I can’t bring myself to be mad when local businesses are closed on the 4th of July. Retail and restaurant staffs work very hard, and they deserve a holiday just as much as I do. (This is one of the reasons I hate Black Friday so much, but that’s a tale for another holiday.) But I’m also happy that a few of my favorite Birmingham businesses will be open tomorrow, and I checked around to see which ones will be serving on the 4th of July.
This list is far from exhaustive — I really just included downtown Birmingham and the surrounding area, because that’s where I’ll be hanging out. But if you’re curious about a certain business, it’s not hard to find out if they’ll be open. I mostly used the good old fashioned telephone (well, I used an iPhone, but you get the idea), but you can also usually get an answer by @replying a company on Twitter or Instagram (a lot of businesses will also post their holiday hours on social media before you even have to ask).
Anyway, here’s what’s open in and around downtown Birmingham for Independence Day …
The farmer’s market is open normal hours tomorrow, so stop by between 7 a.m. and noon to get local vegetables and meat for grilling, grab some fresh fruit for pies or parfaits, or just to hang out and enjoy the market. I’m guessing a few vendors might take the day off, but my favorites — Piper & Leaf and Birmingham Breadworks — will be there!
Their croissants and other pastries are really incredible, and getting breakfast and coffee at Birmingham Breadworks is one of my favorite things to do in Birmingham. It’s a good option if you want to avoid the craziness of busy Pepper Place, or if you just want to stop by and get filled up and caffeinated before braving the crowds. Breadworks is closing at 11 a.m. on the 4th of July, so they won’t be serving lunch, but breakfast is fair game (and you can always grab some fancy bread to bring a little French flair to your Independence Day picnic — and the French fought with us in the Revolutionary War, so it’s historically appropriate). Breadworks isn’t so much in downtown Birmingham as sandwiched between downtown and Lakeview, but I really like it, and it’s my list, so get over it.
The coffee shop right next to the Pepper Place Market will be open for its normal hours on Saturday, so grab a table and a cup of coffee (or buy some of Red Cat’s special roast to bring home to family) any time between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
If you haven’t tried Revelator yet, this is the perfect day to give it a shot (sorry-not-sorry for the coffee pun). Their downtown location across from The Alabama Theater is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. all weekend (Saturday and even Sunday), so you can grab enough coffee to go to keep you caffeinated all weekend. (Technically, Revelator isn’t locally owned. But they are independent, and I keep hearing they’re moving operations to Birmingham, so I think we can let it slide this one time.)
Nothing says “Happy Birthday America” like a fish taco, right?! Okay, maybe not, but Cantina is a locally owned business with really tasty food, and you don’t get any more American than that. Cantina’s located in Pepper Place, and they’re open until 3 p.m. on Saturday, so it’s a good choice for lunch (or for a take-out order of guacamole).
It’s Good People’s birthday, too — they’re turning seven, and the brewery is celebrating by throwing a big party. Here’s a link to the Facebook invite with more information, but here are the basics: Magnolia BBQ and Fish is serving food from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and dessert is from Big Spoon Creamery, Steel City Pops, Ivory LeShore’s Gourmet Bread Pudding and Cheesecakes and Dreamcakes. (I mean, wow.) Oh, and there’s Good People beer, obviously. The party is free, kid-friendly and dog-friendly, and it lasts through the fireworks at least.
Um, what’s more American than baseball? The game starts at 6 p.m., and the Barons have fireworks, so you’ll have all your bases covered. (Haha, see what I did there?) Besides, the stadium is right by Railroad Park (in case you want to plan a pre-game Independence Day picnic) and across from Good People (in case you want to let other people plan your picnic for you, or you want to actually pre-game with some Bearded Lady — or, if you’re feeling crazy, Snake Handler).
Carrigan’s is open its usual hours for the weekend, which means they’ll be serving Saturday at 11 a.m. and they’ll close soon after midnight. That means you can grab a Double Burger or one of their famous corndogs for lunch or dinner, and you can enjoy drinks with friends at the bar or on one of their two huge outdoor patios. And the best part? You can see Vulcan from Carrigan’s, so you’ll get to watch fireworks with a beer in hand from the comfort of your seat (or from the comfort of a big rock, depending on which area of the patio you’re sitting in).
I’ll get out and support the indies who’ll be open in Birmingham partly because it’ll be really fun, but also because I truly believe it’s important. Independent businesses show our uniqueness, our creativity, and our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. They’re so important to America, both to our economy, and to who we are as a people. And they’re important to Birmingham, too.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, creator of 30 Days of Local Praise and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.