Birmingham’s Queen’s Park owner is the first woman to win U.S. bartender of the year title

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Queen’s Park, a cocktail bar in downtown  Birmingham. Left to right, bartender Allie Phifer and Queen’s Park owner and winner of the U.S. Bartender Guild World Class competition, Laura Newman. Photo by Pat Byington, for Bham Now

Did you know Birmingham has one of the world’s best bartenders in its midst.

Earlier this year, Queen’s Park owner Laura Newman, won the United States Bartender Guild (USBG) World Class competition, becoming the first female bartender to win the honor in the U.S.

Screenshot from the USBG World Class winners. From the USBG website

“The USBG World Class sponsored Diageo  is like the Olympics of bartending,” said Laura Newman, a Brooklyn native who recently moved to Birmingham, opening the Queen’s Park cocktail bar this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Competition

Here is how Newman described the competition.

“It is the pre-eminent bartending competition in the world,  not just in the U.S.  Really intense. It’s not like, “this is my cocktail, let me talk about it” kind of competition. Instead, they test you in several different ways like speed rounds, a random round and all these different layers of challenges.”

Newman won the U.S. national title in June and last month, she took home  global honors (she won the Cocktail Clash- 2018) in Berlin, Germany.


Screenshot of Laura Newman on the right receiving the Cocktail Clash honor at the World Class in Berlin.

Opening Queen’s Park

Want to know where the world’s best bartender applies her craft?

This past Thanksgiving weekend, Newman and co-owner Larry”Mudd” Townley opened Queen’s Park, a cocktail bar in downtown Birmingham on 24th Street North between 1st and 2nd Avenue.

Miracle on 24th Street

Inside Queen’s Park with Miracle on 24th Street decorations. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

To mark it’s opening Queen’s Park will be the first bar in the state of Alabama to do the nationwide annual Miracle pop-up event.

Started the day after Thanksgiving and lasting until New Year’s Eve, Queen’s Park has transformed the bar into a holiday-themed wonderland (including a Santa). They will also be featuring  holiday specialty cocktails.

“This is a six week engagement called Miracle on 24th Street and it’s basically a pop up bar which means that we’re becoming a different bar for a limited run,” stated Newman.

After Miracle on 24th, in early January, Queen’s Park will hold a grand re-opening with new menus and new decor.

Excited to be in Birmingham

Judged by the crowds this weekend and happy customers, Birmingham is thankful to have Newman and Queen’s Park.

“We’re just so excited to be doing this. You know, I originally didn’t plan on opening a bar in Birmingham, but I loved it so much that I decided to open here, Newman told Bham Now.


  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.