The Indiependent’s Freshers Nightlife Guide
Birmingham’s nightlife is pretty varied so I’ve broken it down based on area, although Snobs doesn’t really fit into any of them so let’s start with that:
Snobs: After Gatecrasher spluttered and died last year, Snobs took its place as Birmingham’s most famous nightclub. It bills itself as an indie club but really its playlist is much broader than that, although you are guaranteed to hear ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac and probably ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ as well. Its first floor is more for modern tracks, think Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, maybe Kanye etc., whereas the second features more 70s and 80s tracks, think David Bowie, Dexys etc. There is a secret 3rd floor that plays grime but it’s rarely open so count yourself lucky if you manage to catch it. It’s a pretty reliable 7/10 night out, imo.
Broad Street – As a fresher, you’re going to end up somewhere on Broad Street. It’s where all the biggest clubs in Birmingham are. They’re generally the kind of club where you might get an appearance from a Geordie Shore cast member or a guest DJ set from Dapper Laughs, there is a reason there is a #cheeky Nando’s on this street.
Players: This is every stereotypical small town shite club, but bigger. They will play ‘Sorry’, they will play ‘One Dance’ and, if you’re lucky, they will play ‘Mr. Brightside’ at the end of the night. Watch out for creepy dudes, though.
PRYZM: This used to be Gatecrasher and I haven’t been since it reopened but I know it’s huge. Like proper fuck off huge. The walk to the smoking area when you’re drunk is like climbing Everest. As Gatecrasher it played standard club stuff but leaned a bit more towards rap and R’n’B occasionally playing something like J Hus or Skepta among the usual staples of ‘Jumpman’ and ‘Work’ but now it’s part of a larger brand I assume it’ll move towards Players poppier territory.
Popworld: Cheese. So much cheese. Spice Girls, Mambo No. 5, Backstreet Boys. At a certain level of drunk (aka very) it’s heaven.
Gay Village – Oddly enough, this is where the gay clubs are.
Nightingales: Biggest gay club in Birmingham. Frequent drag performance from former Ru Paul contestants and local talent. Music wise, bottom floor is similar to a Broad Street club whereas the top floor has nights for house, garage, techno and bassline. I’ve only ever been on a Thursday so it was a bit dead but I had a good time regardless.
Jesters: No one ever remembers Jesters. It’s a staple for that end of the night, 4-6AM, everywhere else is shut time. It’s open every night of the week so if you’re ever stuck for a motive, check it out.
Glamorous: Not going to lie I’ve only been in here once and I can’t remember anything about it other than leaving very soon after arriving, but I’m pretty sure I had a good time.
Digbeth – Kind of like Birmingham’s Hackney: covered in massive graffiti murals on industrial buildings, some great clubs and the ever present smell of mkat. Caters to those who use the word ‘sesh’ and are in the corner shop cans group on Facebook. Expect gurning.
The Rainbow Venues: The street facing part is a pub with two rooms for bands and club nights (Its student night, Tektu, takes place in The Cellar every other Thursday, playing house and techno). Go round the back however to find the huge Warehouse and the Blackbox, probably the best looking club in Birmingham. It attracts huge DJs like Nina Kraviz, Hannah Wants and My Nu Leng.
VOID: What began as a one off rave in an abandoned building has evolved into one of Birmingham’s most recognisable club brands. The sound system is disgustingly loud but if house and techno are your thing, your doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t been. It’s currently closed for the summer while the dudes that run it are out DJing in Ibiza, but keep an eye out for when it’s back on. Also check out the SecretCity Facebook page for more raves in abandoned industrial places.
Suki10c: Probably my favourite club in Birmingham, a tiny club in Digbeth covered in street art which varies hugely depending on the night you go. Check their Facebook page for what’s on any given weekend but the weekly Twisted Thursdays plays jump up drum and bass with live MCs and stupidly cheap drinks, 50p a shot. The club is at its busiest every other Friday for CLUB L’AMOUR, an indie/alt night that features bands (Pale Waves, Rat Boy and Hankks have all played sets) as well as DJs that will play anything from Yung Lean to Tame Impala to Darude. Just avoid the gents toilets. Seriously, they are grim.
(Final honourable mention to The Sunflower Lounge opposite Snobs for the pre drinks vibez and sick bands).
Words by Jack Hollis