Last updated on January 15, 2023 by Wandering our World
Tuscaloosa, located on the banks of The Black Warrior River, is a city with rich history around the civil rights movement. But today, Tuscaloosa is a college town with plenty of things to do and sights to take in, as well as some fantastic bars to enjoy.
Home to The University of Alabama, the bustling college town of Tuscaloosa boasts a vibrant nightlife with many sports and cocktail bars dotting its downtown, many often filled to the brim with fans cheering their football team the Crimson Tide.
But if you’re new in town, to help you out we’ve put together a list of some of the best bars in Tuscaloosa. From cocktail bars that make their own infusions to the most happening spots for live music.
Let’s get started!
- The Two Best Bars For Beer
- The Two Best Cocktail Bars
- The Three Best Sports Bars
- The Best Bar For Live Music
- The Best Bar For Food
The Best Bars For Beer In Tuscaloosa
Neighborhood watering hole with a great vibe, occasional live music and outdoor seating – perfect for visiting with friends
Lively yet relaxed, old school yet modern, Alcove Tavern is a bar that wears many hats. Established in 2009 as Tuscaloosa’s first smoke free bar, it also helped promote the craft beer scene in the city with its extensive collection of brews.
You won’t find flashy neon signs here, instead, artwork from Peru and antique mirrors adorn the walls while pinball machines take up an entire section.
Furnishing here is simple and you’ll have your choice of tables and booths or stools by the bar, or in a spot of good weather, there are tables on the covered patio outside. Make sure to check out the room with artwork as it features local artists’ works.
If you’re a lover of beer, there’s no better place to be than Alcove as they have more than a 100 import and craft beers along with 12 revolving seasonal taps and one-off specialty kegs!
Not sure what to order? – worry not – if you’re feeling adventurous, just ask the bartender for a mystery beer and savor the brewed surprise.
For something a little stronger, definitely give their signature cocktails a try – they serve everything from classics like the old fashioned and white Russian to twists on the basics like the Cove Collins and tide tea.
There’s plenty happening here too, with live music nights every Friday to open-mic comedy nights twice a month – just check their socials for details.
Service here is fantastic and the people behind the bar go a long way in contributing to the great atmosphere. No wonder it’s become one of the most popular bars in Tuscaloosa.
Alcove is open from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Saturday.
Address – 730 22nd Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
2. Loosa Brews
Family friendly, fun, casual beer bar with activities, retail opportunities, live music and outdoor patio
We think you’ll really dig the vibe at Loosa Brews which is friendly and welcoming with its trendy outdoor garden patio decked out in fairy lights and its arcade section filled with retro games. The shelves and shelves of beer, wine, merchandise and glassware available for purchase also help!
Inside is a bar with a multitude of beers on tap plus a comfortable seating area with both high- and low-level chairs. The outdoor area even has a quaint stage which regularly plays host to local musicians.
Loosa Brews truly pays homage to the craft brewing scene of Alabama – 30 of the total 63 brews on tap are from the state!
Great care is taken in maintaining the freshest of beers, mead, ciders and root beer and the styles and flavors change with the seasons. The best part is that if you fall in love with one of the drafts (and we think you will), several are available to take away in their growler cans.
The flavors are ever changing too, so the best way to find out what’s available is to check their socials, or, even better, visit in person! There isn’t a kitchen on site, but you are welcome to bring your own food or order in.
The staff here are super helpful and very good when it comes to recommendations.
Cold beer and a great atmosphere, that’s what awaits you at Loosa Brews!
The establishment is open from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, noon to 11:00 p.m. Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday.
Address – 412 20th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
The Best Cocktail Bars In Tuscaloosa
1. Catch 22
Cocktail bar with specialty mixed drinks and premium spirits, perfect for after dinner get-togethers
You’ll love the atmosphere at Catch 22 just as much as you’ll love their spirited concoctions, as subtle lighting gives the place an intimate feel, drawing attention to the simple aesthetics of the place.
What’ll really catch your eye, though, is the brightly lit barback where all their spirits are arranged, as well as the bar counter which proudly displays large jars of infusions which make their way into their cocktails (more on that in a bit).
Grab a stool by the bar to watch the game on their flatscreen TV, choose a table to engage in conversation or just relax on their patio outside.
