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Longtime Birmingham residents know that Five Points South was one of the city’s first and, at one time, most popular nightlife destinations. Known in part for its iconic Storyteller Fountain, Five Points South is located just south of downtown and is named for the intersection at its center, the convergence of 20th Street South (in two directions), 11th Avenue South (in two directions), and Magnolia Avenue that creates a five-pointed star. After being overlooked for years for hot spots like Avondale, Lakeview, and Uptown, this Southside neighborhood is making a comeback thanks to new developments like The Woolworth Recreation and Refreshment and the revived Pickwick Place. With a slew of restaurants, bars, and shops — both old and new — there is a lot to discover in Five Points South.

Your Complete Guide to Five Points South

FOOD & DRINK

From James Beard Award-winning restaurants like Chez Fonfon to family-owned delis and late-night dives, the Five Points South food scene has something for every palate.

Black Market Bar & Grill: The Black Market Bar’s motto “Fantastic Food, Cold Drinks & Evil Bartenders” speaks to the spot’s delicious food and healthily potent drinks. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, Black Market Bar’s comic book, B-movie, and punk rock-themed decor make the atmosphere one of a kind.

Bottega: One of four Birmingham restaurants by James Beard winner Frank Stitt and his wife Pardis, Bottega offers Italian food in two different settings — a casual café and the main dining room that features a more extensive menu including pasta, seafood, meats, and game.

Chez Fonfon: This cozy, casual French bistro opened in 2000 by Chris Mancill, Frank Stitt, and Pardis Stitt, Chez Fonfon serves classic, hearty French fare, including steak tartare, Moules et Frites, sautéed trout with brown butter, escargots, and homemade charcuterie. Chez Fonfon also offers an impressive selection of wine. And for your sweet tooth, try the coconut cake.

Dave’s Pub: Dave’s is a mainstay in Five Points South with a popular patio that’s the perfect place to relax with friends. Or pull up to the bar and watch the bartenders craft your cocktails.

Delta Blues Hot Tamales: Offering Delta-style hot tamales, cajun and creole cuisine, Delta Blues Hot Tamales also prides itself on its gluten-free kitchen.

Dreamland: After starting in Tuscaloosa in 1958, Dreamland has locations throughout Alabama and Georgia, including a café not far from the heart of Five Points South. You can keep it simple with ribs and white bread or try other items on the menu like pulled pork, BBQ chicken, hickory-smoked sausage, baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad. And be sure to save room for banana pudding for dessert.

FILTER-Coffee Parlor: Located in the space that once housed the Five Points South Starbucks, FILTER serves both premium coffee and a feeling of community. FILTER sources its coffee from Alabama roasters and features a retail section offering goods by local makers. The upper mezzanine of the shop is perfect for community gatherings.

FILTER-Coffee Parlor

FILTER-Coffee Parlor offers premium coffee and teas for Five Points South patrons. Image: Javacia Harris Bowser

Handmade goods at Filter-Coffee Parlor in Five Points South

FILTER-Coffee Parlor features a retail section offering goods from Alabama makers. Image: Javacia Harris Bowser

Freddy’s Wine Bar: Seeking to bring the flavors and feel of Sienna, Florence and Paris to Birmingham, Freddy’s opened in 2018 on the ground floor of Highland Towers. Freddy’s offers select food and wine for patrons looking for a taste of Europe in their own hometown.

Garden & Galley: Chef James Boyce and wife and partner, Suzan, offer modern American and French-inspired farm-to-table cuisine in an elegant historic home on Highland Avenue.

Highlands Bar & Grill: Highlands Bar & Grill is the first of four restaurants from Frank and Pardis Stitt. Highlands offers a seasonal menu that showcases the flavors of the South while using French culinary techniques. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Highlands Bar & Grill is temporarily closed. Watch its social media accounts to know when they reopen.)

Ikko: Open for lunch and dinner, Ikko offers ramen, sushi, poke, tea, and more.

Insomnia Cookies: If you ever want warm cookies delivered right to your door, late at night, Insomnia Cookies has you covered. But feel free to drop by the Five Points South location during the day when you need a cookie, brownie, or ice cream fix.

Iron City Pizza Co.: Tucked away in Pickwick Place, Iron City Pizza Co. partners with local farms for fresh, high-quality ingredients for their handmade, made-from-scratch pizzas. And don’t forget to try dessert.

RELATED: 11 New Birmingham Restaurants Open Now or Coming Soon (Updated January 2022)

Jim ‘N Nicks: The cheese biscuits are almost as popular as the hickory-smoked barbecue at this Birmingham-bred restaurant that now has locations in seven states.

Little Italy’s Pizza and Pints: This pizza parlor got its start in Helena, AL, before expanding to Five Points South. The menu includes pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and calzones. Catch live music most nights, too.

