Birmingham’s former industrial heartland known as Digbeth has become a growing and creative neighbourhood. From markets to bizarre bars, a day visit to Digbeth is packed with things to see, do and eat.
1. Wander around the Custard Factory
Did you know Bird’s Custard was made in Digbeth? Well, you can thank this Brummy area for helping to make that fruit crumble or pie taste a lot better. The Custard Factory is said to have employed up to 12,000 people before it closed in 1967 and is now a redeveloped space with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and flea markets to explore and enjoy. See more here.
2. Hit up a legendary pub
Grab a pint and some delicious food at The Old Crown, a pub that dates all the way back to 1368. Inside you’ll find its charming beams keeping the old pub in tact as well as cosy fireplaces and industrial brick walls. There is a large bar garden to sink a pint at when the weather is warm, plus you can also stay here for around £50 per night.
3. Step into another dimension at In A Box, In A Box, In A Box
Hidden in the depths of Digbeth, is a multi-sensory VR experience which combines mind blowing technology with a physical sensation overload. Launched by Atmos VR, In A Box, In A Box, In A Box offers a world where gaming, VR, theatre and film collide with the latest technology to create a truly immersive 4D virtual reality experience. Your VR experience will start by being given your mission and then you’ll discover your first task, which could be anything, so follow your story, prepare your senses… and expect the unexpected.
4. Have a ball at Roxy Ballroom
No, you don’t necessarily need to get down on the dancefloor here, but be our guest. From ping pong to pool, Roxy Ballroom has an array of games to play with your mates. Plus, this place doesn’t do things in half measures. We’re talking full size pool tables, Olympic sized ping pong tables and generous portions of food and drink on the side.
5. Sip on a selection of natural wine at Wine Freedom
Life is too short to drink rubbish wine, so get yourself down to Digbeth for a good ol’ glass (or bottle) at Wine Freedom. Offering more than 400 natural wines at their shop, there’s bound to be a tipple that takes your fancy. Sip on a crisp white, full-bodied red, juicy orange or something sparkling surrounded by plants in Wine Freedom’s bar. The wine shop and bar offers tastings, small plates to accompany your wine as well as a school to help become a wine connoisseur.
6. Get lost in the world of arcade games
Relive your childhood at this epic arcade bar at the Custard Factory. NQ64 features retro favourites such as Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, Street Fighter II, Tekken and newer classics such as Guitar Hero. If that’s not enough, there are even arcade game-themed cocktails to sip on such as Princess Peach, the Mad Max and the Root Beer Tapper.
7. Get your geek on at this board game café
Inside the Custard Factory you’ll find Chance & Counters where you can choose from a selection of board games to play. Chance & Counters makes for the perfect alternative night out and you most definitely won’t get bored here.
8. Discover gorgeous antiques at Ridding & Wynn
As you enter the courtyard at The Custard Factory you’ll find Ridding & Wynn, a store brimming with quirky and marvellous objects to decorate your home with. Weave your way through the antiques shop and you may just find the right piece of furniture or homeware to take your room from a six to a 10. And if you can’t get enough of antiques, why not head to Sobremesa? Here you can sip on cocktails, nibble at nachos and have a good catch-up, as well as find yourself surrounded by an array of antiques from Ridding & Wynn.
9. Get a proper eyeful of colour
Even if you’ve never been to Digbeth before, you’ll have probably seen it on Instagram. The crazy colourful pieces of street art is like catnip to Instagrammers. For more art, you can also view exhibitions at Centrala Space, which exhibits work by Central and Eastern European artists, as well as hosting other events.
10. Devour a drool-worthy burger
Self-titled “Purveyors of Filth”, the Original Patty Men are a force to be reckoned with. Gorge on a burger like the Alabama Slammer with a deep fried boneless chicken thigh, lime and ginger slaw, and either Alabama sauce or Frank’s hot sauce. You’ll be lucky to fit both hands around these monster burgers.
11. Get a trim, a coffee and a pint all in one place
Stag Digbeth has to be one of the most unique uses of space in Birmingham. Not only is it a bar but it’s also a coffee house and a functioning barber shop. Need a haircut before your night out? Well, Digbeth can do both at once, plus you get a free drink with your trim.
12. Munch down on an epic bottomless brunch at Luna Springs
Launched in April 2021, Luna Springs is a huge venue perfect for meet-ups with mates, and it serves up delicious cocktails and mouth-watering food alongside plenty of fun and entertainment. Luna Springs is a must-visit bottomless brunch destination to add to your list. Bottomless brunch by Luna Springs takes the form of sensational street food with either one or two hours of bottomless bubbles and beer. In winter you’ll find an impressive ice rink at the venue and in summer you can sit under the arches and listen to live music from some of Birmingham’s most loved DJ’s.
13. Head to this amazing independent market
Who doesn’t love a good market? Digbeth has a hidden gem, tucked away on Floodgate Street which offers a unique shopping experience. Red Brick Market acts as a department store alternative retail site where stallholders needn’t have to be present at their stall. Plus, small business owners are able to put their own stamp on their stall by decorating them however they see fit and giving them the edge in contrast to regular, council-led markets. The independent indoor market is seeing more and more small businesses taking residence at the site so there is plenty to discover.
14. Battle it out with friends to decide who is the best baker
Lovers of GBBO can enjoy this competitive baking experience at The Big Birmingham Bake where you can enjoy a slice of cake baked by yours truly. The marquee has 12 cooking stations, with all baking equipment supplied and you can bake in teams of two. All you need to bring is your creativity and some healthy competition.
15. Take a tour around this Digbeth brewery
Local craft brewers Dig Brew produce pale ales; IPAs; lagers; fruited goses and ales; dark beers; barrel-aged stouts and barley wines, better still you can discover how they’re made. With this experience you can Dig Brew’s production facility and find out about the history of Dig Brew; its philosophy; brewing processes and the ingredients they use. The Dig Brew tour also includes some cheeky sampling of beer plus a 10″ pizza- because what goes better with beer than pizza?
16. Chow down on some tasty grub from some of Birmingham’s top food traders
Zumhof Biergarten is great spot for a drink, a party up in their ‘junkyard’ space as well as being home to some delicious food. The Zumhof Food Märkt features German goodness in the form of Schwenker, Mexican street food vendors, OSO Streetfood, and Velveteen, an unbelievable burger restaurant. So expect to find plenty of brats as well as ramen, katsu curries and mouth-watering burgers on the Digbeth bar’s menu.
17. Settle in for a film at this cinema
For a unique cinema experience, head to the Mockingbird. They’ve got bottomless movie brunches (e.g. Dirty Dancers and Grease sing-alongs with unlimited prosecco), film all-nighters (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger marathons), various cult cinema showings (Lost Boys, anyone?) and even CAGEFest (yes, that’s a whole weekend dedicated to Nick Cage movies).
18. Or party all weekend at The Night Owl
The Night Owl is probably one of the coolest soul and retro clubs in Birmingham let alone Digbeth. The club varies its DJs and offers a selection of food and drink to enjoy to the funky beat. In usual times, you can take to the dancefloor but even tapping your feet to the music still serves for a great time. You can even join one of their soul and funk brunches on a weekend. Music and bottomless prosecco- what’s not to love?