What sets Catch 22 apart from other cocktail bars is definitely their infused spirits that have flavors ranging from pineapple to jalapeno. These infusions are used to make their famous martinis and cocktails giving them that extra boost of flavor.
Try their classic coffee martini which comes with a coffee infusion or their Manhattan with your choice of bourbon infusion. Apart from this, they also do seasonal and festive cocktails, boast a great selection of whiskey and have coolers full of craft and bottled beer.
The bartenders here are great and will make you feel right at home while you rub shoulders with all the regulars.
Give this place a chance – its one of the best bars in Tuscaloosa! Hours of operation are from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday with closing hours extending to 3:00 a.m. on Friday, from noon to 2:00 a.m. on Saturday and from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Address – 2328 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
2. Session Cocktails
Trendy joint that specializes in pre-prohibition and modern classic cocktails, ideal for date night
If you’re looking for a spot with great classic cocktails for an after-dinner drink or two in a classy speakeasy environment, look no further than Session Cocktails.
The interiors are swanky and have a modern aesthetic mixed with a few rustic touches here and there: for example a stag skull trophy behind the bar is framed by their shelves of spirits, an exposed brick wall has pieces of art that bathed in spot lighting and the bar itself boasts a marble counter top.
Pull up a chair to sit by the bar or settle into one of their comfortable booths – the choice is yours.
Session runs a menu that features premium spirits and wines along with daily specials menus such as martini Monday and tiki Tuesday. They even run a C4C campaign, or cocktail for a cause, that helps support local charities.
Each mixed drink is hand crafted with care and attention and it shows – you’ll notice the use of great ingredients and spirits immediately.
We’ve heard great things about their Mexican firing squad which comes with Jose tradicional tequila, lime, grenadine and angoustra – the perfect libation for that late night.
Service here is excellent and if you’re not sure what to order, just talk to the bartenders – they’ll help you out with stellar suggestions.
Session is open from 4:00 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday and from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday.
Address – 2221 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
The Best Sports Bars In Tuscaloosa
1. The Houndstooth
Spacious collegial sports bar with plenty of flatscreen TVs, darts, pool tables and large patio
If you’re looking for a bar in Tuscaloosa to catch the big game, look no further than The Houndstooth, with its brightly lit Alabama sign right over the bar.
The high ceiling holds team flags hanging from the rafters, framed jerseys adorn the walls and there are multiple TVs all over, so you won’t miss a minute of action.
The place has booths and tables spread out across its floor around the different bars in a way that doesn’t feel crowded even when the Crimson Tide washes over – perfect to visit with a large group! There’s also a large outdoor patio.
Savor a cold drink while watching your favorite team – you can choose from bottled beers and ciders, 8 drafts, wine, a superb whiskey menu and expert made cocktails.
Pair that beer with one of their burgers and fries to complete the game day experience.
And if there’s nothing on, don’t worry, as there’s dart boards and pool tables where you and your mates can enjoy a round or two.
There’s always something happening here as well, from dart leagues to trivia and bingo night. Capture the Houndstooth spirit by purchasing some merchandise from their store!
The people behind the bar know what they are doing and are forthcoming with suggestions and are knowledgeable too – so you’ll be well taken care of.
Get your game face on and visit The Houndstooth today! The place is open from Monday through Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. with closing hours extending to 3:00 a.m. on Friday.
Address – 1300 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
2. The Wheelhouse Pub
Trendy, upbeat sports pub with a late-night kitchen
If you’re a sports fan, we’ve got you covered with a recommendation that will quench your thirst and cure those post game munchies.
The Wheelhouse is a lively place that still has some of the most chill vibes in town. Exposed brick walls are adorned with team flags (most notably the local Alabama Crimson Tide), neon signs and plenty of large flatscreen TVs too.
The rest of the pub is done up in classic pub style with tables spread out around pool tables, a section dedicated to retro arcade games and dart boards and an outside seating area on the patio.
You’ll have your choice of drafts, bottles, frozen drinks and cocktails here at Wheelhouse, affectionately called ‘The Wheel’, and what more can we say except the beer is always cold and the mixed drinks really hit the spot.
