Raleigh has no shortage of a diverse range of bars and restaurants. Some are speakeasy-style bars, some cocktail bars, others have arcades, and some have an exciting art section. What all of these places have in common is the unique flavor of drinks and tasty food that they have on their menus. Using seasonal and fresh ingredients to mix up concoctions for you, each place has a distinct style that will be unlike any other place you’ve been to. Scroll down to explore some of these.
7. The Architect Bar Raleigh
The Architect Bar is a classic place that has given a modern yet elegant touch to a speakeasy vibe. Brick wall design with a translucent roof and windows gives way for natural light and a beautifully designed wooden bar with bottles behind for decor and dim low hanging lights above it. The top is designed to look like an arrow, adding an artistic touch to the bar. Classic wooden benches and stools for seating with a few white couches break the color scheme of the place and give it a cozy and lovely vibe. The place is usually packed, so make sure to get in early, reserve a table, or simply enjoy if you’re a crowd person.
The Architect Bar offers craft cocktails with hand-selected spirits and fresh ingredients. The house mixologist makes unique cocktails with your selected spirits on demand, so you have to tell the spirit and let him show you his art and serve you a soothing and fresh drink. They also offer various beer options, such as the ‘Trophy Trophy Wife,’ ‘Victory Sour Monkey, and ‘Bizmo Beekeeper,’ all of which are on tap. They have classic bottle beers such as Goose Island and Highland Gaelic, along with a decent amount of others for you to choose from. If you’re a canned beer guy, their collection is also impressive, and you’ll find one, if not a few, to your liking.
Be sure to check The Architect Bar whenever you can for a chill and relaxed vibe and unwind from a busy day or just a get-together with your friends or family and have a good time.
6. The Haymaker Bar Raleigh
The Haymaker is a chill bar with a chic setting. Beautiful art decor with an open space for seating and a stage for their special events such as DJ nights and open mic comedy shows, you’re in for a fun and lively time whenever you come here. Classic wooden stools and tables for seating with low and dim lamps and chandeliers hanging give the place a calm and relaxed style. The place also changes the whole decor and theme for special holidays, so make sure to visit it whenever one is nearby.
The cocktails here are seasonal, so they’re always fresh and soothing, such as the ‘Mule Of The Week’ and the ‘Devil in a Blue Dress,’ both of which have tequila and lime, with the latter having bue curaçao sugar, egg white, Remedy Cocktail Co. Chocolate Chili Bitters to further enhance the taste. Their classics include the ‘Smoke Show, ‘Sing like a Bee’, and ‘Bad Guys Wear Black,’ which have bourbon, gin, and lime along with other stuff to give you a tasty cocktail. They also serve shots and punch bowls wherever you’re with a group. Another known drink is the alcoholic slushies, which give you a calm and soothing feeling afterward. For the beer lovers, they have drafts, canned beers, and seltzers such as CBC Winter Porter and Trophy Cloud Surfer. The wine drinkers don’t have to go disappointed because they also have them covered. The bartenders here are known for their friendliness and conversations so if you’re having trouble with a drink, just let them know.
Whenever you’re looking for a relaxed time to spend your day, whether that’s with family or friends, hop by the Foundation, and they’ll make sure to treat you well while you enjoy the atmosphere and their drinks.
5. Watts and Ward Bar Raleigh
A speakeasy bar and lounge in the basement of an old building, Watts and Ward is the place to be! There are three bars in this place which you can reach through the corridors. At the front of the bar is the mud room, which has a sign printed there. There are two lounge rooms where you can relax with your friends or family. The place has dim, low lighting, creating a mysterious vibe. The lighting is soft with wooden furniture and leather couches. Vintage lamps and armchairs are scattered around the space, along with books on the shelves.
There are cocktails, wines, and brews for you to pick from. The bar is fully stocked with drinks and ingredients from around the world. There are some fruity cocktails while others are strong. The menu frequently changes according to the seasons. Their in-house cocktail section has a lot of options for you to choose from. The ‘Watts and Ward Old Fashioned’ has Elijah Craig private barrel, syrup, Angostura bitters, and house raisin bitters. This is a must-have drink; although you might think it’s overpriced at $20, it’s worth every sip. Other options include ‘Cactus Garden,’ ‘Moore Square,’ ‘Funky, But Loved,’ and ‘5 More Years, Please’. They have classic cocktails available, as well as mocktails, beers, and wines.
Watts and Ward keep alive the era before Prohibition with the experience they have curated for all of the people who come in daily. If you’re planning on going out today, check this place out!
4. C Grace Bar Raleigh
A cocktail-driven bar in the middle of Raleigh, C Grace Bar is the perfect spot for you if you’re in for some drinks with a relaxed atmosphere. The place gives off a classic jazz club vibe, with low and dim lights, traditional jazz tunes, and that dark and warm ambiance to top it all off. Have a seat here, enjoy their delicious cocktails while listening to the live band playing old-school jazz music, and just soak it all in. The speakeasy vibe of this place will take you back to the old days.
