‘He was a wise man who invented beer’ – Plato
Time and again the pub has been there for us. It’s been there through the laughter, the spilled drinks, the late nights and the great nights, and it’s high time we stood up, raised our glasses, and took a moment to appreciate all that our favourite pubs have done for us. But it’s no longer just the humble pubs who offer us the chance to enjoy a pint. In the last few years we have seen the rise of a new breed of beer drinking establishments: the microbreweries. As small-batch, craft beers become ever-more popular, we have seen Birmingham’s beer scene grow and flourish at an astonishing rate. One area where this is more prevalent than others is Stirchley, where taprooms, bars and microbreweries seem to appear overnight, adding to the ever-growing ‘Stirchley Beer Mile’.
As microbreweries and taprooms spring up across the city, each offering their own unique and distinctive brews, we are spoilt for choice on where to imbibe our favourite drink. So, it’s time that we celebrate all of Birmingham’s many watering holes. Here with the lowdown is your friendly, neighbourhood Independent Birmingham and our tipple-topping guide to the best places for a pint in Birmingham. Onward, for beer and for glory!
Purecraft Bar And Kitchen
Home to over 80 different beers (you heard us, 80!), Purecraft Bar and Kitchen is certainly setting the bar high (excuse the pun… but seriously, we meant to do that) when it comes to craft beer in Birmingham. Their long tables are perfect for mingling with like-minded beer enthusiasts, although if you’d rather drink with just your friends (or alone with a book) then there are other, more intimate, tables. In any case, we’re not here to talk about tables. Serving a vast array of Purity beers as well as god knows what other types of crazy beers, get ye to Purecraft Bar and Kitchen and thank us for the tip later.
IB Tip: Purecraft Bar and Kitchen serve ‘flights’ of beer. They’re a great way to dip your toes into the murky world of craft beer and discover new tastes and favourites.
IB Deal: 10% off the bill (Sunday – Thursday)
The Dark Horse
Well-known for their smokehouse platters and barbecue cuisine, The Dark Horse in Moseley is also home to a beautiful array of craft beer. They also serve non-craft beer, but craft beer is better – trust us. Both a bar and a restaurant, you can choose to accompany your chosen pint (or 2/3 pint, because they’re kooky like that) with some tasty grub, or just drink it on its own among the good company of friends. Either way, you’re winning at life.
IB Deal: 15% off craft beer and food
The Post Office Vaults
With 8 real ales and 13 real ciders on tap, alongside over 400 (yes, 400!) bottled beers from across the world, The Post Office Vaults certainly is a beer enthusiast’s delight. Yes, it may look like you’re entering the dreaded post office, where dreams come to die. The reality is that you’re actually entering a brilliant pub where beer dreams come alive. Grab a pint, then grab another, then maybe a third. Your mission: to work your way through all the beers before they add yet more to their already vast collection.
IB Tip: The Post Office Vaults doesn’t serve food, they do however allow you to bring your own should you wish to accompany your packed-lunch with a delicious beer one lunchtime. It’s a bold strategy, one we’re sure will pay off.
A stalwart of many a local in Birmingham, The Wellington boasts a prodigious array of beers and ales on tap. The selection is substantial. A traditional boozer doing what a boozer does best – putting a nice cold pint in your hand and a smile on your face. Real Ale, craft beer, lager, cider – The Wellington has it all, and all in abundance. Grab a mate, choose a pint and get comfy.
IB Tip: The Wellington (unbeknown to many) has a lovely beer garden/terrace out back. It’s kind of a hidden gem in the city and when the sun comes out, this could be a safe bet for a quieter, less bustling, beer garden experience – although perhaps not now we’ve told everyone about it…
The Prince Of Wales
Brum-famous for their magnificent beer garden and it’s wild Mo-Tiki Bar where things get set on fire alarmingly often, The Prince of Wales just happens to have a fantastic range of beers on tap and their British boozer is just the place to enjoy a pint of your chosen nectar. Inside the pub is just screaming with individualistic character, with plenty of smaller (cosy) rooms to enjoy a quiet pint with your friends or a loved one. But we’re guessing you’ll take your pint into the beer garden (it’s what it’s there for). Vibrant and bustling, The Prince of Wales is a fantastic place to enjoy a pint.
IB Deal: 30p off cask ales (Sunday-Thursday) and £1 off cocktails at the Mo-Tiki bar.
