Best Student Bars in Birmingham
Check out our picks for the best student bars in Birmingham!
As the UK’s second-largest student city with a total of five universities, Birmingham really knows how to let its hair down. If you’re looking for a good night out with your mates or just a cosy corner to nurse a pint or two after lectures, there’s something for everyone on our list of the best student bars in Birmingham.
Island Bar (£)
This quirky Tiki bar is popular with students thanks to its modest prices and central location right by New Street station and proximity to venues like The Glee Club, The Sunflower Lounge and the O2 Academy. Island Bar was recently named one of the UK’s top fifty bars by the Independent thanks to their friendly staff, inventive drinks and fun tropical vibe.
As you might expect, Rum is king here with over 70 different types on offer and a long list of inventive cocktails to tantalise your tastebuds. Student favourites include their take on the classic “Zombie” Tiki drink which arrives in a coconut topped with flaming rum and the “Donkey Pong” communal punch which serves up to four people and comes with a side of beer pong equipment to bring out your competitive side. It’s this combination of inspired cocktail-making and irreverent, fun feels that puts Island Bar firmly on the map as one of Manchester’s top student bars.
If you like cheap thrills order the £2.50 “Flamin’ Moe”, a legendary Island Bar concoction composed of overproof rum, orange liqueur and cotton candy which is set on fire! You can also simply tell the bar staff what you’re looking for and allow them to create a bespoke cocktail for you right in front of your eyes.
If you’re feeling inspired by the talented bartenders, sign up for one of their “Shaken and Stirred” cocktail masterclasses where you’ll learn the secrets of building cool drinks from the masters themselves. Ideal for boozy birthday celebrations or post-exam blowouts, these classes cost £25 per person and require a minimum of 6 people per booking.
Things get lively on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm to 10pm when you can take advantage of their two for £9 Happy Hour offer on selected cocktails. Stick around until late for the weekend DJ sets or try their popular Thursday night acoustic evenings when the live music pulls in a lively crowd of students and locals.
The Jekyll and Hyde (££)
If you love drinking funky cocktails but you’re living on a student budget, look no further than The Jekyll and Hyde which is just a short walk from both Birmingham City University and Aston University. As the quirky name suggests, the venue is split into two distinct areas with completely different personalities. Downstairs you’ll find Mr. Hyde’s bar set in a cosy Victorian-themed pub, while upstairs is Dr. Jekyll’s lair which offers a stylish Gin Parlour complete with over 100 gins.
Come summertime the place to be is the Alice-in-Wonderland courtyard with its quirky wall murals and smart bistro chairs. It’s the ideal spot to while away an hour or two while sampling imaginative concoctions like “Strawberry Laces”, “Kissed By Fire” and “Feline Good”. The best times to drop by are anytime on Saturday or between 7pm and 11pm from Monday to Friday when you can enjoy their two for £9 offer on their Confectionaries and Remedial Refreshments cocktails.
Those who like to get involved will enjoy the weekly Tuesday quiz night and the regular Monday board game nights. Saturday and Friday nights are dedicated to Dr. Jekyll’s Potion when you can enjoy an inspired blend of Jazz, Soul and Motown classics from some of Birmingham’s most interesting DJs while you sip on the finest cocktails in town.
For something a little different, consider signing up for their cocktail classes where you’ll join one of their gin gurus and learn how to craft your own authentic gin cocktails. Those with a sweet tooth should also check out Mr Hyde’s Afternoon Tea which is served from midday to 4pm from Monday to Saturday. This lavish tea was recently rated one of the UK’s top ten Afternoon Teas by the Independent and costs just £14.95 per person for a very generous selection of dainty sandwiches, cakes and scones.
The Ruin (£)
While the decor does pretty accurately reflect the name of this fun-loving joint, the friendly prices mean you’ll be a regular here before you know it. Set in a listed building, this curious little bar has been a local drinking den since 1891 and just reopened in 2017 as The Ruin. Aesthetically speaking, the charming rough-and-ready vibe gives a little nod to Digbeth’s industrial heritage with the distressed paintwork and wooden panelled interior and quirky use of old computers and vintage speakers dotted throughout the space.
The eccentric styling continues as you step outside into the cosy covered beer garden which sports painted murals which carry you far away from Birmingham with endless views of luscious green mountains. Students in the know head to “The Space Room”, a small covered area decorated with intergalactic murals, and yet another small yard which boasts year-round sunshine thanks to the painted sun and blue sky mural set on the back of the building.
Ideal for an early evening drink or pre-club gatherings, the atmosphere really gets going at Happy Hour which runs from 5pm to 7pm from Tuesday to Friday when you can get two pints of ale, Prahva lager or Hogans cider for just £6. Students can also take advantage of 10% off on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Check out their ample guest ale, cider and lager offerings as well as their decent range of spirits and wines.
Come the weekend, The Ruin draws in young crowds with its busy music schedule which covers everything from disco and hip hop to soul and funk tunes. As well as these weekly Saturday night DJ sets which last from 7pm to midnight, The Ruin also hosts regular open mic nights on the first Thursday of each month for anyone who fancies showing off their musical talents.
