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Question re atmosphere at Highlands B&G, Birmingham

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Thinking about going to Highlands Bar & Grill and know the food will be great, but I would appreciate info re the atmosphere (I've searched previous posts here, but haven't found the specific info I'm looking for).

I recognize this is subjective and may be hard to classify, but I'm wondering if the atmosphere is closer to fun, noisy, casual, convivial, social, etc. or closer to stuffy, formal, quiet, elegant, etc.?
Also, I read somewhere that a jacket for men is "preferred" - is that accurate?

Finally, assuming that Highlands falls toward the more formal side, is Chez Fon Fon a good alternative for a more social environment?

Thanks very much.

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  1. I'm an outlander who has only been to Highlands once, some years ago. I ate there by myself, and think I had a table on the bar side. It's what I would call a relaxed club for the people in the know.. It was neither stuffy, formal, or elegant, more like an upscale bistro.
    I did not feel at all unwelcome, and can't imagine that anyone reasonably dressed would feel otherwise. I would highly recommend it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mrwaterslide

      I am a frequent diner at both Highlands and Fonfon. Regarding Highlands, the bar side (where you can order off the full menu) is fun and noisy, whereas the dining room side is more formal, but not as stuffy as a lot of upscale places. I don't feel comfortable even on the bar side unless I have on a sportcoat, but you will frequently see men in the bar who have obviously just left the golf course. I would definitely wear a jacket in the dining room, although you may see some men who don't.

      Regarding Fonfon, it is very laid back so dressing up is not a requirement. Be forewarned that it can get very loud, so it is not a good choice for a quiet dinner if that is what you had in mind. The food is excellent at both places.

      1. re: pinotboy

        I eat at Highlands and Fonfon as much as Pinotboy probably does and I agree with his first couple of sentences. Where I disagree is that you can't go without a sportcoat on the bar side. I very rarely see men eating at the bar with a jacket on. Now, if you are in the dining room, most certainly a jacket or suit for men, dress or nice pants for woman. It's a great place and totally worth trying. Fonfon is very casual and you'll see a wide range of dress in there. The food is fantastic both places. If you go to Fonfon soon, try the salmon dish. Very good!

        1. re: KateMW

          Well, I did not say that you could not go without a sportcoat on the bar side, I said that I did not feel comfortable doing so. I can't help the fact that others may have forgotten how to dress when dining in a place like Highlands, much in the same way that folks seem to have forgotten the meaning of the term "Sunday Best" when getting dressed for Sunday morning worship services. :)

          1. re: pinotboy

            Dining in the dining room at HBG and in/at the bar are two different things, IMO.

    2. We just ate at both places...wasn't aware of the dress code and had to eat in the bar area,,,which turned out to be better for us anyway, very lively and still the great food, Fonfon more casual but eat in the bar at highlands, you can't go wrong..