New energetic Birmingham: Not just for young folks

Janice James Eubank
Janice James Eubank

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Janice James Eubank.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

We recently had family visiting in town. Although they are native ‘Hamians’….they most recently lived out of the country but wanted to see the “old town,” with an emphasis on seeing loft locations in Birmingham. We only had an afternoon with them, so we packed in a loaded agenda ending the night at Highland’s Bar and Grill with Goren Avery, “Gastro Concierge Extraordinaire”.

We started at Soho, then Forest Park, Avondale, Lakeview, UAB, plus a  view of the Publix under construction, and a brief stop at Carrigan’s.  God Bless Carrigan’s!!  Since day #1 they have great food and mixologist bartenders, but they are also open in the middle of the afternoon. And the trains cooperated very nicely for our visit!

Then off to Regions Field, Railroad Park, and onto Uptown… tempting as it was to sit outside Bottle and Bone with a flight of wine and beer and a charcuterie plate, we pressed on, visiting the BAA art display at Kessler Lobby and Wade Smith Gallery next to El Barrio, then past St. Paul’s and First Presbyterian Church and looped around to Collins Bar.

Ahhhhh, dark and air conditioned, and again Mixology at Collins. This is new for our family/friends. They started out with just ordering the usual cocktail and the waitperson, good girl, kept asking questions and then they started looking at the vast menu of liquors. In fact there was one type of Rum that our guest could not believe they had and he actually went with the waitress for her to show him the bottle!

Our reservations for dinner were at 8:15, but we never left Collins until time for dinner! Hummus, pot stickers, and custom made cocktails kept us going. And of course, dinner at Highland’s, topped off the whole experience.

Too bad for What’s on Second and Reed Books and even Sojourns. We had you on our radar, but now they know they can come back and see even more.

Now, the thing here is, how impressed they were with the energy in downtown Birmingham. Their impression from years ago led them to hardly believe what we promised them they would experience. They saw lofts and bicycles and art and pets and people walking around–even  benches with the Ham’s skyline on them, just sitting at corners. The famous Alabama Theatre is still going and the scaffolding around the Lyric predicts the excitement of things to come.

They even commented on the trees!!! You know, that was an eye opener for me too. We have TREES in downtown Birmingham. Many downtown areas do not! Made me feel a little prouder! They admired the beautiful old buildings like it was the first time they had seen them.

All this to say, it was a good, no-excellent feeling, to show our Downtown off and for them to see what more is coming! And to come back and get that Grit Cake one mo’ time…

Janice James Eubank is an original Birmingham girl, never left except to move to Hoover, which still counts doesn’t it? Retired from the corporate world and now painting. A member of the Birmingham Art Association and Hoover Arts Alliance. TheJaniceArt. com.

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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12, a division of Intermark Group, and co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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