Condé Nast Traveler declares ‘Birmingham has arrived’

Birmingham Alabama
View of Railroad Park from on top of the Elyton Hotel by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Condé Nast Traveler, one of the nation’s most respected travel magazine and digital publications declared “Birmingham has arrived” in their recent  January 21 article,  The Reinvention of Birmingham, Alabama.

The announcement

Here is the declaration in the Condé Nast story:

“We aren’t looking at Alabama’s biggest city through rose-colored glasses. Birmingham has arrived. Again. It’s a destination—for historic architecture, old theaters, James Beard award-winning Southern food. And yet, just under a decade ago, it wouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as other thriving food-and-culture centers of the South: Nashville, New Orleans, Charleston, Atlanta.”

The story

Screen Shot 2018 10 16 at 5.42.34 AM Condé Nast Traveler declares 'Birmingham has arrived'
Lyric Theatre after re-development. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Landmarks

New York City based Condé Nast Traveler, with a circulation over 800,000, interviewed local Magic City mavens, Glenny Brock, Tom Cosby and David Silverstein for the article.  All three, described in great detail  Birmingham’s history, struggles and  architectural renaissance –  the stories behind Railroad Park, The Lyric Theatre, the reopening of the Carver Theatre and the Pizitz Building.

Food Scene

highlands bar grill Condé Nast Traveler declares 'Birmingham has arrived'
Highlands Bar and Grill. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The feature also recognized Birmingham’s food scene, ranging from the “originals” Nikki’s West and John’s Diner to Frank Stitt’s trio of award winning restaurants Highlands Bar & Grill (winner of James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant) , Bottega, Chez Fonfon.

Conde´ Nast then, in their words, “name checked”  Birmingham’s long list of James Beard nominees, Chris Hastings of the Hot and Hot Fish Club and Ovenbird, Nick Pihakis’s  Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Timothy Hontzas’s  Johnny’s and James Lewis at Bettola.

Birmingham, OvenBird, New Years Eve
OvenBird in Birmingham’s Pepper Place Neighborhood. Photo via OvenBird

The article did forget one very important name on the list, James Beard winner, Birmingham’s beloved Dolester Miles, who won the 2018 Outstanding pastry chef honor.

Dolester Miles via InStyle. Condé Nast Traveler declares 'Birmingham has arrived'
Highlands Bar and Grill Pastry Chef, Dolester Miles, via InStyle.

They also forgot Atomic Lounge, which was a James Beard nominee in 2018.

Atomic Lounge Birmingham
Atomic Lounge Rachael Roberts and Feizal Valli

I guess that proves Condé Nast’s point. Birmingham is blessed with so many  culinary artisans, you are bound to miss some one on a list.

Condé Nast Traveler “cheat sheet”

Along with stories and interviews, Condé Nast Traveler provides its readers with a tour of the Magic City, a “cheat sheet” for visitors.

Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust

Making that list?

Vulcan Trail, Civil Rights Trail,  Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Good People Brewing, Back Forty, Urban Standard, The Elyton Hotel, Grand Bohemian, The Essential, The Rougaroux, Queens Park, Garage, Busy Corner Cheese and Provisions and Pepper Place.

Good People Birmingham Alabama
Good People Brewing’s taproom. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

A keepsake

The Reinvention of Birmingham, Alabama by Condé Nast Traveler is one of those articles you bookmark and share with friends and family.  It’s a keepsake.

And for folks who love and know Birmingham , we know the Condé Nast story just hits the highlights. We could triple the number of restaurants and special places on their cheat list. Bottomline…

“Birmingham has arrived.”

Continuing to make news

IMG 6638 Condé Nast Traveler declares 'Birmingham has arrived'
View of City of Birmingham from from The Club. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Since 2017, Bham Now has compiled a growing list of national articles about the foodie revolution to the revitalization of downtown Birmingham.

Check out the list.

Trip Advisor – Birmingham named ‘up and coming foodie city’
Inc. – Birmingham ranks 37 on Inc. 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business
Wine Enthusiasts – National publication Wine Enthusiast features Birmingham’s “top tier” drinking and dining hot spots
Nylon Magazine – Birmingham sparks attention
Vogue Magazine’s  “the South’s Magic City”
Outside Magazine”s 25 Best Towns of 2017 edition.
The New York Times –“Birmingham is ready to surprise you.”
Washington Post – “best vacation destinations you’ve never considered” series.
CNN – “15 charming cities in the American South you may have overlooked.”


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

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.

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