And what pairs better with that beer than some of their large double fried wings available in 7 different flavors and a slice of their famous pizza which has gotten all the locals talking? And if you’re craving some southern flavors, drop by on an afternoon when they have crawfish boils.
Plus on non-game nights they often host poker and arcade game tournaments, so just follow their socials for details.
The place does get busy as it’s one of the most popular bars in Tuscaloosa, so there may be a bit of a wait, but service is quick and efficient. And you can always enjoy a round of darts or a game of pool while your food and drinks are being prepared.
Hours of operation are from 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with closing hours extending to 3:00 a.m. on Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Address – 2326 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
3. The Gray Lady
Great local pub filled with football memorabilia perfect for groups of friends on game day
The Gray Lady is Alabama sports to its core, having been named after the famed local sports stadium and even proudly displaying bits of memorabilia from the actual location.
What’ll definitely catch your eye is the 50-yard line right behind the bar, fronted by chalkboard menus, which is a piece of the actual turf from the stadium! Even the maple and cedar floors commemorate each of the local team’s championships.
The rest of the walls bear sports trinkets interspersed with framed pictures and posters. Grab a seat by the bar or choose a booth or table and settle down to watch some sports!
The cocktails here are always on point and they even boast a good selection of whiskey and beer. For a pre-game concoction, we heartily recommend the Angry Lady which has Malibu rum, pineapple, grenadine and angry orchard.
There’re specials on too, with a drink of the week – just ask the bartenders. If you’re visiting on a non-sports night, don’t worry – there’s always something happening – from trivia nights on Monday to live music on Thursdays.
The bartenders here contribute greatly to the atmosphere and along with all the local crowd make this a fun, vibrant spot to be.
The Gray Lady is open from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday.
Address – 521 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
The Best Bar In Tuscaloosa For Live Music
1. Copper Top
Fun local joint with plenty of live music, karaoke, cocktails and outside patio
The retro stylings of Copper Top are sure to draw you in from the moment you see its brick wall façade and its neon sign. Inside continues the same theme with more exposed brick wall being lit by Edison bulbs and all the furniture and fixings being industrial chic.
Pull up a stool by the bar and watch the mixologists work their magic or choose from the several tables laid out, either way, you’re going to want to be close to the stage they have set up in the corner where various local bands perform.
If there’s no band playing and you want to make the most of a spot of good weather, there’s also a seating area on the patio outside.
Beer and spirits flow freely here and Copper Top boasts a good selection of both, though you’ll probably want to spring for a cocktail which is built around one of their in house infusions (you’ll find them proudly displayed on the bar counter).
Live music happens almost every weekend where great bands take center stage (just check their socials for who’s playing) and this is often followed by karaoke which means evenings here are filled with music, fun and laughter.
They also frequently host bingo nights and there’s a pool table at the back where you can play a few rounds while the band sets up.
Copper Top is a great dive bar visited by locals and regulars and we’re sure you’ll want to join the latter. Service is friendly and the bartenders and managers are sure to make you feel right at home.
Hours of operation are from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday.
Address – 2300 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
The Best Bar In Tuscaloosa For Food
1. Decades Pub and Grub
Music themed bar and restaurant with great sandwiches and cocktails
If you’re a fan of retro rock and pop, you’ll love Decades Pub and Grub. Their signage incorporates a vinyl, and they even have vinyls laminated on their table tops, while their cocktails too are named after famous songs of the 80s and 90s.
Rough plaster walls display posters of Kurt Cobain, The Stones and The Beatles, amongst others, adding a splash of color and funk which goes great with their neon lit bar back. Choose from either high- or low-level seating or simply grab a stool at the bar and see how many artists you recognize!
Whether you’re here for trivia nights or just dropping in for a quick pint, you have to try one of their pizzas or sandwiches.
Their ‘Da Brees’ Sammie, which is premium debris roast beef, lettuce, tomato and mayo enveloped in a po’ boy roll, has gotten all the locals talking! Pair that with their tropical twist on the Long Island Ice Tea, called Purple Rain, and you have all the makings of a perfect evening.
Service here is friendly and attentive and there is little wait time, which is great considering the attention and care they put into their food and drink.
Decades is open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday.
Address – 2314 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401