12 top stories of 2021 that Bham Now readers loved the most this year

The Kelly Hotel, top stories of 2021
The new Kelly Hotel in Birmingham. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

New Year’s Eve is getting closer, so we thought it was time to look back on a dozen of Bham Now’s top stories of 2021. Drum roll, please …

12. An inside look at The Kelly, a brand new hotel in downtown Birmingham [Photos] was one of Bham Now’s top stories of 2021

The Kelly Hotel, top stories of 2021
The new Kelly Hotel in Birmingham. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

We’d been trying to get a sneak peek at The Kelly Hotel for ages. Although pandemic-related delays kept us on the edge of our seats for much longer than originally anticipated, in the end, it was worth it. Seems like y’all thought so, too, since this was our 12th most-read story of 2021. 

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to just so you can see Nathan Watson’s fabulous photos.        

11. 4 things at the new Buc-ee’s in Leeds that are not gas pumps or jerky

Buc-ee's, top stories of 2021
Buc-ee’s plush animals at Leeds. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

There’s nothing like a pandemic to make a giant gas station convenience store that offers everything under the sun seem like the *most exciting thing ever.* 

Seriously, though, Buc-ee’s has a cult following, and everybody who hasn’t yet been to one checked out this piece to find out what all the hype was all about.    

10. 8 Birmingham restaurants that are open on Christmas day was another of our top stories of 2021

Miracle on 24th Street drinks, top stories of 2021
The cups are almost as fun as the drinks. Photo via Queen’s Park’s Facebook

For some people, the holidays are a time to gather with family or friends and enjoy recipes handed down for generations. For others, they’re the perfect time to make reservations. 

Looks like after all that early pandemic bread-baking, lots of people were wanting a place to go this Christmas where somebody else would take care of the meal—and the dishes.

9. A sneak peek at the new EDEN Lounge in Birmingham [Photos] 

EDEN Lounge, top stories of 2021
Why limit happy to an hour? Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

After saying goodbye to The Atomic in October, lots of y’all were excited to her about the new EDEN Lounge—we were, too. 

I personally love the idea of a garden-themed bar featuring Afrobeats and Kenyan cuisine. Who doesn’t need an escape—minus airport delays—right about now?  

8. Where to see fireworks in the Birmingham area for 4th of July

Birmingham, Vulcan Park and Museum, fireworks, Thunder on the Mountain
What a show! Photo via Vulcan Park and Museum

Because everybody needs to know where to catch—or avoid—the fireworks displays on and around July 4.

7. Brasfield & Gorrie kicks off construction of City Walk BHAM; to be complete in 425 days was one of the top stories of 2021

City Walk BHAM
A rendering of a pavillion at City Walk BHAM. Rendering via City Walk BHAM

Back in July, construction on City Walk BHAM started, with a goal of completion before The World Games. We can’t wait to see it when it’s done. 

6. Former Auburn & NFL football player opens Cassanova Bar & Lounge  

Cassanova Mckinzy
Life is better in Birmingham thanks to businesses like this. Photo via Cecilia Wood for Bham Now

Fireworks weren’t the only thing on readers’ minds in July 2021. When Cassanova Mckinzy  opened Cassanova Bar & Lounge, there was much rejoicing.

5. Closing time—Birmingham loses 3 cherished restaurants all within one week

Early December was a time for saying goodbye to longtime favorite restaurants, and this turned out to be one of our top stories of 2021: 

  • Magnolia Cafe in Altadena Square closed, 25 years to the day from when it first opened.
  • Kemp’s Kitchen in Trussville burned + moved operations to Gardendale until they can rebuild.
  • The sun set on Tip Top Grill in Bluff Park for the final time. 

4. Drive this way to holiday lights around Birmingham     

Trussville, Christmas lights
Toy Shop on Magnolia. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

Holiday lights are the December equivalent of fireworks, and after nearly two years of #pandemiclife, who wasn’t ready to get out and see some lights in the darkness. 

3. Most of Brookwood Village acquired for $21M, ready for rebirth

Brookwood Village opened in 1975. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Everybody of a certain age remembers birthday parties at Farrell’s, or their favorite clothing or other shops from this iconic Over the Mountain mall. So when news that the mall that had seen better days might have new life in it yet, everybody wanted to know the details. 

2. Dinner + brunch with a view: 6 local restaurants with rooftops

Carrigan's rooftop
Photo via Carrigan’s Public House’s Facebook

March 2021 marked one year since any of us ever heard of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, flattening the curve, stay-at-home, or all the other things that have become such a part of our day-to-day life. 

At that point, a lot of us were feeling cooped up, and the idea of being able to eat outside—and on a rooftop, no less!—struck a chord, for our second most-read story of 2021.

1. PHOTOS: Bruce Willis is filming a new movie in Bessemer     

Bruce Willis movie set in Bessemer
Any die-hard Bruce Willis fans around? Photo via Claire Hancock for Bham Now

Love him or hate him, everybody was pretty interested to hear Bruce Willis was in the area working on Soul Assassin, a new movie set in Bessemer. 

Rumor has it the crew is still in town, filming in Greystone and an office building on 280, but we’ll have to wait ‘till the movie comes out to play spot the local places. 

Now tell us, Birmingham, which were your favorite stories of 2021? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know. 

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

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

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