Quietly, ever so quietly, Cherry Reds have been amassing a fairly prodigious craft beer collection and we’re here to tell you that an evening spent at Cherry Reds with a pint in hand is a rather special way to spend your time. The interior is vintage-chic, the exterior has tables where you can sit and catch the evening (or afternoon, you rogue) sunshine. Craft beer, funky tunes, friendly people and cupcakes (did we mention they have cupcakes?), we’ll be seeing you at Cherry Reds then?
IB Tip: Cherry Reds also have a pretty awesome cider selection on tap. They too come in pints.
IB Deal: a free pint of cask ale, lager, cider, or draught soft drink with your main meal.
The Old Crown
The Old Crown is the jewel of Digbeth and a firm favourite of many (probably all) locals of Birmingham’s creative sector. Their beer garden is just the place to catch some of those life-affirming rays of sunshine (when that dastardly ball of fire deems fit to show itself!) and enjoy the good company of friends. The interior is everything you could ever dream of from Brum’s oldest pub, quaint and traditional, and there’s a rather cool coffee shop within the pub too – although we’re not hear to talk about coffee. The quaint decor and lively beer garden lends The Old Crown a quintessential British pub vibe and we love it. You’ll love it too.
IB Deal: 15% off all food.
Stirchley Wines and Spirits
If you’re more of the “enjoying a nice cold beer in front of the TV at home” type (we hear you, there’s nothing like home comforts) but don’t want to miss out on all the best beers, then Stirchley Wines is the place for you. This independent off-licence stock a range of alcoholic drinks, but their strength lies in their excellent beer offering. Plus, you can sample beers that you’d normally only find in kegs with their Growler re-fill system. So, you’ll never miss out on the best beers again. Nice one.
IB Deal: 10% Off Growlers Fills, 10% Off A Mixed Case Of Any 12 Bottles/Cans Of Beer/Cider, 5% Off Any 3 Bottles Of Wine (75cl or above), 5% Off Any Single Bottle Of Spirits (50cl or above) .
Dig Brew Co.
As a working brewery, Dig Brew Co. produce some of the finest beer to come out of the city and supply to many other local events and venues. The great thing is, they also have a taproom, so you can sit and enjoy their delicious brews in house. The industrial feel adds to the ambience of the venue and gives it a great character. Oh, and did we mention that you can tour the brewery? A great idea for any beer-mad friends.
IB Deal: 25% Off Brewery Tours
Craft beer and fried chicken: name a more iconic duo, we’ll wait. But seriously, the combination of a succulent fried chicken burger (or two) and a cold, refreshing craft beer (or two) is the stuff that all of our wildest dreams are made of. BoneHead consistently knock the fried chicken out of the park, and they also happen to have a fridge fully-stocked with some of the best cans and bottles of the good stuff (and they have some on tap too). Live your best life and guzzle those tinnies as you sink your teeth into that chicken. Tell them IB sent you.
IB Deal: 10% off the bill.
The Indian Brewery
This taproom-style Indian streatery (street food eatery for those wondering) is the place to go for tasty Indian street food-style dishes and a great pint. Not content with serving other beers with their food, The Indian Brewery is (as the name might suggest) also a working brewery, producing their own beer to perfectly match with their delicious eats. Order a bite to eat and wash it down with the perfect accompaniment, their Birmingham Lager.
IB Deal: 15% Off A Pint Or Can Of Birmingham Lager (anytime) OR 10% off food (Sunday – Thursday) [Snowhill Branch Only].
Birmingham Brewing Company
Birmingham Brewing Company is another fantastic local brewery. They believe that great beer comes from the best ingredients and it shows in their distinctive products. All of their beers are also vegan and gluten free, so they can be enjoyed by everyone (except children, duh). Not content with producing some of THE very best beers in the city, they also run brewery tours, beer school classes (for all you budding brewers out there) and have a taproom (open every other Friday and Saturday – dates on their website) so you can pop in and enjoy a few drinks with your friends.
The Paper Duck
This brilliant neighbourhood craft beer bar is situated in the leafy suburb of Harborne and is a haven for craft beer lovers. With 18 taps and a fully-stocked fridge, there’s plenty of choice. Showcasing beers from all over the world, as well as some locally-brewed favourites, this is a great place to dip your toes into the craft beer world or discover a new favourite. The bonus is they also have a glorious beer garden to enjoy whenever the weather is remotely good enough.
IB Deal: 10% off the bill.
Rock And Roll Brewhouse Bar
This JQ-based microbrewery specialise in producing 100% vegan beers. They brew their own beers in-house and sell them in their bar, where they have three handpulls featuring a regularly changing selection of their beers (including seasonal specials and one-offs). Vegans, beer-lovers and just everyone else need to discover this hidden gem of Birmingham’s beer scene.
