18, Par: 72 Yardage: 7,055-4,974 Rating/Slope: 71/129 Practice range: yes Tee time policies and green fees vary throughout the year, so call ahead. All major credit cards are accepted.
Timberline Golf Club 300 Timberline Trail , Calera, AL 35040 Phone: 205.668.7888, www.timberlinegc.com A beautiful course located 30 miles south of Birmingham. No. of holes: 18, Par: 72, Yardage: 6,773 Rating/Slope: 72.3/126 Practice range: yes Tee times can be made up to seven days in advance. All major credit cards are accepted. ➤
outdoors nature parks Ruffner Mountain
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Eleven miles of nature trails, ranging from easy to arduous, route visitors through this thousand-acre park. Hawk’s View Overlook is a moderate, three-mile, round-trip hike with a challenging incline. Along the way you’ll reach Cambrian Overlook and proceed with a switchback climb to a stunning vista of downtown Birmingham. The park has plans to expand and to build a new Visitors Center in the near future. Guided hikes are offered some Saturdays. The park is closed Mondays. for more information: 205.833.8264 or www.ruffnermountain.org. getting there: The center is at 1214 81st St. South in Birmingham’s East Lake area.
Moss Rock Preserve
This 250-acre preserve has boulders for climbers of all skill levels. It is home to four rare plant species, rock outcroppings, streams, waterfalls and wildlife. The wilderness within the preserve continues to 84 EXCURSIONS
improve as hardwoods grow and age and trails become more defined by continued use. Maps and signs help direct and guide difficulty. For maximum mileage, take the loop made up of the Blue and White Trails, which is a little more than three miles long. Or just spread out in the shady coolness of the preserve and picnic. Please remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints. for more information: 205.444.7866 or www.ci.hoover.al.us getting there: From I-459 in Birmingham take Exit 10 onto Alabama 150. Turn east toward downtown Hoover. Turn left on Stadium Trace Parkway. Stay straight; this road becomes Sulphur Springs Road. Go about two miles to the intersection with Preserve Parkway. This road leads to Moss Rock Preserve and to parking for the boulder field.
Oak Mountain State Park
Alabama’s largest state park offers plenty of trails for hikers who want a peaceful outing apart from the mountain bikers. New park
Steele’s Horse Pens 40
Horse Pens 40 is a 120-acre nature park atop Chandler Mountain, and one of the Southeast’s best boulder fields. There’s a warm-up field with relatively easy routes to the top as well as more challenging climbs. Instructions on the rocks tell climbers how to start their ascents. A national bouldering competition held each fall draws hundreds of climbers from around the United States. for more information: 256.570.0076 or www.hp40.com. getting there: From I-59 North, take the Ashville exit. Go north on U.S. 231 for about four miles. Watch for signs. For RVs and campers, the easy way is to take I-59 to exit 174. Go north on Steele Station Road. At U.S. 11, take a left. You’ll soon see a sign at St. Clair 42. Take a right and go to the top
Photo: (Left) Nate Dreger , (right) bob farley
goers might want to try the EagleTrail or Treetop Nature Trail for starters, but those are only two of many. The Peavine Trail, four-and-a-half miles round trip, is moderate to difficult, but it’s still a popular hike because of the payoff—it leads to Peavine Falls, which cascade down a rock wall and splash into a pool below. Three suggested hiking loops begin at the North Trailhead. Maggie’s Loop is an easy two-and-a-half-mile walk. North Loop is three-and-a-half miles long; it’s rated easy to moderate because of some ascents. Shackelford Loop is rated moderate to difficult because of its six-and-a-half-mile length. Maps for these and other Oak Mountain trails are available at the park office. for more information: 205.620.2524 or www.alapark.com getting to the front gate: Take exit 246 off I-65. Turn west onto Alabama 119, left at the first light on State Park Road. Follow one mile to stop sign, and turn left onto John Findley Road through the front gate into the park. getting to the back gate: Take U.S. 280 to Alabama 119. Follow three miles to left turn at Oak Mountain Public Lake sign.
nature parks outdoors of Chandler Mountain. After this road turns left, follow it for three miles to the entrance; look for signs.
