Countless gems dot the 36-blocks of Lakeview’s vibrant arts and entertainment districts. They come in the form of restaurants, shops and arts venues that may not be so obvious to find. Next time you’re wondering what to do on a Friday night, consider stopping by one of these hole-in-the-wall Lakeview spots.


1. Lou’s Pub & Package Store

If you long for the days when you could walk in a bar, have a meaningful conversation with the bartender and make a friend or two, then Lou’s Pub and Package Store is the place for you. Located just a few steps away from some of the more crowded bars in Lakeview’s Entertainment District, Lou’s offers a quiet respite stocked with a long list of craft cocktails. Ranked one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine, this established watering hole shouldn’t be missed.
Location: 726 29th St S

2. Bogue’s Restaurant

Since first opening in 1938, Bogue’s has been serving up some of the best soul food in the Magic City. The orange vinyl booths and southern hospitality are a given at this Clairmont Avenue restaurant. Just make sure to come hungry, because a meal at Bogue’s is hardy.

Location: 3028 Clairmont Ave

3. Lolo French Antiques

Take one step in this eclectic antique shop and you’ll forget you’re in Birmingham. Surrounded by treasure troves of unique finds, a French riviera might feel more fitting. Located a stone’s throw away from Pepper Place, Lolo’s is a little paradise waiting to be found. While there, make sure to ask the store’s owner, Laurent Gouon, about his days sailing the Caribbean and working as a premier chef in Miami.

Location: 3101 3rd Ave S

4. Cashio’s Meatball Market

Ever built your own meatball? They’re all about it at Cashio’s Meatball Market. A self-proclaimed saucy southern bell, Mary Susan Cashio started the meatball market after returning home to Birmingham from New York City. Despite growing up in the South, Mary Susan’s Italian roots run deep — and her cooking shows. Stop by this tucked-away gem for some authentic Italian cuisine. (Also, make sure to check out the unique murals in the bathroom.)
Location: 728 29th St S

5. Old Car Heaven

You might have passed Old Car Heaven on First Avenue South once and thought it was just an abandoned space collecting dust. You were wrong. This 46,000-square-foot entertainment space comes to life multiple times a year for weddings, corporate events and a long list of other occasions. If you’re looking for a venue that’s off the beaten path, this is the place to book.

Location: 3501 1st Ave S

6. Terrific New Theatre

Ditch the typical movie theater and opt for something local, like Terrific New Theatre. Often showcasing local talent, Terrific New Theatre proves community theater is alive and well. A trip to the charming theater will give you an entirely new appreciation for the arts scene in the Magic City.

Location: 2821 2nd Ave S

7. Billie’s Tavern

If you’re not looking closely, you could easily drive by this unique Birmingham bar. With pool tables lining the interior, a steady stream of “regulars” and an ample amount of cold beer, Billie’s is the quintessential dive bar. It’s the perfect spot to end the night.

Location: 2821 6th Ave S