If you’re a long-term reader of Bite Your Brum you’ll know I’m a big fan of Digbeth – the ‘shabby chic’ part of Birmingham.
Like me, Digbeth is a little rough around the edges and has a colourful past, but it remains one of my favourite areas of the city. While it doesn’t play host to our fine dining restaurants or fancy wine bars it does have a thriving food scene, housing some of my go-to pubs and places to grab a bite to eat.
Considered one of the creative hubs of Birmingham, Digbeth is a map of interwoven streets and walls doused in artwork disguised as graffiti about 10 minutes walk from the main train stations. It’s colourful and vibrant, loved by locals for its relaxed vibe. Here you find no girls in spandex mini dresses or people popping £100 bottles of fizz; you come to Digbeth to dance in warehouses, scoff street food and play pool in old man boozers. Those that like the area love it, the rest keep to the B1 postcode.
So this week I’m going to be talking you through a few of my favourite places to eat and drink in the ever ace (and always affordable) Digbeth. I’ll add some links below to relevant reviews in case that’s helpful for you guys, too.
Digbeth Dining Club
The only permanent street food venue to rival the London offerings, Digbeth Dining Club runs Thursday to Sunday. Housing some locally and nationally renowned talent, the vendors change regularly and include all sorts of food, from burgers and noodles to kebabs and tacos. There’s several well stocked bars (I like Mama Roux’s) and live music to enjoy too.
Baked in Brick
Within the walls of Custard Factory you’ll find Baked in Brick – a small but perfectly formed restaurant specialising in pizza. Perfect for a casual lunch or supper, you can find some of the city’s best pizza here, and there’s both indoor and outdoor seating. Look out for the red mini – a nod back to the BiB origins at Digbeth Dining Club many moons ago.
The Old Crown
For those looking to enjoy a bit of Brum’s history, The Old Crown is Birmingham’s oldest pub. Built in 1368, it’s survived every war to become somewhat of an institution within the city. As well as retaining many of its charming historical features, this pub has a big beer garden and plenty of events over the summer months. There’s pub grub if your hungry (this place does a cracking roast dinner) and offers a nice gin selection.
Set canal-side, this is not only a popular wedding venue but frequently the location for popular foodie events like Independent Birmingham Festival and the Seasonal Markets. These events are a great way to support and sample the creations of local vendors and check out independent companies, selling everything from hot sauce to jewellery.
If you like a pint over a game of pool, this red brick boozer might be up your street. It’s no frills and feels a bit like being back in the early 90s, but there’s always a decent atmosphere, the music is iconic, and there’s free dog biscuits at the bar if you come with your four-legged friend. What more do you need!
One for brunch fans, Kanteen is classed as a bit of a hidden gem. Serving up freshly ground coffee, homemade cakes and more, it’s a pretty cafe in the heart of Custard Factory. There’s decent options for the vegans amongst you, and takeaway meals are also available if you want to grab and go.
Neon cocktails and crazy golf anyone? You could be forgiven for walking straight past this popular hangout but it’s always busy come the weekend. Guests can play up to 18 holes, moving through the course via an old bus, an 80s video store and a broken toilet, with waitresses on hand to ensure your glass is kept full all the way around. Make sure you book in advance – it gets really busy come the weekend.
Organised chaos is most definitely the theme at The Ruin – a pub that’s built like a tardis and looks like the before photos of a house renovation project. The friendly bar folk serve up truly excellent espresso martinis and there’s a small beer garden hidden away out the back to enjoy the sunshine.
And that’s your lot. Digbeth is such a hive of hidden gems – don’t be afraid to leave the city centre and experience a more bohemian side of Brum. If you’re visiting the city you can find Hotels in Birmingham here.
Disclosure: This post includes some venues where I used spending money gifted by Hotels.com but all recommendations are my own. Words and photos are my own, as always.