Makarios Kabob & Grill: Located in Five Points South since 2008, Makarios offers a variety of Middle Eastern fare, including sandwiches, salads, and seafood.

McFly’s Bird Shoppe: If you’re looking to satisfy your cravings for chicken tenders, McFly’s Bird Shoppe is the place to visit. The 1980s-themed restaurant also offers sandwiches and over 15 dipping sauce options!

Mellow Mushroom: Though technically a chain restaurant, each Mellow Mushroom is locally owned and operated and has a vibe of its own. Known for its fun atmosphere as much as its hand-tossed, stone-baked pizza, the walls of the Five Points South Mellow Mushroom are covered with colorful art and the air filled with eclectic music.

New China Town: Offering classic Chinese cuisine with a modern twist, New China Town also prides itself on using fresh, high-quality ingredients. You can get your bubble tea fix here, too.

Ocean: This award-winning restaurant by George Reis promises fresh seafood and a superior dining experience in a contemporary atmosphere.

Pho Pho Vietnamese & Sushi Bar: Get gluten-free authentic Vietnamese cuisine from this Southside spot.

Pop’s Neighborhood Grill: This family-owned and operated restaurant has been serving breakfast, burgers, and more to the Five Points South area since 2010.

Ranelli’s: Try the homemade lasagna or Richman’s po-boy while listening to live music in the “Soul Pit” at this family-owned-and-operated restaurant.

Rx Lounge at Hotel Indigo: The medical-themed decor of the Five Points South Hotel Indigo is a tribute to the building’s connection to the medical field. The boutique-style hotel is located less than a mile from UAB Hospital Highlands, and the building housed medical offices in the 1930s. The Hotel Indigo bar, Rx Lounge, combines modern decor with a vintage apothecary theme. Traditional bar tools are traded for the likes of beakers and test tubes, and on some nights, you might see the bartender sporting a lab coat.

Interior of Rx Lounge in Five Points South

Rx Lounge at Hotel Indigo features medical-themed decor. Image: Javacia Harris Bowser

SLEEK Sports Bar: Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a quick after-work cocktail or planning a get together with friends, SLEEK has the food, drinks and atmosphere to help you relax, celebrate and socialize.

Surin West: Surin West has been serving Birmingham authentic Thai cuisine since 1995. Sushi lovers also won’t be disappointed, and don’t miss the irresistible coconut soup.

Taco Mama: Taco Mama is a fast-casual taqueria offering delicious tacos and margaritas in an eclectic atmosphere.

Taj India: Located in a modest Highland Avenue strip mall, Taj India’s Indian fare — including chicken tandoori, lamb tikka masala and curries — is a favorite among Birmingham residents.

T-Bone’s: This Five Points South eatery offers authentic Philly cheesesteaks served on genuine Amoroso rolls from Philadelphia.

The Garage: Located inside an architectural salvage shop courtyard, The Garage is known for its rustic setting. The local beer garden is covered in vines and offers fire pits when temps begin to dip. (SB Tip: The Garage is a cash-only bar.)

The HIVE: In addition to dishes like cheese curds, loaded fries, and adult Lunchables, The HIVE also has $10 arcade games that guests can enjoy.

The Original Pancake House: Located in Five Points South since 1986, The Original Pancake House is a chain restaurant with a local diner atmosphere serving American breakfast classics — including their fluffy signature pancakes.

Underground Vegan: Since 2019, Underground Vegan has been serving vegan food to the Five Points South area. Plus, not only is their mission to serve delicious, authentic food, but they purchase 50% of their ingredients locally, operate in an environmentally sustainable way, and provide a living wage and benefits to all employees.

Unplugged: This Five Points South bar is all about ’90s nostalgia and is known for its specialty cocktails, including the Hi-C Mimosa, Fresh Prince of BHM, Creamsicle Delight, and more.

Upsidedown Plaza: Once proclaimed as the “Best Dive Bar” in Alabama by Mental Floss magazine, Upsidedown Plaza is now located beneath the old Pickwick Plaza, behind Hotel Indigo. Inside you’ll find a jukebox playing nearly every type of music, pool tables, a Birmingham-themed mural, and, of course, good beer.

Yummefy Asian Restaurant: Offering food that is influenced by Asian cultural styles spanning from Nepal to India, Yummefy is known for its chow mein, spicy mountain noodles, fried rice, Thai noodles, and more.

5 Point Public House Oyster Bar:  Just as the name suggests, this place is part pub, part oyster bar, offering more than 30 craft beers, oysters on the half shell and much more. If you want high-quality food in a casual pub environment, this place is for you.

