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Once Birmingham’s industrial quarter, Digbeth’s factory buildings have been transformed in recent years. Today, the area is a hub of culture and creative enterprise with galleries, nightclubs, pubs and restaurants waiting to be discovered. No trip to Birmingham would be complete without exploring Digbeth; we list 10 must-dos while you’re here.
Digbeth has made a name for itself in Birmingham for its eclectic and alternative nightlife. The Rainbow is a set of venues, many of them converted from warehouses, that vary from nightclubs and music halls to pubs and lounges. The first floor serves primarily as a pub, and there is live rock music in the basement.
The Rainbow, 160 Digbeth, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 753 1818
The first Friday of each month is a special time in Digbeth; this event began as a way to revitalize one of Birmingham’s oldest inner city districts and to take advantage of the expanse of vacant factory space. As such, on these Fridays you will find a lively mix of street food, late-night gallery exhibitions, festivals, cultural events and much more.
Located in the heart of Digbeth, The Old Crown is Birmingham’s oldest pub. First opened in 1368, The Old Crown, with its black and white timber frame, is located on a street corner, making it pretty hard to miss. The interior is charming and historic with exposed wooden beams lining the ceiling, and a good selections of draught ales.
The Old Crown, 188 High Street, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 248 1368
The Warehouse Café is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a homely interior. The dining area is filled with mismatched antique wooden tables and chairs. The daily menu is posted on a large chalkboard and serves a variety of hearty dishes at very reasonable prices.
Warehouse Café, 54-57 Allison St, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 633 0261
Located within The Custard Factory creative complex, Fazeley Studios is an event space and collaborative workplace housed in a restored 19th-century factory building and the former Unitarian Chapel. The reception hall is decorated with Victorian furnishings to reflect the period design of the buildings themselves. Meanwhile, the offices are spacious and full of industrial chic.
Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley St, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 224 8484
Digbeth has deep Irish cultural roots that date back to its foundation. In fact, Digbeth is often known as Birmingham’s Irish Quarter. There are plenty of ways to get a flavour of this side of the district. Don’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Parade here if you’re in Birmingham during March; the parade often attracts crowds reaching up to 100,000. Digbeth’s Irish Centre is also a great venue and gathering space complete with a sports bar that hosts comedy shows and live music.
The Irish Centre, 14-20 High Street, Deritend (Digbeth), Birmingham, UK, +44 121 622 2314
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Also known as the Digbeth Institute, The O2 Institute was originally a Methodist chapel, and later one of Birmingham’s civic halls. Since the early 1990s, however, it has served as an edgy event venue, which played an important role in England’s electronic music and rave scene. AIR too played its part in this scene and is often called Digbeth’s super club. Today, AIR also holds outdoor raves, with top DJs and dance artists known to perform here.
The O2 Institute, 78 Digbeth, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 643 0428
AIR, 49 Heath Mill Ln, Birmingham, UK, +44 121 772 3424