Alot of people message me about things to do/see in Birmingham, and while I am no tourist ambassador, I do know a few things about this city. So if you're planning a trip, or coming for uni, hopefully this guide will have some handy hints. If I've forgotten anything, or people want to add stuff, go right ahead. And be aware that these places are my taste, and in my opinion fabulous, so don't hunt me down if they're not to your liking!! I'll give vague directions to place where you can ask people and they an point them out...
(and by dress up I don't mean fancy dress!)
Snobs: aka snobbles, snobbys. Go straight down new street to the opposite end to the bullring.
The best club ever in the history of everything, end of. Go on wednesday for student night, or saturdays. I don't really want to go into how I got banned, due the major depression that will follow, but hopefully on my birthday they'll let me back in! (they'd better- grabs carving knife) It the size of a shoe box and underground, so it's dark and dirty, and we swear they put something in the vodka as everyone is in a haze of sweaty dancing. It is also the easiest place to pull in the whole world. Mainly because it's so crazy cramped as everyone is out their tree. There's a main indie room, and a smaller 60's, soul room. If you like gigs and mosh pits, this is the place for you. Mainly studenty, but alot of non students and post students go, so people older than 25 are normal.
Tips: expect to get very, very hot- some people dress up, alot don't; use lots of hairspray to avoid frizz, drinks are dirt cheap and the bar isn't too busy, expect to be pushed and shoved while dancing, chavs not welcome, go to top nosh for chips after, say hi to john the bouncer.
Panic: (not at the disco), @ the sanctuary, 5 mins down digbeth high street, behind the bullring
7 room, 5 floors, usually quite full, every fortnight on saturday, very studenty, loads of different room: indie, electro, mod, live band, chill out room, etc, less dirty indie club, more classy, people dress up and wear lots of vintage, your puffball dress will be fab, sometimes really good, sometimes bad.
Tips: be careful on the stairs, don't get into any cars outside that offer to give you a lift home by acting like taxis, get the night bus, the vs things are cheap, it's hard to get drunk there for some reason and it's hell to get to the bar
Ressurection: aka res, ressa, @ subway city, go to snowhill station, walk down the left and go under the subway, friday every fortnight
3 rooms, indie, mod, electro, not too big, not too small, has a cafe upstairs with tiptops (popsicles to you americans) some dress up, some don't, but make some effort, cheap bar, lots of drunk people, main room dance floor always seems more like a corridor/hallway to me
Tips: go to the main room balcony toilets, the stairs are steep- beware of short skirts, bar is easy to get to, dance on stage, quite studenty but not everyone is.
Also see: Anarchy, their sister night, every other friday, with rock, metal, emo, etc, one for the scene kids.
Ramshackle: aka rams, @ carling academy, go to bullring, walk down the road to your right with waterstones and keep going past boots to toys'r'us, every friday
A huge place, good bar and dancefloor, i went to a teeny disco there when younger so can't shake that image off
Also see: Subculture, saturday, their sister rock/metal/emo/alt night, good for cheesy rock stuff like limp bizkit (hahaha) nice change from the indie scene
Tips: they hold good themed nights such as beach party and casino night, there are sub girls that dance on stage in skimpy black stuff- my cousins girlfriend is one and she is fabulous and does optometry at aston uni- they're not slags!
Club NME, medicine bar@ custard factory, digbeth high street behind bullring, walk down for 10 mins, every thursday
Tips: AVOID AVOID!! It's deserted
Jump Around, @ barfly, go to the sanctuary (see Panic) and walk down the little road on the right of digbeth high street, every tuesday,
90's night, never packed but a good crowd, vodka slushy machine, spice girls, 90p with flyer!
DV8, near arcadian, to the right of the back of the bullring, thursday is student night
gay club, but most go for the £8 entrance and free bar (not that you can ever get to it!!) fabulous and fruity with cheese, chart and dance, friendly people, beware of bitchy gay guys, they id heavily
Chavtastic clubs: head to broad street for 497376 clubs, flares is good, aussie bar (walkabout) is fab, but if you like your dance and cheap stretchy diamante tops go to the works, barracuda, oceana, etc
More sophis clubs: try bushwhackers, moneypenny nights, nightingale for funky house/electro without the chavs.
aussie bar@ broad street (see above), the trockadero has hot guys, try briar rose for non smoking, the square peg is a bit dodgy, the sunflower lounge (behind bullring & new street station) is for super cool indie/mod types and had a vodka slushy machine! Mosely and digbeth have nice pubs, but i am no pub expert!
