Summertime is for sipping adventures. Try these nine new spots across North Carolina, from the mountains (Asheville) to the beaches (Wilmington).Read More
9 New North Carolina Cocktail Spots Worth a Sip
Where to drink in the Tar Heel state
Opened: Feb. 2018
Come to sit on the sunny patio or to sink into the handsome parlor near the bar, and keep an ear open for live jazz. The menu boasts lighthearted “staples” like beer with a shot of whiskey, house cocktails, and classic cocktails.
Try: From the house cocktails list, order the Last Call and Quick Decisions with blended scotch, bourbon, Montenegro, drambuie, and cocoa.
King Canary Brewing
Opened: May 2018
The bird theme reigns supreme here, with lighting in bird cages and tap handles decorated with bird figurines, plus beers like the Chickadee (a sour) and the Tweet Tooth (a stout). Inside, relax in the hardwood-floored, homey feel, or pull up a picnic table on the patio.
Try: Yolks On You, the brewery’s newest double IPA, brewed with a floral taste and honeysuckle and mango notes.
Opened: November 2017
The nature theme continues in this space, where cheerful colors fill the decor, from mint tile and hummingbird sketches on the walls, to red brick flooring, to bright yellow stools at the bar. Original cocktails include the Hummingbird Fizz, the Let it Bee and the Kiss from a Rose. A small-plate food menu stretches from breakfast (with items like the open-faced mortadella sandwich), to lunch (hello, banh mi with mushroom pâté) to dinner (yes to the cacio e pepe).
Try: I Hate to See You Leaf with Brazilian rum, passion fruit, Benedictine, Licor 43, lemon, and egg white.
Also featured in:
Opened: December 2017
Even in the winter, it’s easy to get cozy in the spacious, retro main room with unexpected features like a sunshine-yellow fireplace, neutral rugs and low-slung butterfly chairs, and a photo booth. But summertime means the deck and tiki bar are open, overlooking bustling Lake Norman. Either season is great for the menu of seafood platters and lighter fare like citrus crab louie, watermelon with sea salt and king crab bites, brightened by fun tiki bar drinks.
Try: Any of the tiki drinks, for that summertime feel. Start by asking for the Subterranean Spritz.
District Wine Bar
Opened: February 2018
Stop in for a frequently shifting menu and a flow of more than 60 wines by the glass, more than 60 wines by the bottle and European beers to pair with cheese, charcuterie and spreads from hummus to pimento cheese. Also, expect an emphasis on wines that are sustainable and biodynamic in this River Arts District space featuring high ceilings, cozy couches and art on the walls.
Try: The Listán rosé from the Canary Islands. A summer favorite recommended by the staff, it’s fruit-forward with a dry finish.
The Waterbird Asheville
Opened: May 2018
Imagine a place fit for coffee and pastries and work in the morning, for a cocktail and a chat in the afternoon, and for dusky drinks and a time on the town in the evening. The “lunch and beyond” menu features chorizo melts, mezze plates, market salads, and —beyond.
Try: The Waterbird G & T with Beefeater, lavender, elderberry and lemongrass.
Tails Piano Bar
Opened: March 2018
Slip away in a posh vibe in the name of good fun — and the chance to soak up live music emanating from an ivory, baby grand piano in the lounge-like bar. The songs range from Broadway to present-day tunes and the menu ranges from cocktails to light bites at this private membership club.
Try: The Stormy Weather with Svedka vodka, lavender and lemon puree, and blueberry, picked off the craft cocktail list.
Old Guerdon Lodge
Opened: April 2018
Be transported to a cabin-like atmosphere highlighting wood walls made from North Carolina timber, and local taxidermy. Grab a drink and kick back for live music, with genres ranging from bluegrass, to vintage country, to rock.
Try: A low-key (and low-cost) glass of wine. Recent deals have included $4 sauvignon blanc.
Fair Witness Fancy Drinks
Opened: February 2018
Fair Witness, established by Tim Nolan and Blake Stewart, is a creative neighborhood cocktail bar named for a character type in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. While the owners are busy dreaming up concoctions (syrups and infusions included), customers can take it easy inside or at a sidewalk table.
Try: A low-alcohol version of one of the featured cocktails. They can be made by request, and the flavors of the housemade infusions can still be made to shine.