Birmingham’s Vulcan Trail
This easy one-mile paved trail in Alabama’s largest city runs from Vulcan Park to 11th Place South. It’s open to walkers, bikers and inline skaters and is wheelchair accessible. Pick up a map at the office. for more information: Call 205.933.1409 or visit www.vulcanpark.org. getting there: From downtown Birmingham, head up 20th Street South toward Red Mountain. Look for a small parking lot on the right just before you reach Vulcan Park.
Alabama’s longest river is a great place to canoe or kayak. Just remember along the way that you’re sharing space with several rare and protected fish and the imperiled Cahaba Lily which once thrived across the southeast. Floating down the Cahaba’s gentle waters provides a pleasant respite and a closeup look at some of the interesting species. If you’re looking to make a bigger splash, head to the river’s northernmost portions for some Level I-III whitewater rapids. Because shallower waters mark the Cahaba’s steep banks and rocky shoals, it’s best to go canoeing after a heavy rain. The Cahaba River Society hosts canoe trips down the river, including day trips, moonlight trips and overnight canoeing. Among the most popular outings are the Lily Trips, which run when the rare and endangered Cahaba Lily is in bloom, from mid-May to mid-June. All trips are free if you bring your own canoe, and reservations are required. for more information: Cahaba River Society, 205.322.5326 or www.cahabariversociety.org. For boat rentals: Alabama Small Boats, 205.424.3634.
Photo: Jeffrey Rease
Just a short drive from Birmingham, Locust Fork is on the Black Warrior River. This is an excellent whitewater run with some very difficult rapids known as Double Trouble and House Rock. Beginners will do best to avoid these rapids. Beautiful limestone bluffs accent the rapids. The National Park Service places Locust Fork in the top two percent of rivers in the country for its recreational value, among other assets. getting there: Take I-59 North to Tallapoosa Street Exit (Tarrant). Take Alabama Hwy. 79 North through Cleveland (about 40 minutes). Follow signs to Blountsville and cross the bridge over the Locust Fork River.
Just past the bridge on the right is King’s Bend. Turn into King’s Bend and follow the gravel road through the gate. for more information: www.flfr.org (Friends of Locust Fork River)
Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain has a 17-mile mix of bike trails ranging from technical and tight single track, to fast roller coaster rides, to wideopen fire roads. You can download a map of Oak Mountain bike trails at www.bump.org, the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers Web site. Here are some adventures to try: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride—No hills along this just-less-than-a-mile single-track trail, but there are some tight turns and narrow sections between trees. Foreplay—A half-mile-long smooth single-track trail with one sharp S-turn followed by a bumpy, but short, downhill ride. Johnson’s Mountain—This hilly and woody single-track trail measures a little less than two miles. You’ll cross a creek via a bridge, then follow the creek until you climb the spine of the mountain’s first ridge, and have a quick descent along two remaining ridges.
BUMP Trail—A single-track path climbing one-and-a-quarter miles to Red Road at the top of a ridge. It’s hilly but smooth at the bottom, and rocky, steep and technical at the top. Red Road—A fire road leading about five miles counterclockwise from the top of the BUMP Trail to the North Trailhead parking lot. The last two-and-one-half miles downhill will get your heart pounding. There are eight creek crossings. Rock Garden—A challenging trail, and you may see deer along the way. Family-Beginner Trail—A short loop built by BUMP to encourage young riders to take up the sport. The lollipop-shaped ride – with a spur and loop at the end – is about one-and-a-half miles long. There are a couple of stream crossings, but no road crossings, and a gentle grade. for more information: Call 205.620.2524. getting to the front gate: Take exit 246 off I-65. Turn west onto Alabama 119, left at the first light on State Park Road. Follow one mile to stop sign, and turn left onto John Findley Road through the front gate into the park. getting to the back gate: Take U.S. 280 to Alabama 119. Follow three miles to left turn at brown Oak Mountain Public Lake sign. ❖ EXCURSIONS 85
From art shows, parades, music festivals and football to bass fishing, NASCAR and motocross, Birmingham has something for adults and kids alike every month of the year.
