Founded as a streetcar suburb in the 1880s, Birmingham’s Five Points South neighborhood has since become a hub for dining, nightlife and retail. Housed in a renovated historic building overlooking the intersection that gives the neighborhood its name, Hotel Indigo Birmingham Five Points South-UAB is perfectly situated at the heart of the action:
Food & Drink
One of the best restaurants in the country sits across the Five Points intersection from Hotel Indigo Birmingham. At Highlands Bar and Grill, James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Frank Stitt puts a Southern, farm-to-table spin on classic French cuisine.
Three blocks away, another celebrated chef spices things up at the Hot and Hot Fish Club, located in an eye-catching circular 1950s-era building. Chris Hastings has won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South award for his inspired takes on classic seafood and Cajun dishes.
The don’t-miss watering hole frequented by locals is The Garage. As its name suggests, it’s housed in a retro garage with an antique-strewn, vine-grown courtyard containing plenty of quiet nooks, if things get too noisy inside.
A couple of blocks south of the hotel on Cobb Lane, a picturesque brick-lined alleyway, is Blue Monkey Lounge. This longtime neighborhood favorite is a comfortable and cozy place with an inviting patio. Live acoustic and jazz music add to the ambience.
In the nearby Loft District, the Pizitz Food Hall has taken over a former department store with a diverse selection of stalls serving international fare, a large communal dining area with a bar in the center and two sit-down restaurants.
The tri-level Zydeco since 1989 has been showcasing a vast array of national and local talent on its stages, making it one of Birmingham’s longest-running music venues. Expect everything from acoustic singer/songwriters and tribute bands to touring national acts and top local bands and DJs.
Frequented by indie rock fans, the Nick has a true dive bar vibe. This is where bands pay their dues on the way up the music ladder, and the walls are filled with the autographed pictures and posters of those who went on to rock fame.
With its wrap-around balcony and raised seating, the WorkPlay Theatre doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. Part of a complex with recording studios, a soundstage and a bar, the theater brings in top local, regional and national talent to its 450-seat space.
The Birmingham Museum of Art impresses with its well-rounded collection ranging from Columbian pre-history to post-modern realism. The popular summer series “Art on the Rocks” is a multi-faceted event featuring live music, interactive performances, artist collaborations and plenty of food and cocktails inside and outside the museum.
In the Loft District, the Birmingham Art Crawl takes place the first Thursday of each month along the sidewalks around the Pizitz Building (home of the Pizitz Food Hall) and offers a chance to meet artists and buy works from a deep pool of local talent.
Joe Minter’s African Village in America is a backyard sculpture garden of metal arts themed around African-American history. Minter, a former metal worker, has been working on his folk art wonderland since 1989. This hidden gem has won praise from The New York Times as “one of the nation’s most extraordinary and least-known sculpture gardens.”
At Sloss Furnances National Historic Landmark, a former industrial site with a labyrinth of passageways and blast furnaces as tall as skyscrapers, you will find Instagram-worthy images, as well as the opportunity to witness casting, welding and blacksmithing workshops. Or you can sign up for a beginners’ class yourself.
In the aptly named Theater District, the Alabama Theatre and the Lyric Theatre are ornate masterpieces of design from bygone eras — the Lyric from Vaudeville times, the Alabama an Art Deco-style movie palace from the 1920s.