We asked and we received. As we were looking for suggestions for non-bowl related activities in Birmingham this weekend, we received dozens of excellent responses. Here are my best attempts to concisely distribute this information.
Plus, after we're done doing the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce's job for them, we'll fill you on our plans if you'd like to swing by and introduce yourself.
For finer dining, the Highland Bar and Grill is a pricy but tasty option. Also coming highly recommended is GianMarco's in Homewood, which is a great little upscale Italian place with a relaxed atmosphere. For seafood, there's Ocean and the Hot and Hot Fish Club, the owner of which recently defeated Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, which is cool because I like Iron Chef America and hate Bobby Flay. If you're looking for something more casual/less pricey than Ocean or Hot & Hot, go to Fish Market is good. It's a fresh seafood market/restaurant. There's also Bottega, GianMarco's, Café DuPont, Satterfield's, and Sol Y Luna, a Spanish tapas place in Lakeview near a bevy of bars.
If you're looking for breakfast or brunch, then go for the Original Pancake House in Five Points, but expect a crowd. Other good options are Another Broken Egg in Mountain Brook, Over Easy in Mountain Brook, and Silvertron Cafe on Clairmont Ave. Also, Rojo has a decent Sunday brunch
For barbecue, soul food, and other Southern victuals, Saw's Barbecue, Miss Myra's Barbecue, 26, and 5 Points Market all come highly recommended.
There are a pair of breweries in Birmingham - the Avondale Brewery and the Good People Brewery - which are supposed to be great locations to snag craft brews. Lou's Pub & Package was named one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire Magazine recently, which competes for the affections of Birmingham's cool kids against The Garage, itself being listed as one of the Top 10 Bars To Travel To In The Country by GQ Magazine. There's the 41st Street Pub and Aircraft Sales (note: they probably do not sell aircraft), at which I will likely be tonight (if not, I will tweet as much, so pay attention to @RedCupRebellion). There's also Dram, The J. Clyde, On Tap, Innisfree, and Tin Roof.
Really, just head to 5 Points or Lakeview if you can't make up your mind. You'll find good Rebels wherever you go this weekend.
Music and other entertainment:
Bottletree, Marty's, and WorkPlay were suggested to us as the music venues to visit. If anyone knows of any other places or any shows in particular worth checking out this weekend, then don't be a stranger and let us know in the comments thread.
As far as attractions go, Birmingham has several. If I had more time, I would make a point to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. There's the newly remodeled Birmingham Zoo, which comes highly recommended by my mother and sister (hi Mom). The Vulcan Park Statue and Museum, which has cool views of the city, is a Birmingham landmark, as is the Alabama Theatre. The Birmingham Museum of Art has a Norman Rockwell exhibit right now which, if it's the same one I saw in DC a year ago, is pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing.
For shopping, there's a Galleria and apparently an outlet mall or something. Just put it into your GPS so you can get all the hot deals.
And then there are a bunch of Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses in the area, if you're into the agonizing, heart-wrenching "sport" that is golf.
Shoutouts are in order for ssmund, iamblackbearhearmeroar, Bearded Ginger, the guys at College and Magnolia, and many, many others. Thanks y'all for the information. We'll see you all this weekend.
Oh, speaking of this weekend, tonight I plan to be at the 41st Street Pub and Aircraft Sales to watch the Cotton Bowl and dispose of a few brews. I'll be there from 8ish until 10 or 11ish with some friends. If that changes, I'll say as much on Twitter. We're going to then head to the hotel to sleep because we're old and because we're getting up at the crack of dawn to set up a tailgate as best as we can in the Legion Field parking lots. We'll have food and drinks (mostly drinks), and I won't stop anybody from contributing a nice fruit salad or a bottle of Rosé if they feel so inclined - but don't feel like you have to, you're welcome regardless. We can call it a Red Tent Rebellion, but the tent will be blue. We'll be there all morning leading up to the game, and maybe for an hour or so afterwards. Stay tuned to @RedCupRebellion on the Tweet Machines so we can fill you in on wherever it is that we end up.