Editor’s note: This article was written prior to the pandemic. Businesses’ hours and operations may have changed since then. Please contact the business for the most current hours and rules of operation. And please adhere to safety guidelines as laid out by our local officials.
The Lakeview Entertainment District — located on Southside between University Boulevard and 7th Avenue South at 29th Street South — is an area of town that just keeps getting better. With new restaurants, bars and amenities being added to its already packed lineup, Lakeview is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots in downtown Birmingham. Visitors could spend an entire weekend eating, drinking and being merry in this entertainment hub. Many Birmingham residents also enjoy Lakeview’s trendy restaurants and nightlife. In fact, they enjoy it so much that many opt to live in one of the properties located in and around the entertainment district like Lakeview 29 Seven or Metropolitan Apartments.
Lakeview’s history dates back to 1883 and holds a significant place in history as the site of the first Iron Bowl at Lakeview Park in 1893. (For those keeping score, Auburn came out victorious, winning 32-22.) It was the only time the rivalry game was played at this site. The Lakeview that we know today was established in 1991, and the entire Lakeview District extends 36 blocks and includes Pepper Place, The Market at Pepper Place and 400 businesses, including anchor companies of Birmingham like BBVA and Brasfield & Gorrie.
Because we could write a book on all that comprises Lakeview, this guide focuses on an already stacked couple of blocks known as the Lakeview Entertainment District, where there are enough good eats, good drinks and good times to satisfy both a Birmingham visitor’s and longtime resident’s weekend. Here are some of our favorite restaurants, bars and amenities in the area.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Al’s on Seventh
2627 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 321-2812
Updated hours: daily, 4 p.m. to midnight
For a little something different to add to your experience in the Lakeview Entertainment District, stop by Al’s on Seventh. Lakeview’s only gay bar offers drag shows on the weekends that you simply can’t miss. After the weekend shows, stick around to groove on the dance floor to one of Birmingham’s top DJs.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
2808 7th Ave. S., Ste. 101, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 578-6018
Hours (currently seating patio only): Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hattie B’s offers the ultimate experience when it comes to Southern comfort food. The Birmingham arm of this Nashville-based chain does not disappoint, and they don’t kid when they say their chicken is hot. If you’re in the mood for mild, order your chicken Southern-style with no heat; if you’re looking to test your limits, opt for the highest level of heat with “Shut the Cluck Up.” Delicious sides like greens and pimento mac and cheese accentuate the chicken, and you can polish it off with peach cobbler or banana pudding.
744 29th Street S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 868-3841
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Five is an upscale eatery known for its five-item menu for lunch, dinner and a delicious weekend brunch (hence the name Five). Local ingredients make up the menu, and in addition to its delectable food selections, its bar offers some of the best drinks in the Lakeview Entertainment District.
Half Shell Oyster House
616 29th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 882-8080
Hours: Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy hour: Everyday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Half Shell Oyster House is now open in the old Babalu space. Offering a variety of oysters, Half Shell already has a great reputation across Alabama, with locations booming in Mobile, Spanish Fort and Tuscaloosa. The menu is filled with a variety of Gulf Coast seafood with a New Orleans vibe; check their website for monthly specials.
710 29th St. S., Ste. 2810, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 252-4252
Hours (open at half capacity): Monday and Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.; Saturday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
If you’re looking for something more laid-back, visit Innisfree, an Irish pub with a more relaxed yet still exciting vibe. The DJ spins great music while you mingle with Birmingham’s young and hip crowd. Find a booth to cozy into with your friends, indulge in their solid drink specials, and prepare to end the night happy you came.
Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint
2811 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 203-4512
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Those into delicious burgers and good craft beer will find their home at Jack Brown’s. Their passion for both beer and burgers led them to put both in their name — so you know the fare will be top-notch. You could come to Jack Brown’s night after night and never eat the same burger or drink the same beer twice, so becoming a repeat customer is likely — and totally understandable.
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Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant
2839 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 324-5896
Hours (to go and curbside pickup only): Monday, open 24 hours; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Los Amigos is one of the Lakeview Entertainment District’s newest tenants, having just relocated from down the street on Clairmont Avenue. This well-revered and popular Mexican restaurant’s new space is massive and on the corner lot, offering areas for longtime customers to continue to enjoy its traditional Tex-Mex fare and mouthwatering margaritas.
Lou’s Pub and Package Store
726 29th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 322-7005
Temporary hours (outside seating only): Tuesday through Sunday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
It’s not very often you can grab a drink at a bar while simultaneously being at a liquor store, but Lou’s allows you the best of both worlds. This unique concept keeps its clientele coming back, and the people at Lou’s are as great as their selection. Its outdoor patio also makes it a staple for nights where the weather is too nice to stay indoors.
