As is the case with the larger cities in England, nightlife is a priority in Birmingham. Home to plenty of high-level pubs, clubs, and live music, you'll find that with a little bit of a heads-up on where to go you'll have the leg up.
A large number of quality establishments can be found near city center, particularly around St. Paul's Square, where high-brow options for inebriation flourish. The Rectory Bar and Restaurant and The Queens Arms are great for a sit-down beer in a classy atmosphere, while The Jam House is your best option in the city for jazz. Also near city center are clubs like Subway City and renowned pubs like The Wellington.
If clubbing is your thing, you'll find the highest concentration in Digbeth just south of downtown. Institutions like the multi-venue Custard Factory are musts if you like a crowd and great dance music; then again, theme nights are put on by a bunch of clubs in this area, making it the place to look good and get down. Other popular places in this vein include Air and Sanctuary. Then again, Digbeth is also your best option in Birmingham for traditional Irish pubs like Anchor and Woodman, both of which are housed in grade II listed buildings.
For anyone whose number one priority is drinking when they are out on the town, then Broad Street is the answer to any questions that may be had. Birmingham's “party street” is home to some excellent clubs (Gatecrashers Birmingham, The Works, etc.), but the precedent here is having a place to drink while also dressing well. Vodka bars like Revolution and comedy clubs like Highlight share the street with more traditional bars like The Old Joint and Stock and The Figure of Eight. All in all, there are about 40 nightlife establishments in the neighborhood, which is probably why it gets so packed on the weekends and a fight or two invariably breaks out.
For the best in live music, check out Ballroom Birmingham in Dale End or O2 Birmingham on Stockwell Road. For a taste of a more relaxed atmosphere, there is a smaller nightlife concentration right in the middle of Chinatown at The Arcadian. Think a smaller, but no less chill version of Broad Street with a lot of great Asian food nearby. Sobar, Glee Club, Poppy Red, and a bunch more can be found here, making it great if you're looking for compact options. Also of interest are the pubs of Harborne, the gay-friendly vibes of Hurst Street, and the cosmopolitan leanings of The Mailbox (near city center).
For more information on particular nightlife establishments, take a look through our pages or pose a question to the embark community.