Pepper Place Entertainment District — one of Birmingham’s most beloved areas for food, fun and culture — is brimming with local flavor this season. Springtime signals fresh produce from local farmers, flowers overflowing from vendor stands and signature cocktails that blend some of the best ingredients. Thanks to the recurring Saturday farmers’ market, and the long list of restaurants and businesses that call Pepper Place home, this small haven has all you need for the perfect Saturday, rain or shine. We’ve rounded up some of the best sights and activities for you. Pick a day, grab your closest friends, and peruse this lovely little enclave that has charmed locals for years. It’s officially spring in the Magic City, and Pepper Place is waiting!
Your Start-to-Finish Itinerary for a Perfect Saturday at Pepper Place
As a newly appointed Entertainment District, Pepper Place’s eateries can sell patrons wine, beer and craft cocktails to-go, so that guests can sip and stroll through the district’s farmers’ market and shops with friends and family. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, many of these restaurants will be offering mimosas and Bloody Marys, so you can peruse the market with a Saturday morning-style beverage in hand.
If you’re beginning the day early, you’ll want to grab a cup of joe from The Red Cat Coffee House, where coffee is brewed in house. Order a latte and a muffin — or choose from one of their many healthy options — to get your day started on the right note! “The Red Cat came into the Pepper Place family of businesses through The Market at Pepper Place, so from the very beginning we had the sense for the culture that the Pepper Place embraces,” says owner Kirk Summers. “We see this neighborhood as a little oasis of unique businesses, innovation and green living.”
If you’re in the mood for an elegant brunch, then head over to Chef Chris Hasting’s Ovenbird. Nestled among antiques and potted greenery, Ovenbird’s patio is the perfect place to enjoy a morning cocktail and one of this acclaimed chef’s exquisite dishes. Watch chefs create cuisines right before your eyes in a live-fire style, where everything is handmade and prepared with the freshest ingredients.
If you’re in the mood for an afternoon adventure, head over to The Lumbar, the latest craft cocktail bar inspired by all things science. The bar’s cofounder, Rylie Hightower, a neuroscience doctoral candidate at at nearby UAB, created the bar with her father, Tim, to be a place where people could come together to openly discuss ideas — science theories, business ideas or creative brainstorming — over a glass of beer or craft cocktail. The science-themed bar features one-of-a-kind creations that are both innovative and delicious. This is the perfect spot to post up for the afternoon and enjoy good drink and good conversation — and if you want to have a meeting (or party), book their glassed-in room, called The Incubator.
If you find yourself with a hankering for fresh Mexican-inspired fare, Cantina Tortilla Grill is the spot. This Birmingham-favorite has been around for more than a decade, proving its place in our city’s well-established food scene. With its delicious tacos, quesadillas, salsa, fresh guacamole and more, it’s easy to understand why Cantina has become a local favorite. Enjoy a margarita on their patio, opt for a spot inside and get some of their famous tacos, or grab a mimosa and hit the farmers’ market. The atmosphere here is festive, and it will definitely add a splash of color to your day at Pepper Place.
Other upscale Saturday dinner options for your perfect Birmingham day in Pepper Place include Blueprint on 3rd and Bettola. Both blend impressive menus with a chic dining atmosphere. Blueprint is the latest eatery to join Pepper Place, and it’s already garnered a reputation for being the go-to spot for lively group outings or an intimate date at the bar, where you’ll be privy to superb drink recommendations from one of the seasoned bartenders. Helmed by acclaimed Chef James Lewis, Bettola’s wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, house-made pastas, specialty cocktails and wine will impress anyone who fancies themselves an aficionado of Italian food. You can’t go wrong with any dish here!
To top off your day exploring Pepper Place’s eats, swing by Hop City for a nightcap. Their large selection of beer and wine — and friendly staff who come clad with unmatched knowledge — is a must on your Pepper Place to-do list. Whether you’re grabbing a drink at the bar or taking home a growler, you’ll want to swing by this mecca to gawk at the incredible selection or to discover your new favorite beverage!
“We enjoy doing business in Pepper Place because of the vibrant sense of community and culture here,” says Angela Richter, social media and events manager for Hop City. “We’ve been located at the heart of Pepper Place for almost seven years now, and the area has become a top destination in Birmingham.”
If you’re seeking a full-on epicurean exploration of the flavors of Pepper Place, then check out Birmingham Taste Tours. This in-depth tour will ensure that you savor the best of Pepper Place’s culinary delights!