Shops (now I'm an expert!)
The Bullring, ask anyone for directions. 2 huge glass buildings, very clean, every shop you could ever need, large topshop, h&m, zara, mango, and the main attraction is selfridges, which is fab to just wonder round and admire. The toilets are really clean (i had to say it!) and go on a week day to avoid crowds. Everyone meets at the bull statue, so go on a saturday and marvel at how many emos are in existence. there are 3 floors in each building, the bottom ones join with restaurants in the middle, look out for princess lou in Claire's accessories.
Primark, step out the bullring and go down the left street for 2 mins. Very big, MOBBED on a saturday, go really early on weekdays, don't think sunday will be any different to a saturday, lots of crappy knitwear, lots of shoes, big looking queues but they go down fast, if you see an 8-10 after 11am you have witnessed a miracle.
Big yellow vintage shop, see here
The vintage flea market, every saturday, step out of big yellow vintage shop, go left for 5 mins to the custard factory, walk in and it's straight ahead, SERIOUSLY pretty, like a candy shop, fab vintage, not too expensive though some stuff is, lots and lots of accessories to choose from and friendly ladies, each have their own little stores, it's never very busy and there is a changing room.
Yo-Yo, a vintage shop at the opposite end of new street to the bullring, down the side road where pizza hut is, near an italian restaurant, a little shop with better boys stuff than girls, average to pricey, american vintage (the best) not pretentious; you're allowed to rummage.
Oasis market, step out the bullring and go right past waterstones, walk until boots and go down the road left opposite mc donalds, it's on your right down a passage with a market, confusing 5 floor goth/emo/alt market, with tattoos/piercing parlours, fetish wear, bead making, hairdressers, bong shops etc, an alternative shopping exp. good for cheap colourful makeup
Avoid: Hypnotic, blue star, select, jane norman unless you want buckles, white crinkly cotton trousers, stretchy printed tops, white leggings
Things to visit
The Mailbox- home of posh shops/bars/restaurants and seriously expensive flats. bbc midlands hq is there, where they film the news and record the radio so you often see presenters eating lunch, it's right next to the canals, and full of rich people, find yourself a rich husband, eat in style
The Custard Factory: super trendy arty place that holds gigs, clubs nights, shops, etc, on a normal day there are art galleries, you should go just to look at the sculptures and designs if you like that sort of thing
The Chinese quarter- yum
Pigeon park, the cathedral, aka emo park. The emo hang out, marvel at the amount of scene kids and panic at the disco tshirts
Brindly place, bars and restaurants on the canals, go through symphony hall to get to it, which holds concerts and shows, leads onto broad street which is less chavtastic in the day
Tricky Dickie's- male strippers!
Look out for religious protesters, buskers, hari krishnas, the floozy in the fountain, 4 h&ms, me!
a few events that spring to mind
Gay Pride- a weekend, once every year with a massive parade throughout the city and weekend long fairs, clubs and fun!
Drop Beats Not Bombs- event at the custard factory, expect alot of drum n bass
Carling Academy, the perfect venue (apart from the high drinks prices and heavy id) avoid academy 2 for smaller gigs as the stage is on the floor so you don't get a good view, main room can hold 2000 people, with a wide balcony, rumours of a refurbishment
Barfly- good for smaller more unknown bands, cheap drinks, easy to get backstage or climb on stage!
Alex/Hippodrome theatres, many a show, i recommend rocky horror, it always shocks me at how small theatres look on the outside.
Good charity shop high streets
erdington, wylde green, harbourne, kings heath, mosely, bearwood, shirley, one stop (in new oscott i think)
Birmingham- just out of town, pretty green campus, huge uni, live in sellyoak aka studentville
Aston- right in the middle of town next to the fire station, wide open campus, nice accom. on site, live in erdington for near by accom.
UCE- the met, loads of students all ages, campus spaced out
Phew I'm all typed out! I hope something in there helps visitors. Forget your pretencions about Birmingham, it's a vast city with loads of different corners; there's something for everyone. I'll add more stuff when I think of it!