The BBVA Compass Bowl Street Party and Pep Rally draws large crowds to 5 Points South every January.
photography by Padraic Major
annual events ONB Magic City Art Connection
Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale
BBVA Compass Bowl
Birmingham Feline Fanciers Annual CFA Pedigree and Household Pet Cat Show
Order tickets by phone: 205.733.3776 ext. 103
Formerly known as the Birmingham Bowl, this is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I-A college football bowl game played annually at Legion Field.
Red Nose Run
Lace up your running shoes, put on your big red clown nose, and take off from SoHo in downtown Homewood! Choose to run a 10M, 5K or one-mile Fun Run to benefit the Ronald McDonald Charities of Alabama, which helps children with illnesses or disabilities. Kids will love the Ringling Brothers clowns. www.rednoserun-bham.com
Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast
Held annually to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a local choirs perform and a special guest speaker lifts spirits. Following the breakfast, march to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute blocks away for a free tour of the museum and across the avenue to the historic 16 th Street Baptist Church’s afternoon service. 205.324.8797
Feline Frenzy! Watch the cat parade as judges choose the best kittens, championship cats and premiership cats. There’s even a household pet award if you want to enter your furry friend. Admission charged.
FEBRUARY Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Black History Month
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the citizens of Birmingham attend celebrations and educational experiences throughout the month. Admission charged.
www.bcri.org or 205.328.9696 ext. 203
Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon
Folks from all over run in this down-South, down home qualifier to the Boston Marathon, but you don’t have to be a seasoned runner to participate in the weekend events and festivities. Sideline crowds line up early Sunday to cheer on the athletes in the big race! It benefits Kid One Transport, which provides transportation to medical facilities. www.mercedesmarathon.com or 205.870.7771
MARCH St. Patty’s Day Parade
Go Green…or at least wear it! Everyone Irish and those who want to be will be traveling down Birmingham’s “green” 20th St. The parade is a joint venture between Operation New Birmingham, The Alabama Celtic Association, Birmingham Irish Cultural Society and related organizations. All are welcome, so come one, come all and jump in the parade line! 205.324.8797
APRIL Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale
Bring your green thumb! This annual plant sale raising money for educational programs at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a sight and smell to behold. There are more than 85,000 plants to choose from, including many native and heirloom specimens, making this fundraiser a mustdo for all gardeners and plant lovers. www.bbgardens.org or 205.414.3965
Aaron’s 499 Race and Dream Weekend
A NASCAR fan’s dream! This NASCAR Nationwide race is action-packed at Talladega Superspeedway. The Superspeedway ★ an excursions sponsored event
Photo: (Left) Brent boyd, (Top right) Brightroom.com, (Inset) Birmingham botanical gardens
Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
is the biggest, fastest, most competitive motorsports facility in the world, drawing huge crowds from around the globe for big race weekends. Admission charged. www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or 877.GO2.DEGA
Photo: (top) Barber Motorsports Park, (bottom) Alagasco Corks & Chefs,:
Indy Grand Prix/Porsche 250
Indy is back! An IRL IndyCar Series openwheel race, the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is held at Barber Motorsports Park. Fans filled the park in the race’s inaugural year to see Helio Castroneves bring it home. This is one of the most anticipated events of the year among race fans around the world! Admission charged. www.barbermotorsports.com
★ ONB Magic City Art Connection Experience contemporary art amidst the beautiful shady trees in historic Linn Park. One of the best festivals of its kind in the region, the weekend-long event features more than 200 exhibiting artists, creative activities for children, workshops, live music and fun for the whole family. Corks and Chefs (next listing) is also a popular draw at the festival. www.magiccityart.com or 205.595.6306 ★ Corks and Chefs This highly anticipated food and wine extravaganza is the place where art, food and
wine meet to create an explosion of sights, aromas and flavors. Taste cuisine from Birmingham’s top restaurants and chefs, known as the Birmingham Originals, and sip a bounty of unique wines from around the world. Seven chefs are featured daily. Guided wine seminars are offered hourly by knowledgeable wine experts. Seats fill up fast. This is the only ticketed portion of the Magic City Art Connection (previous listing). www.magiccityart.com or 205.595.6306
Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival
Locals rush to Saint Elias Maronite Catholic Church to be first in line to taste traditional Lebanese cuisine. The kibbie plate and spinach pies are must-eats. And the deserts— wow! Traditional dancing and music daily. www.stelias.org or 205.252.3867
MAY Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil
Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil Party with the pop stars! Crawfish are still a draw to this music festival, but the main attractions have become the big musical acts that take the stage. Admission charged. www.schaeffercrawfishboil.com
SEC Baseball Tournament
Played at the home field of the Birmingham Barons at Regions Park in Hoover, the heavy hitters of the SEC take to the diamond to square off in this eight-team double elimination series. The premiere college baseball tournament in the country, teams hope to win to get an automatic spot in the College World Series. In 2010, the tournament saw a record attendance of 126,071 fans. Admission charged.www.secsports.com
JUNE The Regions Tradition
Corks & Chefs
The Regions Tradition, one of five major tournaments on the PGA Champions Tour, will be played at Shoal Creek Club, an internationally recognized course in Birmingham with a history of hosting championship tournaments. Admission charged. www.