The place is known for its cocktails, offering classic and house specials. The classics such as the Negroni, Old Fashioned and Odd Perfection, and many more are perfect, but their signature cocktails are a total knockout. They are offering the ‘Apple Pie Killer,’ made up of Eden Heirloom Ice Cider, Oak City Amaretto, Rittenhouse Rye, and a few more ingredients, and the ‘Velvet Rose,’ which consists of triple sec, rosemary, and lemon. They also offer non-alcoholic cocktails if you’re in the mood to enjoy the music with a chill drink like ‘Jam Jar’ and ‘New Fashion.’ If you’re having trouble picking a cocktail, just describe your mood to the bartenders and let them show you their art.
If the jazz style is your vibe, then this place is a hidden gem for you. With a nice drink, spacious seating, live music, and an overall relaxed vibe, what more could you need after a hectic day to cool off?
3. Vita Vite Downtown Bar Raleigh
A mix of edgy and modern, Vita Vite Downtown has art and drinks under one roof. The name is Italian for ‘life’ and ‘vine,’ which are the two joys of life. The place is upscale, with a covered patio and leather couches for wine tasting by the fireplace. There are many beer options around the place, so this place was a friendly welcome to the neighborhood. The bar is a marble top with high chairs on one side. Soft yellow lights hang from the ceiling and illuminate the space. For a modern and sophisticated look, they have used neutral colors all around the space, but the chandeliers and artworks bring a lot of light and color to the wine bar.
There’s also fresh produce from the farmers so that you can get your hands on olives, cookies, pickles, and many more. The space at the back of the bar is perfect for some private events you would want to host here. If you’re creative, then host your exhibition here! Drop by to curl up on an armchair and unwind with a glass of wine. You can also grab small plates or dessert to go with it. Choose from various white, red, rose, and bubblies to sip on. The wine list includes Blanchard Perez, Leitz, Hunky Dory, Peyrassol, and Revelry, amongst many others. If you want a bottle, you can choose from options like Aimery, Chateau Grand Francais, Costa do Sol, and many more. You can get cheese boards with a glass of wine. Your food options can be customized. You can get your hands on pickles, olives, honey, jams, crackers, and many cheese options. Their prices are not too heavy on the pocket, so that you will have a great experience here!
2. Boxcar Bar and Arcade Raleigh
You know you’re in for a good time as soon as you enter the Boxcar Bar and Arcade. Located at 330 W Davie St, It’ll be hard to leave the place once you’ve entered. This place is a vast crowd attraction with an impressive collection of 70+ modern and old-school arcade games, a full liquor bar, and a 24 craft draft beer system. On the weekends, be ready for the place to be fully loaded as people from all around come to enjoy the games, drinks, and live band performances.
With constantly rotating draft beers and offering new cocktails now and then, you can never be bored when you come here. They provide beers from local and North Carolina breweries, such as ‘Narragansett Lager,’ ‘Rogue Dead Guy Ale, ”Elysian Space Dust, and many more. They also have a bottles and cans section where you can get the ‘Budweiser’ and the ‘Modelo Especial’ along with 24 others. You can enjoy the drinks in their arcade section, where they offer the classics such as Dig Dug and Galaga. With arcade cabinets, pinball machines, racing games, air hockey, and even skeeball lanes, you can have a bit of friendly competition with your friends and family or even with strangers as everyone is here for a good time.
If you’re looking for a place to blow off some steam, then Boxcar Bar and Arcade are the ones. Famous for the excellent time it has to offer to anyone that comes, the place gives you a fun and relaxing time with the games and the drinks.
1. The Hibernian Pub Bar Raleigh
Once a part of the Forbes Must visit places list, The Hibernian is the place that keeps the Raleigh nighttime scene alive. The owner brought a traditional Irish pub experience to this place, and it has been thriving ever since. The place has one of the only Irish snugs in the whole country. A must-visit if you’re on a date, we would say. You will find a diverse range of customers here. Professionals in suits, a group of rowdy college students and families laughing together, there’s all under one roof.
You see this place standing in all its glory on the corner of the street. With gold female sculptures hanging from the building and red accent color adding more of a sensual touch to the exterior, the combination is yum. A rich wooden color dominates the space’s furnishings, and the red leather booths go with the theme perfectly. A staircase leads to the second floor, where they have a bar and library space. There’s also a patio which has a fantastic view of the area. The weather here in Raleigh allows for outdoors sitting almost year round.
The menu has some Irish classics combined with all-time favorite American dishes. There’s pub grub, sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and desserts from shepherd’s pie to grilled steak sandwich and their classic Hibernian pub burger. You must get something to eat. You will be satisfied with every bite you take, from a hearty meal to a small bite to eat. The drinks menu has seasonal cocktails, staple cocktails, shots, beers, and wine. The ‘Irish Bomb Shot’ has a mix of Irish cream and Jameson dropped in half a pint of Guinness. That, too, is just $8! The ‘Bourbon Fall Spice’ also sounds terrific with ingredients like Old Granddad, cranberry, fall simple syrup, lime juice, and ginger ale. Have to drop by real soon!
The City of Oaks offers you drinks with one of the most fun cocktail experiences in the state. Some bars have been here for years, while others are relatively new. But each of them adds to the experience of the city. There are several breweries, wine taste rooms, and cocktail lounges here in Raleigh. You will be spoilt for choice if you’re here as a tourist. We hope that this list was helpful for you!