Bacchus Bar (££)
If you’re looking to impress out-of-town visitors, this eccentric underground bar is the place to do it. A strong contender for the Birmingham’s Quirkiest Bar award, Bacchus Bar is hidden away below the elegant Burlington Hotel on the oldest street in the city. Down here time passes more slowly than above ground and you’ll find quirky nods to the ancient Greek, Roman, Medieval and Georgian eras which somehow come together to create a harmonious old school vibe. Linger beneath the atmospheric stone arches, candelabras and graceful period paintings with your history-buff mates or simply soak in the atmosphere while enjoying one of their local beers.
Not your usual student retreat, but Bacchus bar is deservedly on our list of the best student bars in Birmingham. The bar’s selection of themed rooms mean that there’s literally something to suit everyone here. Cosy up in the Egyptian room with a pint, taste your way through their handsome collection of cask ales in the medieval bar or settle in for a delicious meal from their traditional British menu in the fancy French-style dining room. Dishes include Thai green curries, fish and chips, and a great selection of classic pies. Bacchus Bar also takes special pride in sourcing awesome ales from all over the UK and there’s always something new to try as the staff change their offerings each quarter according to the season. Punters are even invited to vote on which they liked the best on the Bacchus Bar website to help the staff choose the next batch of ales!
The relaxed vibe in this secret spot welcomes all-comers, so you’re likely to find plenty of locals drinking here alongside the students looking for a quiet night out with their mates. This curious watering hole has a strong roster of friendly regulars thanks to the warm staff and reasonable, student-friendly prices. Hearty main courses start from around £9.25 and you can get 25p off every pint of cask ale you order by downloading their app.
Dirty Martini (££)
Although it hasn’t been open long, Birmingham’s Dirty Martini is quickly becoming a classic on the city’s party circuit. Located on Bennetts Hill just a stone’s throw from New Street station, the central location and vibrant atmosphere draws a nice mix of students and young professionals for late night dancing and their regular fun themed nights.
Inside the vibe is sleek and elegant with an attractive brightly-coloured interior decorated with neon signs and Dirty Martini’s trademark angel wings for taking that perfect Insta selfie of you and your crew. The Grade II-listed main lounge which used to be a banking hall boasts huge windows for a light and airy daytime feel as well as cosy, darker nooks ideal for getting to know your date or hanging out with the girls over late night drinks.
As the evening wears on, the space is transformed into a buzzy dance floor with lively DJ sets and a capacity of 330 divided over two floors. For real VIP treatment, make sure to book the 20-seater balcony right next to the DJ booth which offers perfect people-watching views over the ground floor below.
The main reason Dirty Martini is fast becoming a favourite Birmingham student bar, though, is thanks to their legendary Happy Hours. From 3pm to 10pm from Monday to Thursday, 12am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday and all day on Sunday you can enjoy half-price martinis, £3.50 on bottles of beer and cider and bottles of wine for £12.50. As you might have guessed, these guys are Martini masters and the extensive menu features unusual twists on the classic like the “Kiwi and Coconut martini” and the “Blood Orange and Vanilla Martini”. They also have a great selection of spirits, wine and beers as well as Asian-inspired bar snacks if cocktails aren’t really your thing.
It’s no secret that Australians know how to have a good time. Bringing a little slice of Oz to Birmingham, the chilled out Walkabout bar on Broad Street right by the canal offers relaxed surfer vibes, awesome drinks prices and a fun bamboo decor.
Favourite nights for Birmingham’s budget-conscious students are their weekly Monday Madness with £2 drinks available from 9pm to 3am and Twosday Tuesdays when drinks are also £2 from 8pm and there are DJs on hand to play your favourite tunes all night. Their amazing £2 drinks offer also runs until 9pm from Monday to Friday and includes medium glasses of house wine, Corona beers and a pint of Strongbow or Fosters.
As if that wasn’t enough, students can get their hands on a “Mates Rates” discount card for just £3 which gives you access to an awesome range of deals including 20% off all food, two-for-one on Woo Woo cocktails and cheap shots and beers. If you’re feeling peckish, you can also drop in at lunchtime for their generous £6 deal which includes a main course sandwich or burger and a drink. Or bring your mates on Wednesdays to take advantage of their 50 chicken wings for £16 offer which is available all day until 10pm.
With two of Birmingham’s largest HD screens and a plethora of smaller screens spread throughout the venue, Walkabout is a great place to catch the big match thanks to the lively atmosphere and great beers on offer. To make sure you don’t miss any of the action you can even book a private booth with table service. Budding musical talents will also love their weekly Thursday night karaoke sessions which are free to enter. Best of all, for every song you sing you’ll be rewarded with a free drink!
There we go! That rounds up our picks of the best student bars in Birmingham. We hope you’ve enjoyed your read, check out some of our other posts to explore the nations favourite student bars in other cities.