8 reasons we love Birmingham’s Southside community, including Rojo’s birthday party


Rojo Birmingham in Southside is about to celebrate its 17th birthday.
Rojo Birmingham celebrating its 11th birthday. June 15 it turns 17! Photo from Rojo Birmingham’s Facebook page

It’s fair to say that most folks who’ve spent any time in Birmingham have probably spent some time in Southside. Whether it’s restaurants and bars you’re after, religious institutions brimming with history or sports or parks you’re looking for, Birmingham’s Southside community has all this and more.

1. Where is Birmingham’s Southside community?

Technically, the Southside community includes three of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods:

  • Five Points South: according to www.fivepointsbham.com, this neighborhood is “Birmingham’s Premier Neighborhood & Culinary Destination!” It’s “about 5 minutes from downtown. This National Register of Historic Places neighborhood is one of Birmingham’s first street car lined suburbs and was founded as the Town of Highland in 1887. Today with over 40 culinary destinations and 30 retailers, the area has been labeled ‘a town within a city’ and a true ‘walkup neighborhood.'”
  • Glen Iris: another historic neighborhood that’s home to both Glen Iris Park and George Ward Park.
  • Southside: this ‘hood includes Vulcan Park and Museum, UAB, UAB Highlands, Regions Field and Railroad Park.

2. Why do people live in the Southside community? What’s special about it?

The Golden Temple is home to Birmingham's longest-standing vegetarian restaurant.
Can’t you just smell the cumin and patchouli? Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Bham Now’s own Hannah Chambley lives near Dreamland BBQ and had this to say about her area:

“The best part for me is the location. I live in walking distance to so many cool restaurants and bars/pubs. Three of Bham’s best restaurants are within about 100 ft of each other (Chez Fonfon, Highlands Bar and Grill, and Ocean).

Ooooh and Golden Temple is amazing! It’s a great all natural grocery with cafe attached.

Getting downtown takes 5-10 minutes at any given time which is amazing. I love avoiding traffic at all costs.

What about Glen Iris?

The Essential on Morris Ave is a short ride from Birmingham's Southside community.
The Essential on Morris Avenue. Photo by Kristen Farmer Hall

Mindy Rohr, Experience Manager at the Pizitz Food Hall, loves living in Glen Iris:

Glen Iris is such a unique community of people—with college students, graduate/doctoral students, young professionals, families… it’s a hot area right now and I think the unique blend of people, along with some of the beautiful historic homes is a bit of what makes it such an attractive area.

We wanted to be as close to downtown as possible, but still wanted the perks of neighborhood living. Glen Iris has just that. We can hop on our bikes on the weekends and pedal to Good People, The Pizitz, or Essential.

We also wanted a historic home, full of character. You can’t find that in newer neighborhoods. Our 1920’s bungalow is just that. Not too big, not too small, a great floor plan, lots of big windows and natural light… and the biggest plus, it’s been in the same family until we bought it. We have the perfect mix of downtown living with the neighborhood vibes.

A view of Vulcan through the trees from a nearby home in Birmingham's Southside community.
A view of Vulcan through the trees from a home nearby. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

3. Where do locals go to eat or hang out?


Personally I love Surin West and Ikko for food, J. Clyde and The Plaza (it’s hidden—definitely a dive bar but fun to play pool). Also, I love to hang at Filter Coffee and Woolworth!

Hannah Chambley

Don’t forget the Birmingham Festival Theatre. A great place to go check out a play in the neighborhood!

Giuseppe's in Glen Iris is one of the hidden treasures of Birmingham's Southside community.
Giuseppe’s is a little hidden gem in Glen Iris. Photo from Facebook

We love Giuseppe’s Café, a little Italian place, that we had no clue existed until we moved into the neighborhood. You’ll also find locals at The Gable Square Saloon, a little dive bar next to Giuseppe’s. We also love to grab food from the new Saw’s Southside…that pork n’ greens is something to talk about!

Mindy Rohr

4. Any homes for sale in the Southside community?

This could be your living room, overlooking Birmingham's skyline.
This lovely Southside living room has a view of Birmingham’s skyline. Click the picture to find out more. Photo from Brik Realty

This 4 bedroom / 2 bath home at 441 22nd Avenue South literally has a picture window overlooking Birmingham’s skyline. Click to see the full listing, complete with all the lovely pictures. Price: $300,000.

Check out this sweet house in Birmingham's Southside Community.
1916 14th Avenue South. Photo from Brik Realty

This one has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 2 half baths. You’ll find it at 1916 14th Avenue South, listed at $449,999. Click for all the details, including a storm shelter.

5. What is one thing everyone who visits Birmingham’s Southside community has to see?

The Storyteller Fountain is right at Five Points South.
The Storyteller, looking toward Five Points South. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Hannah says the Storyteller fountain. I say Railroad Park and Vulcan. And here’s what Minday has to say:

Being in Glen Iris we’re 2 seconds from 5 Points South. We usually take our out of town guests to Woolworth if we want to stay in the area. It’s perfect to hang out at a hip spot in Bham that’s still in our neighborhood…yet perfect for our friends or family that bring little ones with them.

Adamson Ford is one of the sponsors of the Neighborhood Series.
If you want to check out Birmingham’s Southside neighborhood, why not do it in a truck from Adamson Ford? Click the picture to head over to their website.

6. Are there any events coming up?

Birmingham Water Lantern Festival will take place at Railroad Park.
Birmingham Water Lantern Festival. Photo from Birmingham Water Lantern Facebook page

In such a vibrant part of town, there’s always something happening. Here are just a few events coming up:

Do Dah Dog in Birmingham's Southside neighborhood.
Do Dah Dog. Photo from www.vintprint.com

And here are some ongoing events:

Also, Birmingham’s Southside community is home to a bunch of Birmingham’s sporting events, including The Birmingham Barons, and Birmingham Legion Football Club.

7. What’s the best Instagram spot in Birmingham’s Southside community?

In this part of town you can take your pick—from a location shot near Vulcan or the Storyteller fountain to “the Woolworth patio with its cool green living backdrop” (Mindy’s favorite) to The Golden Temple’s nooks and crannies (Hannah’s pick).

8. Where can I read about Birmingham’s other neighborhoods?

This is the ninth in a 23-part series on the communities that include Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods. To date, we’ve featured these communities:

There’s so much more to see and do in Birmingham’s Southside community than we could have ever covered. So now, we want to hear from you, Birmingham.

What are your favorite spots in Southside, 5 Points South and Glen Iris?

Sponsored by:

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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