Birmingham has long been a magnet to the world’s biggest bands who clamour to play at the city’s massive venues. But if your favourite act isn’t quite arena-ready (yet!) the O2 Academy Birmingham is the place to see them perform. Made up of three performance spaces of different sizes, it can handle everyone from top-name acts like Kasabian, George Ezra and the Prodigy, to local legends and even tribute bands. Its main room, Academy 1, can hold over 3,000 while its smallest, Academy 3, just 250 – meaning the O2 Academy always has a wonderfully diverse schedule. So if you’re coming to rock out, we have all the information you need to make your visit a sure-fire hit, plus a comfortable Premier Inn hotel to rest in afterwards nearby.
You’ll find the Academy in the city centre, towards the South. It’s walking distance from Birmingham New Street (where you’ll also find the nearest Premier Inn to the venue) so getting there couldn’t be easier. If you’re on a flying visit to Birmingham, the O2 Academy is just a 15-minute train ride into the city’s New Street Station from Birmingham International Airport.
Fllow the signs from the city centre to Queensway. There’s some street parking close to the venue, and a number of car parks nearby, including a 24-hour NCP right next door. Use sat nav postcode B1 1DW.
The following buses stop directly outside the venue: the 61 and 63 from Birmingham, Selly Oak, Northfield and Longbridge; the 146 from Birmingham and Redditch via Cotteridge; and the X64 Birmingham to Woodgate service.
This purpose-built venue has good acoustics throughout, but avoid standing underneath the balcony in Academy 1 because it has the worst sound in the venue.
The O2 Academy isn’t huge, but it’s great if you like your gigs packed and sweaty, with lots of atmosphere. Here’s everything you need to know.
The venue’s address is 16-18 Horsefair, Birmingham B1 1DB and its telephone number is 0121 622 8250. Check age restrictions when you book your ticket if you’re under 18. All large bags have to be checked into the cloakroom and the venue is very strict on its food and drink policy - you can’t even bring sweets or chewing gum into the O2 Academy.
The venue’s popular indie club night Propaganda, costs under a fiver, while the biggest gigs in Academy 1 will set you back up to £45. Most shows in 2 and 3 are priced between £10 and £20. The cloakroom costs £1.50, but you can put your coat in for free by using the advance text offer at the O2 website. There are drinks offers available at the site, too.
The O2 Academy has three performance areas. The largest, Academy 1, has a 600-capacity balcony area which is great if you prefer to sit. Divided into three tiers, the balcony has its own bar, toilet and cloakroom. Academy 2 can handle audiences of up to 600, while Academy 3 has a capacity of 250. Each Academy has its own bar (with Academy 1 having three).
If you have access requirements, it's worth signing up online for the venue’s Access Card system. It’s not compulsory, but filling in your details means you won’t have to state your requirements every time you come to watch a gig. Wheelchair spaces and carer tickets are available, too - just mention what you need when you book your ticket.
Looking for a pre-show nibble? Settle your gig nerves with something to eat and drink. We’ve listed your options below.
Inside the O2 Academy
At the venue there’s a hot dog stall and some snacks on offer at the bar - and that’s it! And while each of the three performance spaces has its own bar, there can be queues of gig-goers waiting to be served. Forget fancy cocktails, expect the usual concert fare of lager, lager and more lager. Drinks prices at the venue are steep for Birmingham, with some lagers costing up to £4.80 a pint. With this in mind, those in the know tend to eat and drink elsewhere, and time their arrival to coincide with the opening chords of the band they’re here to see.
Near the O2 Academy
Just 300 metres from the Academy you’ll find what used to be Birmingham’s best-kept secret. It looks like a normal pub from the outside, but the Keg & Grill has become one of the city’s favourite eateries. Completely unfussy, it serves craft beers, but what really brings people here is the Indian food on offer. Mixed grilled meats, delicately spiced are brought to your table, along with some tasty naan sarnies. Yes, that does sound stodgy, but can you think of a better way of soaking up all that pre-gig beer?
Get your gig off to a rocking start, by booking into the Premier Inn near the O2 Academy Birmingham. You're just minutes from the venue, plus you’ll be in a great location for shopping, restaurants and nightlife. And, whether you stay for the encore or head back early, you can rest assured you’re returning to a spacious room and extra-comfy bed.
Whether you want to stay in the city centre, leafy suburbs or beautiful surrounding countryside, we have lots of Premier Inn hotels in Birmingham to choose from. Whether you're in Birmingham for business, or pleasure, you'll also find hotels next to travel hubs like Birmingham Airport and New Street Station, as well as conference venues the NEC, Barclaycard Arena and The Bullring for retail therapy.