Whilst The Victoria is well-known for its whisky, it’s also a great place to enjoy a pint. This historic pub dates back to the 19th century and has been given a modern twist to maintain its relevance. At The Victoria they are proud to serve real ale, so if you’re an enthusiast then this is the perfect pub for you. With one resident real ale, five regularly rotating guest ales, and two rotating craft kegs, there’s plenty of choice without it being overwhelming. Plus, with the selections changing regularly, you can keep going back for something different.
IB Deal: 20% off all whisky (Sunday – Thursday).
Attic Brew Co.
Attic Brew Co. are one of the new kids on the block. Having only opened their Stirchley-based brewery in 2018, they have made big waves in the Birmingham beer scene. They understand that beer is best enjoyed when its freshly brewed so they open their taproom on the weekends to allow the good folk of Stirchley (and beyond) to enjoy their brews as the brewer intended. Most of their brilliant brews are vegan, and they don’t add anything unnecessary to them. Head down to their taproom on Fridays and Saturdays to enjoy their range of IPAs, pales, stouts and more.
The Wildcat Tap
This independent craft beer bar can be found in Stirchley (an area quickly becoming the informal home of craft beer in Birmingham). Having recently re-opened in a new, larger premises, this independent bar isn’t your typical local. The décor is simple, uncomplicated, minimalistic. The focus is on the beer. And what a selection it is! Head to Wildcat to find a range of interesting beers you won’t find in many other places. You can thank us later.
Cork & Cage
Yet another watering hole in Stirchley in which to get your craft beer fix, Cork & Cage is a wonderful neighbourhood bar specialising in craft beer, natural wine and real cider. With contemporary Turkish food available from the kitchen to tide you over when you feel peckish, you can settle in to drink all of the unusual beverages you can manage. Their focus is on lambic, wild, sour and modern beer, so if that’s your jam, get yourself over to Stirchley, stat!
Glasshouse Beer Co.
This independent nano-brewery started life in Kings Heath and now calls Stirchley home. Their distinctive brews have given them a firm hold on the local brewing scene, and for good reason. They brew hop-forward, experimental beers and are known for big, fruity numbers, stouts, sours and some big, juicy IPAs. They’re always striving for the best product possible, so they source the best ingredients they can find. And they’ve just opened a taproom too – so you can go enjoy their tasty beers on site! Marvellous.
Digbeth Dining Club
DDC is well known for their ridiculous array of mouth-watering street eats. Featuring the best street food traders from the Midlands and beyond, visitors flock to DDC to get their hands on the tastiest grub around. But what do you need to accompany those delightful dishes? Craft beer, of course. At DDC they have a number of bars where you can grab yourself a pint of the good stuff to enjoy as you tuck into you favourite street food plates.
IB Deal: 50p off each street food dish from all vendors.
The Spotted Dog
This traditional Irish pub, situated in Digbeth, is a stalwart of the Birmingham drinking scene. Having been around since before craft beer was even a thing, this traditional boozer is the epitome of your classic neighbourhood pub. This pub is quirky and charming, and they even have a covered garden – so you can enjoy your chosen beverage al fresco, even when the weather is less than ideal.
This neighbourhood pub is situated in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, an area filled with awesome independents. The pub itself has a traditional feel to the interior, a cosy and welcoming space. One of it’s greatest assets though, is the rooftop terrace – an absolute gem of an outdoor space that is ideal for basking in the glorious sunshine (for the one week a year we get it) and sipping a nice, frosty beer. They also do pizzas to satisfy those inevitable hunger pangs.
A relative newbie on the Birmingham bar scene, The Juke brings something different to the neighbourhood of Kings Heath. This great little bar has a strong music focus with their vintage jukebox being the inspiration behind the venture. Serving some tasty craft beers for you to enjoy as you bop along to the awesome tunes emanating from that jukebox, this is a wonderful place to enjoy a pint or two with pals. With kitchen takeovers from some brilliant street food pop-ups, you have everything you need for a fun evening.
The clue is in the title. One of the newest additions to Birmingham’s beer scene, Pint Shop’s premise is simple: great pub grub, even greater beer. As the name suggests, Pint Shop is all about the pints. They have a rather awesome chalkboard as a centrepiece to their dining (and drinking) area which lists all of their available beers (and there’s plenty of them). On this rather awesome chalkboard you will find details of each brew, including the name, brewer, style, region and ABV, as well as the price. So you can make a very well informed choice on which beer to sample next. We like their style.