regionstradition.com or 205.967.4745.
annual events Juneteenth Culture Fest Celebration
Celebrating the day slaves in Texas learned of their freedom, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute throws a family fun day in Kelly Ingram Park annually. The day’s activities include live music from local gospel choirs, children’s games and blow-up fun activities, performances from local dance troops, lots of wacky contests and more. www.bcri.org or 205.328.9696
Alabama Sports Festival
This sports festival provides Alabama residents of all ages and skills levels opportunities to play in Olympic-style games in such sports as soccer, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, bowling, volleyball and track and field. Entry fee required.
Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
Thunder on the Mountain
www.alagames.com or 800.467.0422
Magic City Brewfest
This annaul festival is the best way to sample the best beers in the South. While you can purchase a “beer only” ticket, it’s worth it to ante up a few extra dollars to sample some of fine gourmet food while you are tooling around Historic Sloss Furnaces. Admission charged. www.magiccitybrew-
JULY Thunder on the Mountain
Alabama Theatre Summer Film Series
This historic theatre is a must for film lovers in the summer! Classics like Gone with the Wind, Adam’s Rib, Tammy and the Bachelor, Psycho and The Sound of Music are featured on Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. Select Sundays offer Kids Matinees such as Lady and the Tramp, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Admission charged. www.alabamatheatre.com or 205.251.0418
AUGUST ★ Sloss Furnaces Stokin’ the Fire
BBQ and Music Festival
Nominated as one of the best in the country, this People’s Choice BBQ Competition allows you to pick your favorite cooking team.Winning teams receive cash prizes 90 EXCURSIONS
Moss Rock Festival
and hand-made iron trophies forged by Sloss Furnaces iron artists. This annual fundraiser for Sloss Furnaces also features high-gravity beer tastings, music throughout the two-day festival as well as a kid zone and remote control stock car racing to ensure fun for all ages. Admission charged. www.slossfurnaces.com or 205.324.1911
★ Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival Downtown screening venues are packed with enthusiastic crowds excited to see the best movies, documentaries and short films by independent filmmakers from around the world. Voted by TIME Magazine as one of America’s “Top 10 Film Festivals for the Rest of Us,” this festival provides the opportunity to see independent films that don’t normally appear in local theatres and the chance to vote for Viewer’s Choice. Admission charged. www.sidewalkfest.com or 205.324.0888
SHOUT! Film Festival
Now a part of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, this gay and lesbian film festival showcases narrative films, documentaries and shorts by new and established filmmakers. Admission charged. www.allmovingim-
ages.org or 205.324.0888
SEPTEMBER ★ ArtWalk City streets from Morris Avenue to 2nd Avenue open their doors to artists featuring original works in all media. Storefronts, coffeehouses and lofts generally donate their space to be used as makeshift galleries for the weekend. The Kids Zone features art activities for the family, while bars and restaurants scattered through downtown open for food and local music. www.birminghamartwalk.org for information on participating spaces and featured artists
★ an excursions sponsored event
Photo: (top) sidewall Sidewalk moving Picture festival, (above Left) Thunder on the Mountain, (above right) Moss Rock Festival
Vulcan Park and Museum throws a Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza on top of Red Mountain, showering the beloved iron man, Vulcan, with sparkling light. Folks bring lawn chairs and line the streets of southside, downtown and Homewood to celebrate our nation’s independence together. www.visitvulcan.com or 205.933.1409
annual events pect live music and fun for the kids. Admission charged. www.birminghamoriginals.org for complete list of participating restaurants and activities.
