Once Birmingham’s industrial heartland, today Digbeth is better known as a growing and creative neighbourhood. From independent markets to some of the coolest cocktail bars in Birmingham – and even the best car park in Britain (yes, really) – there are so many amazing things to do in Digbeth. You’ll need more than an afternoon, or even a long weekend, to see it all!
1. Wander around The Custard Factory
You can’t visit Digbeth without stopping The Custard Factory. This is where Bird’s Custard was first made – once employing up to 12,000 people before it closed in 1967. It is now a redeveloped space with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and flea markets to explore and enjoy. Some of which we’ll cover further down the page, but you can read more about it 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. Not only is it Birmingham’s oldest pub, however, but we’d say its friendliest too. There is a large bar garden to sink a pint at when the weather is warm, plus you can also stay the night for around £50 per night (following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I of all people). Ideal if you plan on exploring all of Digbeth.
3-7. Enjoy fun and games in Digbeth’s many activity bars
Birmingham is packed with activity bars combining games and booze, many of which are in Digbeth. It makes the area perfect for mates dates and, well, regular dates too. There’s a multi-sensory VR experience which combines mind blowing technology with a physical sensation overload, In A Box, In A Box, In A Box[/trackLink]; [trackLink link_url="https://secretbirmingham.com/roxy-ball-room-digbeth/"]Roxy Lanes bowling alley; and the epic arcade bar NQ64 featuring retro favourites such as Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, Street Fighter II, Tekken and newer classics such as Guitar Hero.
One of the most baffling, however , has to be Golf Fang. Putting the crazy back in crazy golf. From a sex shop to The Jezza Kyle Show set, an arcade to a men’s toilet, this twisted carnival-style take on the 18-hole course offers some truly bonkers settings for golf. If you’re after something a little more low-key but still exciting, you’ll also find Chance & Counters in Digbeth. Here you can choose from a selection of board games to play – the perfect alternative night out. You most definitely won’t get board here.
7. Sip on a selection of the best cocktails in Birmingham
It should be no shock that Passing Fancies was recently named among the Top 50 Best Cocktail Bars in the UK. Offering “approachable luxury in Birmingham’s hip neighbourhood” of Digbeth, this relaxed, modern and vibrant bar serves cutting edge cocktails that never cease to surprise or please.
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 colourful art
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. This recent Ozzy Osbourne mural is already a local favourite. But to get the most out of Digbeth’s street art, we recommend checking out this walking tour. 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
Hanbao’s LA and New York-inspired burgers have become the talk of Birmingham thanks to some outright bizarre – but no doubt delicious – flavour combinations. The most inspired of all has to be the Odd Future, however, which replaces burger buns glazed donut (with sprinkles, of course). Other mind-boggling, yet mouth-watering burgers, includes the Honk Kong Phooey, which adds char siu pork belly and sesame slaw to a cheeseburger for a distinct Chinese-twist. While Caesers Palace balances tater tots on top of double-fried chicken and streaky bacon, dripping with Caesar dressing.
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
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.
It 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. Rock out at Birmingham’s most brutal metal bar
The birthplace of both heavy metal and grindcore, it’s only right Birmingham has some brutal music venues. The Devil’s Dog only recently opened, but should have all metal fans excited. Not only does it host international and local talent with a particular emphasis on heavier and more fierce genres. But it also doubles as a late-night bar and hangout space for those looking for a pint, a bite to eat and the city’s most savage jukebox.
16. Grab a slice of perfect pizza
There are two great pizzerias in Digbeth to choose from, both very different from each other. So choose wisely. Firstly there’s the perfectly puffed crust pizzas of Baked in Brick. Stunning creations include marvellous margheritas amplified by a mighty ball of burrata on top to Asian-inspired pizzas with toppings like BBQ chicken tikka or char siu pork belly. Their calzone, filled with Aubrey Allen beef shin and wild mushroom served with a Colston Basset Blue Stilton dip, was also voted ‘the best street food dish’ at the British & European Street Food Awards.
Secondly, you have Crazy Pedro’s, which takes the pizza party concept to extreme. With headline grabbing pizza creations such as Crème Eggs on pizza and Chippy Tea with curry sauce, the late night party bar serves 16” New York style pizzas all day until 3am. It also has frozen Margaritas on tap 7 days a week!
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?