This Digbeth pub is the epitome of quirky. From their eclectic décor, to their unusual food menu, featuring goulash, meatballs, koftas and flatbreads, this isn’t your average local boozer. Harnessing the character of the historic building they call home, yet putting their own stamp on it, the Ruin is a handsome spot for a pint. What’s more, they have a beer garden too. Sunshine and beer, a most wonderful combination. Get ye to The Ruin!
IB deal: 2 Flatbreads And A Bottle Of House Wine For £20
The Duke Inn
This Sutton Coldfield pub appears to be your typical, traditional boozer. It has that classic British pub feel, but with a modern edge. The décor is sympathetic to the very traditional roots, there’s a sizeable, grassy beer garden out back and a classic drinks offering. If you’re looking for that classic pub to enjoy a pint or two, look no further than The Duke Inn
The Craven Arms
Renowned for their impressive keg range and cask ales, The Craven Arms is one of Birmingham’s greatest beer havens and a true mecca for all beer enthusiasts. Located a short distance from Birmingham city centre, this is a pub you’ll have to journey to find – but that’s what makes it an adventure. A traditional boozer oozing with individualistic character, grab yourself a friend, then grab yourself a seat and enjoy an afternoon of sampling The Craven Arms’ hugely diverse beer offering. Discovering a new favourite just got a whole lot easier!
Gas Street Social
Located within The Mailbox (overlooking the canal, for those of you who grab a window seat or sit on their outdoor terrace), Gas Street Social is a lively restaurant and bar which is renowned for brunch and cocktails. We’re here to tell you that their beer is pretty darn good too! There is craft beer (for the connoisseurs among you) alongside a few of the more ‘well-known’ brands for those of you who like to play it safe, but essentially, there’s beer for everyone. If you can sit on their outdoor terrace in the sunshine then brilliant, if not then their cosy interior is also a great place to be.
IB Deal: Free Mule or Socialite cocktail, Pistonhead craft beer or glass of wine when purchasing a main course.
It’s a coffee shop (one of the best in Brum), yet they serve craft beer and have pinball machines. To be honest, you should probably just stop reading right now and go get your beer fix – we won’t stop you. Now, whilst these bad boys technically aren’t pints (since they’re all funky and served in stemless glasses – it is craft beer after all!), they are still brilliant beers and you should probably go try them for yourself. There are regularly changing beers on tap, as well as bottles and cans to drink in or take away. Go discover a new favourite and set a high score on the pinball machine while you’re at it too.
IB Deal: 15% off coffee, teas and cakes.
The Anchor is a stalwart of Digbeth’s independent scene and a local boozer that exudes character and is pretty much guaranteed to be your new favourite watering hole from the moment you sit down to sip your first pint to the moment (many hours later) you stumble out again. They serve beer of the craft kind, and also cocktails for those of you looking to diversify your drinking habits. But since this is an article about where to find the best pints in Birmingham, we’re thinking you’ll do the right thing and choose a nice, cold pint. It’s the right thing to do.
IB Deal: 12.5% off drinks
A fantastic independent brewery and taproom in Brum, Burning Soul has smashed its way into the Birmingham craft beer scene and amassed quite the cult following. They brew their own beer and then serve it in their taproom – it’s a winning combination. You get to try new and intriguing beers before they go out to the masses, and hang out with like-minded beer folk all at the same time. We like where this is going. The taproom is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, so that means you’ll just have to plan your week solely around visiting Burning Soul. You won’t regret it!
With a name that echoes Birmingham’s reputation as a city of 1000 trades, 1000 Trades aims to celebrate and showcase the very best of the city’s industrial heritage and craft culture – from delicious craft beer to the work of talented local artists and everything in between. Acting as a social hub within Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, this bar and kitchen hosts regular kitchen takeovers as well as private events. 1000 Trades is more than just a bar, it’s a neighbourhood hangout with a real passion for Birmingham and its thriving independent culture. We like their moves.
IB Deal: 10% off drinks (excluding Friday and Saturday evening, after 6pm)
There are so many to choose from and all brim with their own individualistic character. We’re all about the local’s local at Independent Birmingham and that’s why we love The Wolf. They have curated a brilliant selection of delicious beers perfect for the beer connoisseur and craft beer newbie alike, and they change their range of kegs, cans and bottles regularly, to keep you on your toes. What’s more, they also serve a rather tasty selection of food that accompanies your beer perfectly from cheese and meat boards, to pies and toasties and a good, old Sunday roast. Because your pint gets lonely on its own.
IB Deal: 15% off the bill.