Barber Vintage Fest
www.barbervintagefestival.org or 205.699.7275
Talladega Good Sam Club 500 Race
This race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is the ultimate racing experience for NASCAR fans at action-packed Talladega Superspeedway. The Superspeedway is biggest, fastest, most competitive motorsports facility in the world, drawing huge crowds from around the globe for big race weekends. Admission charged. www.talladegasu-
Sloss Furnaces Stokin’ the Fire
Photo: (TOP) Padraic major, (Above) bob farley
Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival
The 4th Avenue Business District will be filled with the sounds of live jazz music and the taste of the best soul food that Birmingham has to offer. The children’s area offers a fantastic array of activities for the whole family. Booths showcasing Birmingham’s talented artists and sculptors line the streets for a visual treat, in addition to the food and music. www.justataste.org
Alabama Butterbean Festival
Held Labor Day Weekend each year just outside the city. This is one of Alabama’s premiere festivals. Events for the weekend include: Butterbean and Cornbread Cooking Contest, Antique Car Show, Tail Waggin’ Dog Pageant, 5k run, Arts and Crafts, Children’s Parade, Kid’s Zone and even a Greased Pig Contest. The fun goes on, rain or shine! Free Admission. www.albutter-
The Barber Vintage Festival is a motorcycle enthusiasts dream come true! Set against the backdrop of the Barber Motorsports Museum’s collection of more than 1,200 vintage and modern motorcycles, the festival offers access to motorcycles and the legends that made the sport what it is today. Also available is the motorcycle parts swap-meet where locating that needed hard-to-find part for your project is made easier. Admission charged.
perspeedway.com or 877.GO2.DEGA
Experience Hispanic culture through music, food, art and dance. Fiesta! gives Alabamians a unique opportunity to learn about more than 20 Latin American countries represented in their own community. Set on the lawn of Linn Park, this festival draws fun crowds of more than 20,000, making it one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast. www.fiestahbc.com
State Farm Magic City Classic
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Get ready to rumble! Alabama State University collides with Alabama A&M at Legion Field to battle for victory in this longstanding football rivalry. Like any legendary football rivalry, the competition always proves to be bitter and close with spectacular plays, fiercely loyal fans and lots of school pageantry. www.themagiccityclassic.com or 205.967.4745
Bluff Park Art Show
Held the first Saturday in October, this juried art show has grown in popularity since its 1964 start, now drawing crowds from near and far to browse and buy art. Come early as sales are brisk. This is an art show for the whole family featuring hands-on art activities, music and good eats. Free shuttle from nearby parking lots. www.bluffparkartassociation.org or 205.822.0078
★ Break ‘N Bread This premiere food and wine event is hosted by the Birmingham Originals, an association of the city’s best local independent restaurant owners. This outdoor wine and dine event is held at the 2nd Avenue Design District at Pepper Place in Birmingham’s southside. Besides the delicious cuisine, ex-
The Komen Race for the Cure Series, the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world with well over one million participants, draws a host of runners and walkers to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Many come to celebrate surviving the disease or to honor those who have lost the battle. Registration fee. www.komen.org or 205.930.8886 for race registration information
Boo at the Zoo
Put on a costume and come to the Birmingham Zoo for a spooktacular night! Ride the Graveyard Express, Ghastly Carousel and The Not-So-Scary Hallows Hay Ride. There is nightly entertainment, an Everything Creepy and Crawly Barn, and a Halloween Light Show. Safe candy villages and game zone are also a must do. www.birminghamzoo.com or 205.879.0409
NOVEMBER ★ Moss Rock Festival This eco-friendly festival held at The Preserve in Hoover celebrates nature and open spaces and explores eco-ideas through art made from recycled or natural materials and design through installation and sculpEXCURSIONS 91
annual events ture. Enjoy a geo-positioning game, guided hikes, good food and beautiful Alabama fall weather. www.mossrockfestival.com or 205.595.6306
Veteran’s Day Parade
Recognized as the nation’s oldest and largest Veteran’s Day observance, the day’s events include an elaborate parade, a dinner honoring the National Veterans Awards recipient, a World Peace Luncheon, ROTC/JROTC Drill Competition and a Memorial Service all honor those who have served and are currently serving in the U.S. Military. www.nationalveteransday.org or
Birmingham’s annual Day of the Dead Festival is based on a Hispanic tradition, Dia de los Muertos, honoring friends and family who have died. Complete with a procession, music, performances art and food from some of Birmingham’s best restaurants, Day of the Dead Festival is celebrated in Downtown. The exact location varies from year to year, so please Google Day of the Dead Birmingham for the latest information and location.
