On Sundays in Birmingham, a craft cocktail pop-up is a savior from the city’s blue laws
I was lucky to get the clandestine, word-of-mouth invitation. Visiting Birmingham, Alabama, and desperately seeking a cocktail as the sun slid away on a Sunday afternoon, I didn’t have many options. Over a third of Alabama’s counties are dry, but even in wet Birmingham, many places abstain from serving on Sundays; liquor stores stay closed, too.
From the street, Lou’s doesn’t look like much. Green neon script in the window spells out “Lou’s Pub & Package Store,” and for the most part it delivers on that humble promise as a hybrid beer-and-shot dive bar and liquor shop (the retail side stays closed on Sundays). Locals drop in for a Bud at the low-ceilinged, dark-wood bar or sit on the patio, a few stone benches and tables arranged on the concrete out front. Some buy a bottle of Jack to take home at the end of the night. Most days of the week, it’s a watering hole like any other, a little shabby, sure, but not without straightforward, reliable comforts—an empty stool, a cold beer.