Moe’s Original BBQ
731 29th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 252-5888
Hours (dining room and patio open with limited seating): Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Moe’s turns into a hotspot because of its outdoor patio, but even before the big crowds show up, stop by for some of the best wings you’ll find in Birmingham. You can also get sandwiches and platters, and you’re really missing out if you don’t treat yourself to some of their mac and cheese, cornbread and banana pudding.
2801 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 903-3663
Hours (to go and curbside pickup only): daily, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Mojo Pub is a place with many regulars, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a mellow pub with craft beers, spirits and live music, with good food to match. The atmosphere is laid-back, the staff is friendly, and there is an outdoor area that adds an extra touch to the otherwise compact space. It has a feeling all its own, and one you’ll want to return to night after night.
708 29th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 250-8003
Nana Funks is one of Birmingham’s favorite hotspots — it stays open the latest, and to say it’s happening, lively and fun is a massive understatement. There is much fun to be had at Nana Funks that it’s impossible to contain it into just one night. Prepare to return over and over again for the atmosphere, dance floor, DJ and vast beer selection.
2807 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 323-5538
Hours: Daily, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Located on the same side of the street as Los Amigos is Oasis, which you’ll find when you spot the green palm tree and pink neon sign bearing its name. Inside is a snug, brick-walled bar with delicious drinks, live music, darts, and food that feels down to earth and casual.
The Refinery Bham
728 29th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 407-5683
Hours (curbside pickup and limited seating available): Monday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, noon to midnight
Tucked off the street is The Refinery Bham, one of Lakeview’s newest haunts. It opened in November 2018 and has quickly become the neighborhood’s most sophisticated and cosmopolitan spots. They serve killer cocktails and seriously delicious American cuisine. We recommend the lobster corn dogs and Conecuh sausage, filet mignon and the margarita flatbread. The vibe is great, and they’re open for lunch, too.
725 29th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 715-9300
Hours (patio seating only): Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Every neighborhood needs a pizza joint, and Slice is Lakeview’s. Grab a beer as you down some of the best pizza in Birmingham, with pies ranging from a classic Margherita pizza to the Alabama Philly Pie, comprised of sirloin steak, green bell peppers, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion and white American cheese. You really can’t choose a bad slice here — pun fully intended.
2709 7th Avenue S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 323-4356
Updated hours (table service only): daily, 2 p.m. to midnight
On the same side of the street as Oasis and Mojo Pub is Tin Roof, which has emerged as a premier live music venue in Birmingham, especially for those who enjoy country music. Tin Roof offers bingo and karaoke every Wednesday, and trivia nights, dueling pianos and DJs also pack its calendar. But Tin Roof is really in its element with its live music offerings, oftentimes pulling big names you hear on the radio as well as artists you may not know but one day will.
WHERE TO SHOP & EXPLORE
2829 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 440-2933
In the middle of Lakeview’s hustle and bustle is the historic Avon Theater. In addition to being one of the only Tudor-style structures in the Southside area and on the National Register of Historic Places, the venue also hosts wedding ceremonies and receptions, rehearsal dinners, nonprofit events and more. The structure is considered to have some of the finest architecture in Birmingham — and when you visit, you’ll see why. Built nearly a century ago in 1926, the space has a large, open floorplan with a built-in stage, exposed brick and high ceilings.
Dragonfly Salon and Boutique
2831 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 488-9818
Hours (appointments only): Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Is there anything better than a salon with a talented staff that cares deeply about its clients? That’s what customers find at Dragonfly Salon and Boutique — the only salon in the Lakeview Entertainment District. Filled with your favorite Aveda products, the salon offers cuts, color, blowouts, smoothing treatments, nail services and a blowdry bar. All customers get complimentary hand relief massages, scalp massages, and bang and neck trims — one of the best parts of the salon experience. Dragonfly’s motto is “Be beautiful with us,” and you’ll feel so good after your appointment, you’ll want to have lunch at one of the surrounding restaurants to show off your new look.
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2808 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 490-2130
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.
Looking for an exciting way to pass a Saturday afternoon? Visit Locked In — located in the same strip as Hattie B’s and Sky Castle. Teams of two to eight work together to escape from a locked room in 60 minutes or less, finding clues and solving puzzles to get out. Scenarios are as wide-ranging as escaping from a warehouse, classroom or laboratory (a room with a battleship theme is coming soon, too). Plus, escape rooms are great to do with not just friends and family but as a teambuilding exercise with colleagues or people you volunteer with.
What’s up next for Lakeview? The Purple Onion will take the place of the former On Tap Sports Café location next to Moe’s and across the street from Five. For now, enjoy exploring this very special part of Birmingham!
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