Let’s just get it out there now: Birmingham is the best city in the UK. Britain’s second city? Who are they second to? No, give me a bit of Brummie any day, the city with the best food, live music, and arts in the country, with a strong independent culture to boot. And if you don’t believe me, then take a look at these six reasons why Birmingham is the best city in the world.
You can eat food from all over the world
In some cities of the UK you’ll be lucky to eat anything other than Italian and Indian should you venture into town for a meal. But Birmingham is a city of multiculturalism and so delivers superb food from across the world on every street corner. Head to the posh Mailbox and feast on some delicious European dishes at Harvey Nichols Restaurant Bar, before heading to the city centre and dining on American bites washed down with bourbon at Buffalo and Rye. But even if you do want Indian and Italian, you have everything from Varanasi (run by a Michelin-starred chef) to the easy dining at Portofino.
The art scene is blowing up
Every month it seems like more and more artistic talent is magnetised towards Birmingham, and there’s a reason for that. Some of the best comedians from across the world head to places like The Glee Club to perform, whereas the up-and-coming crowd has a time to shine at the nights from Rose Villa Tavern and Island Bar. But it’s not all laughter as Brum’s strong in all the arts, hence why there's venues like the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre hosting, not just comedy and live music, but tonnes of alternate art plays too. You don’t get that kind of diversity of art pretty much anywhere else.
Birmingham is an independent city
One of the advantages Brum has over bigger cities like London is that truly unique, independent places are literally everywhere. Not having to be a worldwide chain just to afford the eye-watering rent is where real personality gets to flourish, and why we can have places like the Jekyll and Hyde, a quirky little pub that has an amazing Alice in Wonderland mural as well as an actual Victorian Gin Parlour upstairs. Or even moody speakeasy Bourne and Co., which delivers on whiskey and healthy drinks behind the bar. There was even a sell-out festival celebrating the culture run by Independent Birmingham - that's how much the city loves it. And being independent also leads to…
Some of the most diverse street food stalls in the country
It’s not just venues, Birmingham has taken the street food trend and made it an essential part of its character. Head down to Digbeth Dining Club every Friday and you’ll see so many delicious food traders you'll have to be rolled out of Spotlight by the end, like the Bournville Waffle Company, Fancy Fries, The Jabberwocky, The Meat Chef and the list goes on. As much as I love stuffing my face with waffles and kebabs, having food stalls is an incredibly important part of having a healthy nightlife industry, as food stalls turn into some of the best restaurants in town (which is how the Original Patty Men began before dominating Digbeth).
Live music is King in Birmingham
Live music is truly what makes Birmingham great: not only is there a scene to rival London and Manchester, the intimate venues make some of the best gigs around. Whether you’re after some retro, Northern Soul at The Night Owl or heading to the legendary Hare and Hounds – who have one of the most eclectic setlists you'll find, where one night you're listening to Motown and the next Heavy Metal – it’s impossible not to be enamoured by the music scene. There's even a never-ending supply of warehouse raves if you prefer the decks to the mics.
And it's pretty cute, too
Okay, that's great, but the truth is we’re all a little shallow deep down and looks are important when searching for your favourite city. But while the centre gets a bit of a bad rap, the city has 571 parks, creating 3500 hectares of beautiful open space, as well as gorgeous canals lined with interesting places to visit - British countryside, eat your heart out. If Birmingham was a city, I’d ask them out in a second.