For people watching, hit Highland's Bar and Grill at Five Points South downtown any day at 5:30.  As the name implies, this establishment has two separate but adjacent parts....a classic wraparound bar famous for martinis, and the nationally recognized restaurant located on the other side.  The bar is perpetually busy in the late afternoon and well into the evening hours.  It has ample seating all the way around, and you can converse well with your bartender as he prepares your favorite libation.  There is also limited table seating in the bar as well, and you may order from the menu.  The bar is boisterous, vibrant and definitely a "see and be seen" location for young movers and shakers in the city.  Make reservations at the restaurant at 7:00 but go to the bar at 6:00 to rub shoulders with others...then go over to the very quiet and intimate restaurant side for one of America's best meals.  Named the #5 restaurant in the United States by Gourmet magazine -

"Over the Mountain" (OTM) is a local term for Birmingham's southern suburbs, which are located south of Red Mountain.  As a generality, these are the towns of Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia and Hoover. 

 An OTM place to see and be seen is The Tavern On The Summit.  The Summit shopping area is very upscale and the Tavern On The Summit has a handsome dark wood decor and subdued lighting.  Its bar area is usually packed with people in their 30's and 40's seeking interaction with others.  The Tavern's 360 degree bar has seating around it on every foot and is often packed by 6:00.  Like Highland's there is seating in the bar in booths located along the backside for those who want to order from the menu.  Live music is offered several nights a week in the bar.  (Also at the Summit, is The Village Tavern and these two restaurants are often confused.  The Village Tavern is a very solid restaurant but its bar is not nearly as lively as The Tavern On The Summit, so make sure that if you are looking for 'People Watching' you go to the restaurant located up above in the strip area...not the one below next to 280).