Since Danimal and I began dating, we have been to Birmingham numerous times… his loving and adorable grandparents, Gramma Jeanne + Papa John, live there. However, it was just two years ago, when I began traveling to Birmingham for work, that I began to really experience the city. When Herman (my main partner in crime in Alabama) and I were there in February, I experienced my new favorite SPG hotel property… Aloft. (SPG is one of my FAVORITE hotel families because they have the BEST rewards program.) We walked into the lobby and during check-in discovered that if we could hula hoop for five seconds you got a free drink at the bar. Thankfully, Herman did NOT photograph my performance, but I did get a free drink.
How could I not? I’ve been training for this precise moment since 4th grade. During P.E., about once a six weeks, we had hula hoop wars as the activity. We each began with a hula hoop, and the goal was to be the last man standing. And there was no one better than Chris Sweet. Chris was one of the best “chicken scratchers”. (Chicken Scratch is essentially hula hooping at warp speed.) The video below is a great depiction of the hula hoop war contest. If you fast forward fifty-five seconds in, the “battle” really begins.
But, I digress… not only was the bar hip, the whole hotel was. The elevator was hypercolor, another throw back to fourth grade. Before arriving that night Herman and I also got to spend some time at the H Bar, a new jazz bar in Five Points. And as luck would have it, the Kelley O’Neal Band and Top Shelf were playing.
If you find yourself in Birmingham, stay at Aloft, go eat at Pepper Place, and then head on over to Harlem Bar. Go ahead and start practicing your hula hooping now…