Hare And Hounds
Renowned across Birmingham as one of the best live music venues in the city, Hare and Hounds is also a wonderful place to enjoy a nice cold pint (maybe even whilst catching a live set from one of Brum’s up-and-coming bands, you party animal!). Front of house is a time-honoured ode to the traditional boozer with dark hardwood dominating the scene, around the back it’s a different story entirely as the traditional makes way for the quirky. Neon signage, plush red leather seating, exposed bricks – hipsters, you’ll feel at home here, and for those of you without giant beards – we’re pretty certain you’ll feel right at home too, it’s a very friendly pub. Drink beer and be happy.
IB Deal: 2 Cans Of Beavertown Beer For £6 And Bottles Of House White/Red Wine For £11 (5pm – 9pm) And Unique Monthly Ticket Discounts/Offers (Use The Code: independentbrum To Redeem).
The British Oak
From the mastermind behind The Prince of Wales in Moseley, is The British Oak in Stirchley. A traditional boozer with a twist, expect beer (and lots of it) and a rather large and splendid outdoor seating area for catching those ever-essential rays. Top up your pint and then go top up your Vitamin D levels. We’ve heard the food there is pretty ace too. Just saying. Onwards, for beer and for glory!
The Sun On The Hill
The Sun on the Hill has been a local’s hangout for many a year, standing proud on Bennett’s Hill and providing weary Brummies with a friendly place to rest their feet and sip on a pint of the good stuff. That ambrosial nectar of the gods. Beer. With a long, long bar where you can stand (or sit) with the locals to discuss the topics of the day, and plenty of other seating for those who don’t like discussing things, The Sun on the Hill is a friendly pub serving great pub grub and glorious beer. You can’t go wrong with a visit.
IB Deal: 25% off food.
The Rose Villa Tavern
In Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter near some big clock (we’re being so blasé about the clock, it’s actually pretty cool) lies The Rose Villa Tavern. Funky, vibrant and containing a phone booth within (yep, a phone booth), The Rose Villa Tavern is just a brilliant place to enjoy a pint and perhaps a plate of nachos – because they do nachos too. And wings, let’s not forget the wings. We’re getting distracted here… Beer. Ok, so there’s beer on tap and beer in bottles, cider too for apple enthusiasts, but what we’re really trying to say here is that RVT is a bostin’ place for a pint – with beer gardens both out front and in the back, for all your sunshine needs. Onwards!
IB Deal: 20% off food.
Coffee shop and tapas haven by day, speciality cocktail bar and craft beer lodge by night – Black Lab has it all. Tapas and cocktails aside (what a potent combination that is, can we just say), Black Lab has in stock a brilliant array of intriguing and tasty craft beers perfect for helping you to discover new tastes and rediscover old favourites. Mostly arriving in bottle and can form (you can probably get them poured into a pint glass or goblet if you ask nicely), these beers will broaden your taste horizons. Go check them out for yourself – there’s beer to be drunk!
Now it’s not a pub, or a place where you can actually enjoy a pint… so what we’re saying is that we’ve (once again) gone a little off-piste. But then again, we’re crazy like that. Connolly’s is an independent wine merchant. So what’s it doing on this list, we hear you cry. Well, they have a pretty awesome selection of craft beer in stock – perfect for allowing you to discover new tastes and pour your own pint in the comfort of your home. From local microbreweries to far-flung American craft beers, the array of beer at Connolly’s is a wonderful thing to behold. Stock up your fridge, pour yourself a pint, sit back and relax. Well played you.
IB Deal: 10% off a mixed case of any 6 bottles of wine or 12 bottles of beer and 5% off any single bottle of spirits.
A classic old-style city pub, Gunmakers Arms is the taproom for the Brum-famous Two Towers Brewery and the place to go to sip on their beautiful ambrosial nectar. A short walk from both Snow Hill station and St. Paul’s Square, this pub is a hidden treasure of Birmingham and definitely one to add to your pub crawl list. Journey there, drink beautiful beers and revel in your awesomeness. You are winning at life.
Slightly off-piste (again), Cotteridge Wines is somewhere we need to bring to your attention. Multi-award winning off-licence Cotteridge Wines is a beer enthusiasts dream come true and the perfect place to pick up a bottle or two of something distinctive and new. Stocking over 1300 beers (wow!), it’s safe to say that should you ever need to find the right beer for the right job (or dinner), Cotteridge Wines is certainly the place to go. They even have a small taproom out the back too!
IB Tip: Cotteridge Wines holds frequent tasting evenings where you and your chosen companion can try unusual beers and discover new favourites. It’s a beer-lovers perfect evening. We guarantee it.
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