One of the newest additions to Birmingham’s bar scene is the clandestine Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar. The bar is located in the cellar of one of the oldest buildings in downtown Birmingham at 2015 1st Ave North.
The Dynamic Duo
Together Joe and Meg Phelps run the bar. Having been in the industry for fifteen years, Joe mentioned that bar owning was always a dream of his. It happened faster than he thought it would.
Candles drip from the walls of the cave-like room and illustrations of calacas, a colloquial Spanish term for skeletons, line the walls, which supports the agave and tequila focused drinks. With a minimalist style, the bar has open seating. Due to a small occupant capacity, there is typically a line of people waiting outside the bar, but the line moves quickly and the wait is by far worth it. Although the strict rule supports a more intimate atmosphere.
Joe and Meg moved away from Birmingham, but Joe kept his eyes on real estate in town, waiting for the perfect spot. The location in between Morris and 1st Avenue, became available and having always enjoyed basement bars, Joe remarked that everything just worked.
“Birmingham is a great city. We always dreamed of coming back home.”
The Phelps said that the positive response to the bar has “exceeded their expectations.”
Behind the name
“Pilcrow” is a typographical term for a new paragraph in print. It honors the history of the building, the original Caldwell Printing Works that was founded in 1881. Joe Phelps shared, that the cellar has only ever been a storage room. So the idea of naming it after the symbol of a new paragraph fits with the new beginnings of the cellar and the revitalization of Morris Avenue as a whole.
On Thursday evening (Sept. 6), Morris Avenue is putting on a Merchants on Morris Open House. Additionally, the Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar will be hosting Taylor Hollingsworth from 5:30 to 8:30 during the event. Pilcrow will also be opening early this weekend for the Artwalk. So stop by and have a refreshing margarita to stave off the heat.
In Joe Phelp’s words: “Come down and get lost. We’ll take care of you,” and he’s not wrong. The staff is kind and Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar has a unique vibe that is sure to surprise.
Average Price: $8-$11 (menu)
2015 1st Ave N #1e, Birmingham, AL 35203
(Door located in the alley behind the Essential.)
Sun + Mon (closed)
Fri + Sat: 5pm-2am (They will be opening at 2pm for the art walk.)