This past year was nothing if not a time for change. Among other things, we said goodbye to these 15 local spots that closed in 2020. Some broke our hearts. Some are reincarnating in a new form. Keep reading for all the details.
1. January: Charlemagne Record Exchange
For 42 years, Charlemagne Record Exchange was *the* place to go in Birmingham for used records. Yes, that was a thing.
Greats like Carlos Santana came in, along with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Tom Waits (not all at the same time). Plus a lot of music-lovin’ people from Birmingham and beyond.
2. January: Hot Diggity Dogs
From 2016 to early 2020, visitors to Hot Diggity Dogs were able to get the most creative hot dogs and ice cold beer. We were so sad to see them go, even before the pandemic had arrived on our shores.
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3. March: Babalu
Babalu was one of two Birmingham spots that closed this year that had managed to come back after a fire. Fans still had a chance to enjoy taco Tuesdays and more before they closed for good in March.
4. March: Brio Tuscan Grille
If you ever needed a classy place for a Mother’s Day brunch, celebratory work lunch, a gathering of girlfriends, or just a night out, Brio somehow managed to fit the bill.
5. March: Mile End Deli
Mile End Deli enjoyed a brief stint here in Birmingham. The long-awaited Jewish deli opened in early 2019 right beside Railroad Park, only to close just over a year later. I’m glad I had the chance to have one of their Reubens first, though.
6. April: Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
7. May: Lucy’s Coffee & Tea was one of the local spots that closed in 2020
Believe it or not I actually remember when Lucy’s owner Lucy Bonds started off with a coffee cart decades ago, before coffee shops became a ubiquitous part of the American landscape. Over the years, everybody loved Lucy’s, and this one really did break our hearts to see it go.
8. May: Z’s Restaurant
Z’s Restaurant had been in business on 17th Street downtown since 2008. Their bean pies even got them a visit from Andrew Zimmern and an appearance on Bizarre Foods America. Like so many other restaurants who struggled under the weight of COVID restrictions, they closed their doors in May.
9. June: Urban Standard
For 13 years, Urban Standard was a great place to meet up for a coffee or a meal. They even had a fire in 2017 and came back stronger than ever. Sadly, on June 17, they became another COVID casualty.
10. July: Brennan’s Irish Pub
In March it was named best Irish pub in Alabama by Delish.com. By July 25, COVID had caused the beloved hangout spot to close.
11. August: Woodlawn Cycle Cafe
While Woodlawn Cycle Cafe closed its doors in early August, we were happy to hear that the previous owners were cooking up something completely different for West Homewood. Buka, a neighborhood wine shop and market, should be coming to West Homewood soon.
12. September: Zoe’s Vintage in Forest Park was one of the local spots that closed in 2020
For years, Zoe’s lured us in with Hortense, the zany mannequin outside, and all kinds of treasures to explore inside. But Zoe’s season drew to a close on September 10, 2020, and that corner of Forest Park will never be the same.
13. November: brick & tin downtown
This one’s bittersweet. We loved eating at brick & tin downtown, back when we worked at Forge. Thankfully, this one’s more of a…dare we say it…pivot than a shutdown. We can’t wait to try out bowl. the new concept from the same folks.
14-15. December: Fancy’s on Fifth + Sneaky Pete’s in Mountain Brook
I don’t remember a time when that Sneaky Pete’s wasn’t in Mountain Brook. But sadly, all good things must come to an end. Also, we hate to see Fancy’s on Fifth go, even though they did leave the door to the possibility of coming back.