16, yes, 16 real ales along with several real ciders and a range of bottled Belgian beer make this place a must for beer lovers. Oh, and you can bring your own food too, cutlery and plates are provided.
The Post Office Vaults
A haven for the devoted beer fan. Good selection of cask and keg beer as well as hundreds of bottled beers from all over the world. You can bring your own food here too, cutlery and plates provided. They also have a Bar Billiards table.
Originally a 19th century theatre pub, the Victoria has been restored in a wonderful, contemporary style. With grub courtesy of the Soul Food Project, fine beer, innovative cocktails and some of the best DJ nights in the city,this is a pub you could happily spend many an hour in.
The Island Bar
Perhaps the best cocktail bar in Birmingham? On entering the bar you're hit by a heady aroma of crushed mint, citrus fruits and exotic spirits. Glancing through the menu you soon realise the staff take their work seriously. The range of cocktails encompass the traditional and also the highly innovative. A good range of bottled beers too.
Since 2007 Brewdog have become experts in shameless self publicity and have actively saught to cause controversy. On the surface, this may seem like a foolhardy strategy, but considering the dominance of mainstream brands and the stagnation of certain consumer champions (e.g. the Campaign for Real Ale-CAMRA), this strategy has proven very successful. And the most important point of all, their beer is very good indeed.
A few years ago, this place would have been one to avoid. After a tasteful renovation by the Nicholson's chain, it's firmly back on the itinerary. The selection of ale and wine is usually well chosen and will have something to please most people. The food menu combines traditional and modern elements, as chain pubs go, it's not bad at all.
Another Nicholson's establishment, but homogenous this ain't. Descend the stairs underneath the Burlington hotel you'll find this tribute to Bacchanalian excess. On the walls you'll find frescos of oiled up deities mixed with areas of dark wooden panelling. Also expect to find tapestries, busts of Roman emperors and a suit of armour thrown in for good measure. The food and drink, naturally, is decent (see most other Nicholson's), but you'll be too busy taking in all the ridiculous decor to worry about that. If you're in to your Feng Shui, probably best to avoid this one.
The Craven Arms
Tucked alongside the Mailbox is a real gem of a pub. Handsome both inside and out with a welcoming traditional atmosphere. 11 cask ales (each with tasting notes) and a small selection of traditional ciders puts it right up there amongst the best beer pubs in the city. Their range of bottled beers continues to improve with the likes of Cantillon and de Molen (yum). Food features in the form of generously filled cobs and pig based snacks. Combine all these features with two real open fires. What's not to like?
The Jekyll and Hyde
Considering the location (near the Colmore Business District), you'd be forgiven to think that this place would be a little dull. Not so. There's a lot of interest packed into this small venue including a good menu, quirky courtyard and gin, lots and lots of gin. So much gin they have their own gin parlour upstairs. They also host the Juniper Film Club every week.
The Lord Clifden
Like many establishments in Birmingham, put in a little effort to track them down and you'll be rewarded handsomely. Take a stroll up to the Jewellery Quarter and you'll find a great range of food, ales and wine. It also possesses a rare feature in the city centre: a good beer garden.
The Red Lion
Sister pub to the Lord Clifden, more of the same combination of good food and drink all packaged up into a more compact and cosy environment. Furthermore, it is one of the few places in the city centre that you might find the fabled Batham's Best Bitter.
The Bartons Arms
A short bus ride north out of the city centre lies surely one of the prettiest pubs in the country. Built in 1901, the Bartons is a triumph of Victorian design with beautifully restored tiles, stained glass, snob screens and a grand staircase. Refreshments are provided by the ever brilliant Oakham Ales, there's also a fine menu of Thai food making it a real feast for the senses.
Bodega Bar and Cantina
I'm sure anyone visiting the UK from Central or South America must weep when they see how us Brits abuse Tequila. Authentic Tequila is fermented and distilled (often aged in oak barrels) from 100% blue agave.
The cocktail menu in Bodega treats Tequila and other latin american spirits such as Pisco and Cachaça with the delicious respect they deserve. The food menu showcases a fresh and vibrant selection of central and south american street food.