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Hello, Sailor
Rémy Thurston

9 New North Carolina Cocktail Spots Worth a Sip

Where to drink in the Tar Heel state

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Hello, Sailor
| Rémy Thurston

Summertime is for sipping adventures. Try these nine new spots across North Carolina, from the mountains (Asheville) to the beaches (Wilmington).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. SideBar

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215 E Chatham St
Cary, NC 27511
(919) 588-3063
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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.

2. King Canary Brewing

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562 Williamson Rd
Mooresville, NC 28117
(704) 967-8472
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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.

3. Hummingbird

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1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd Suite 111
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 301-8900
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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.

4. Hello, Sailor

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20210 Henderson Rd
Cornelius, NC 28031
(704) 997-5365
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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.

Hello, Sailor
Rémy Thurston

5. District Wine Bar

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37 Paynes Way #009
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-8606
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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.

6. The Waterbird Asheville

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197 Charlotte St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 552-3662
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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.

7. Tails Piano Bar

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115 S Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401

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.

Tails Piano Bar

8. Old Guerdon Lodge

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211 Princess St unit c
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 477-4551
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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.

9. Fair Witness Fancy Drinks

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290 4th St E
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 448-5239

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.

1. SideBar

215 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

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.

215 E Chatham St
Cary, NC 27511

2. King Canary Brewing

562 Williamson Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117

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.

562 Williamson Rd
Mooresville, NC 28117

3. Hummingbird

1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd Suite 111, Raleigh, NC 27604

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.

1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd Suite 111
Raleigh, NC 27604

4. Hello, Sailor

20210 Henderson Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031
Hello, Sailor
Rémy Thurston

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.

20210 Henderson Rd
Cornelius, NC 28031

5. District Wine Bar

37 Paynes Way #009, Asheville, NC 28801

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.

37 Paynes Way #009
Asheville, NC 28801

6. The Waterbird Asheville

197 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801

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.

197 Charlotte St
Asheville, NC 28801

7. Tails Piano Bar

115 S Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401
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.

115 S Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401

8. Old Guerdon Lodge

211 Princess St unit c, Wilmington, NC 28401

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.

211 Princess St unit c
Wilmington, NC 28401

9. Fair Witness Fancy Drinks

290 4th St E, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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.

290 4th St E
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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