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Raleigh’s Newest Cocktail Bar Requires a $40 Key

Plus other North Carolina openings

Drinks at the Atlantic Lounge
Food Seen Photography

The new year has ushered in a new wave of options for drinks and dining in Raleigh. Here are five places that have opened in the past month.

The Atlantic Lounge

The only way to get into this new lounge, brought to downtown by Jason Howard of the Cardinal Bar, is with a $40 key. A slew of keys were first handed out to people in the surrounding neighborhoods, offering that hint of exclusivity. The Atlantic Lounge features 44 seats with bar seating as well, and allows patrons to come inside with one guest at a time. Hoping for an invitation and a chance to sip from the list of craft cocktails, wines, beers and ciders? Strike up a conversation with members, or reach out to the Atlantic Lounge at or @TheAtlanticLounge on Instagram. As for the reasoning behind the keys? In a press release, Howard referred to “the ongoing intention of cultivating a truly local experience, bringing together those who will most appreciate and use the space.”

Transfer Co. Food Hall

Various teaser events like a New Year’s Eve celebration and limited openings have driven curious customers to the not-yet-officially open Transfer Co. Food Hall, located in the historic Carolina Coach Garage and Shop. Vendors like Burial Beer Co., Che Empanadas, and Locals Oyster Bar have rolled out offerings for soft opening hours, according to Facebook updates. Other vendors to look forward to upon the food hall’s opening include Captain Cookie & the Milkman, Dank Burrito, and Benchwarmers Bagels.

Plus Dueling Piano Bar

According to Facebook, PLUS Dueling Piano Bar has seen capacity crowds and lines down the block. The new bar boasts a rotating stage, energetic light show and large liquor lineup to pair with the song requests. In addition to drinks, bar-goers can order pizzas, burgers, salads, and quesadillas.

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar

With locations in Georgia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, this chain offers a seafood-heavy menu with samplers, sandwiches, salads, platters (like a Lowcountry boil), and more. Fun fact: The original Shuckin’ Shack opened 11 years ago in Carolina Beach.

Jaipur Indian Cuisine

Located in the Ramada Inn, Jaipur offers a variety of familiar appetizers like meat samosas and vegetable samosas, as well as curries ranging from vindaloo, to mutton, to mango chicken. The most appeal comes in the form of the naan varieties ‚— think chicken tikka naan, stuffed with chicken tikka and herbs. The restaurant is self-described as offering “sophistication and an era of rural India.”