Every Saturday, The Market at Pepper Place welcomes droves of local farmers and artisans to its weekly market. The Market at Pepper Place is part of a long-standing tradition that champions the wonderful growers and craftsmen who bring cultural wealth to our state. Come early and armed with a basket. You’ll want to take your time perusing the booths and getting to know vendors who all have unique offerings and interesting backgrounds. Aside from fresh fare and handmade artwork, The Market at Pepper Place also boasts live music, chef demonstrations and maker discussions worth enjoying.
While at the market, make sure to peek in one of the many retail shops that dot the district. One of the newest tenants is FarmStand by Stone Hollow Farmstead, a longtime vendor of the farmers’ market. The beautifully curated shop will offer gorgeous bouquets, incredible cheeses, farm-fresh offerings, beautiful coffee table books, fine accessories and jams, jellies, preserves and pickled items from their cannery — elegantly packaged in that signature Stone Hollow Farmstead style.
For those with green thumbs, Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery is an oasis of gorgeous gifts and greenery, a calming and cool spot to pop into while enjoying a morning at Pepper Place. “We have a strong focus on visuals in our shop and many visitors come in for a calm respite from their everyday lives,” says Charlie, who has been a beloved longtime fixture of Pepper Place. “We are known as a shop for ‘great gifts,’ but we also have a very talented and knowledgeable staff who can assist with plants and arrangements for indoors and out.”
After admiring Charlie’s beautiful handiwork, head over to Richard Tubb Interiors, where you’ll be inspired to feather your nest with elegance. Richard’s showroom teems with upscale furnishings and vignettes that will leave you feeling inspired to make your own abode shine.
Other notable shops include Frontera, Design Supply and Thrive Clay Studio. All boast beautiful artisan goods and local and regional art. Frontera specializes in hand-crafted wrought iron furniture and accessories. Over at Design Supply, antiques, art, interior accents and objets d’art blend to create a wonderful tapestry of goods you’ll want to examine closely. There’s a treasure tucked in every corner here! If you’re into hands-on art, then you’ll want to check out Thrive Clay Studio, which offers classes, workshops and private events for those seeking to learn the art of working with clay.
Pamper yourself with a cut and color — or just a blowout and a styling — from the hair gurus at The Collective. You’ll leave feeling beautiful, confident and ready to show off your lovely locks as you explore Pepper Place.
If you’re wanting to work up a sweat, however, Pepper Place has you covered. Start the day early with a class at Ignite Cycle. This newly-opened state-of-the-art cycling gym is Birmingham’s only boutique cycling studio. Take a ride and experience a workout that’ll increase both your heart-rate and your motivation. You can’t help but feel empowered after conquering one of their classes!
If you’re looking for a fun sweat session with your pals, then book a class at Aero Joe Pilates Studio. Offering original-method Pilates and aerial yoga, Aero Joe’s workouts are meant to both tone your body and help eliminate stress. “We love that our clients come from all over, even neighboring states, to seek us out as a destination for expert instruction in Classical Pilates,” says Alison Page, president and founder of Aero Joe. “On most Saturdays, the studio is buzzing with students enjoying a total-body Pilates workout, then stepping out to shop the farmers market post-class.”
If you don’t have time to catch a class, Birmingham’s Zyp BikeShare bikes are always available! With a station located in the heart of Pepper Place, Zyp bikes allow locals to experience Birmingham from a whole new perspective. Grab a pair of wheels and set off into the sunset, perhaps looping around the city’s landmark blast furnaces at Sloss Furnaces. Or pedal over to Back Forty Beer Company at Sloss Docks and enjoy a brew from a rocking chair on their sprawling back patio. “Zyp Bikes make locals fall in love with Birmingham all over again,” says Keith Rawls, Zyp BikeShare Executive Director. “With a system of more than 40 stations and hundreds of green bikes (many of them with electric-assist pedals) throughout downtown, there’s always a convenient station to ‘park’ — plus riding bikes is just fun!”
To top off your perfectly fun and full day at Pepper Place, catch a show at the Terrific New Theatre. Their spring and summer schedules are overflowing with great shows that spotlight some of the city’s — and the region’s — best talent. Make it a date night, and grab dinner at one of Pepper Place’s nearby restaurants, too!
Now block off a Saturday and head to Pepper Place for a day full of fun!
This article is sponsored by Pepper Place.