DECEMBER Alabama Theatre Christmas Film Festival
Experienced runners and novices lace their sneakers for this fun 10K that begins downtown at the Boutwell Auditorium and weaves through beautiful Highland Park area. The roads are blocked off and crowds gather along the route to cheer on the participants. Registration fee. www.vulcanrun.com for
Annual screenings of It’s A Wonderful Life and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are just a part of what makes this film fest magical. Sing along to Christmas carols to get you in the spirit. Watch for plenty of Cousin Eddie look-a-likes, as dressing in character with dickeys showing through tight sweaters has become a popular accessory to the main show. Admission charged.
Day of the Dead Festival
Jingle Bell Run
Vulcan 10K Run
info or to register
With bells on their shoes, red noses and
occasional Santa’s hat or antler headgear, runners hit the cold winter pavement to benefit the Alabama Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Get in the spirit of holiday giving with the 5K or fun walk. www.arthritis.org or 205.979.5700
See the Birmingham Zoo illuminated with more than half a million lights by train ride or foot. Take a ride on the Jingle Bell Carousel or jump aboard the winter hayride. One of the few times to enjoy the zoo at night. www.birminghamzoo.com or
Always celebrated on November 2,
www.alabamatheatre.com or 205.251.0418
Day of the Dead Festival
THANK YOU FOR READING EXCURSIONS! EXCURSIONS is brought to you by CityVision, the generous support of our sponsors and this hotel. We hope you will visit our sponsors and let them know that EXCURSIONS pointed you in their direction. Please allow this book to remain in your hotel room for our next guest to enjoy.
CITYVISION PROVIDES SERVICES TO:
• The Visitor’s Channel broadcasts around the clock in more than 6,000 hotel rooms. • EXCURSIONS – A Guest Directory for Birmingham Metro is placed in more than 4,800 hotel rooms and updated annually. • Brochure Service – CityVision maintains brochure racks in more than 60 hotel lobbies, major attractions and the Airport. • The Official Tourist Guide for Birmingham – published bi-annually for the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Tourist Guide reaches thousands each year planning to travel to Birmingham and while here.
• EXCURSIONS – A Guest Directory for Huntsville is placed in more than 3,500 hotel rooms and updated annually. • The Visitor’s Channel – coming in Spring 2012
BOWLING GREEN, KY
• The Visitor’s Channel broadcasts around the clock in more than 2,500 hotel rooms.
NO OTHER COMPANY REACHES TOURISTS AND HOTEL GUESTS LIKE CITYVISION.
WWW.CITYVISION.TV @CITYVISIONINC FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
New Seasons, New Reasons, Your Favorite Retailers! No matter the season or the reason, Riverchase Galleria’s outstanding collection of retailers means you’ll find what it is that brings you today. Brighton • Sephora • LOFT •Hollister • Coach • Nine West • Gymboree Swarovski • Arden B. • White House | Black Market • LEGO • The Limited Belk, Macy’s, JC Penney, and Sears lead the impressive line-up of 200 specialty shops. Welcome to Riverchase Galleria, Alabama’s number one tourist attraction and one of America’s most unique shopping experiences! Here, beneath a nine-story glass atrium featuring the world’s largest skylight, you’ll find over 200 exquisite shops, luxurious lodging and fine dining to celebrate any occasion.The entire family will be delighted with every visit! What brings you today?
What brings you today?
RIVERCHASE GALLERIA Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-9pm Sun: 12pm-6pm 3000 Riverchase Galleria , Hoover AL, 35244 205.985.3020 • r iverchasegalleria.com
Published on Mar 1, 2012
A hard-cover in-room magazine about dining, shopping, nightlife, events, golf and much more in Birmingham, AL area hotel rooms.