3000 Bar: Come for the signature daiquiris and check out the hookah lounge while you’re there.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Whether you’re looking to take better care of your hair or your health, Five Points South has something to help, from its longstanding apothecary to new salons.

Birmingham Apothecary: Around since 1914, this full-service pharmacy is the oldest business in Five Points South.

Blush: This art and beauty boutique specializes in airbrush sunless tanning and lash services, but also has a space for photography, private events and more.

Fresh Avenue Grooming and Style: This barbershop is located next door to The Shoe Clinic sneaker repair shop and boutique.

Golden Temple Natural Grocery and Cafe: The Golden Temple health food store has been helping Birmingham live healthier lives since 1973. The shop offers vitamins, herbs, supplies, natural food and organic produce. Golden Temple also sells clothing, books and gifts. The Golden Temple Café, which offers an exclusively vegetarian menu, is a popular spot for Birmingham foodies.

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Orbit Salon: Orbit Salon features experienced stylists with knowledge of hairstyles, color, and products who happily accept walk-in customers. Their focus is on providing a refreshing and relaxed atmosphere for clients.

Schaeffer Eye Center: Known as a leader in vision care in Alabama, Schaeffer Eye Center has been in Five Points South since 2000, offering eye exams from top optometrists, exclusive eyewear, and more.

Simply V Beauty Salon: Owned and operated by Jevashia Williams, Simply V Beauty Salon provides women and men with beautiful, happy, and healthy hair.

Stephen Gregory: A Men’s Concept: This full-service men’s grooming salon and barbershop is located in Pickwick Place.

Total Skin & Beauty Dermatology Center: The mission at Total Skin & Beauty Dermatology Center is to “provide you with the most comprehensive skin care services available.” Whether you’re dealing with a specific skin condition or have concerns about your appearance, the professionals at Total Skin & Beauty can help you.

SHOP

From eyeglasses to books, clothing, beer, wine, and more, Five Points South offers plenty of shopping opportunities. 

Alchemy 213: Alchemy owner Ace Graham draws from his experience as a fashion brand consultant in Italy to offer high-end streetwear — both footwear and apparel — that is hard to find elsewhere in the city or even the state.

Books, Beans, and Candles MS: From books to coffee, tarot card readings, and more, Books, Beans, and Candles MS is a unique spot to stop and sit a spell.

Highland Package Store: Open seven days a week, Highland Package sells wine, draft beer, liquor and more.

iiis: an optical shop: This shop, which has been in business since 1993, offers fashion-forward eyewear collections for modern Birminghamians committed to “eyeglass culture.”

Interior of iiis: an optical shop

iiis: an optical shop has been outfitting Birmingham in stylish glasses since 1993. Image: Charles Walton

Pinkie’s Closet: Founded in 2019 by Lorenda “Pinkie” Pryor, Pinkie’s Closet is your one-stop shop for all things clothing, accessories, customizable gifts, embroidery, and vinyl.

Renaissance Records: If you’re looking for new or used vinyl, Renaissance Records has you covered. The shop also sells books, movies, posters, and cassette tapes. Renaissance Records will also buy and trade your music and memorabilia.

The Shoe Clinic: With its cheeky tagline, “Saving one sole at a time,” The Shoe Clinic sneaker repair shop and boutique is one of the state’s most trusted names in sneaker restoration.

What’s on 2nd: You can find What’s on 2nd in the heart of Five Points South. The collectibles store says they “carry everything that has ever been made in one convenient shopping location.”

PLAY

New establishments like The Woolworth have sparked a renaissance in Five Points South, helping the area reclaim its badge as a go-to spot for a night on the town.

Birmingham Festival Theatre: This community theater has been in Five Points South since 1973, and each season has a show for your every mood.

Vulcan Park & Museum: Birmingham’s colossal statue of the Roman god of the forge is the world’s largest cast-iron statue and a symbol of the iron and steel industry that helped Birmingham grow quickly in its early days, giving it the nickname of the “Magic City.” At Vulcan Park & Museum, uphill from Five Points South, you can see the city from Vulcan’s eyes in the observation deck and learn the industrial history of Alabama at the museum.

Zydeco: One of the oldest music and entertainment venues in the city, Zydeco offers food and drinks and has three levels, meaning it can host multiple audiences at once. You never know what you’re going to find at Zydeco!

5 Points South Fountain: You can find “The Storyteller” fountain in the heart of Five Points South. Created by Birmingham sculptor Frank Fleming, the piece depicts a ram-headed man reading a book to a group of animals. The fountain sits in front of Highlands United Methodist Church and serves as a peaceful reflection spot.

Storyteller Fountain in Five Points South

Highlands United Methodist Church with Frank Fleming’s bronze sculpture, “The Storyteller,” known simply as “the fountain” in the foreground, is located in the Five Points South neighborhood.

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