Fullsteam brewery serves classic and innovative beers crafted with locally farmed ingredients, including sweet potatoes, basil and grapes used in experimental recipes. The industrial, spacious brewery has plenty of room for groups, the occasional live band, arcade games, darts, and ping pong tables. Although Fullsteam does not serve food of its own, visitors are welcome to bring their own, or take advantage of the rotating cast of food trucks that park just outside the bar on most days.
C. Grace is refined, a little mysterious, and darkly fun. The bar and Jazz venue is driven by live music and commitment to elegant, creative cocktails. These are mixed with just a few, strong ingredients, and have names that recall Jazz lounge Americana, like Kelly’s Grace, Hemingway, and New York Sour. Damask curtains and dim lighting add to the sultry mood here. C. Grace is a one Raleigh’s most rarefied bars, though membership is only a dollar. Performing musicians are mostly local but rotate regularly.
Vinos Finos is a departure from run-of-the-mill drinking and dining experiences. Located inside European-themed Lafayette Village, the wine bar is designed to sample tapas-style dishes and world-class wines. The staff here is more than happy to help with wine selection and pairings. Dark woods, leather furniture, and warm colors make the interiors feel like an old-world wine shop. Vinos Finos encourages patrons to converse, and the intimate, colorful setting is doubly suited for first dates or casual business meetings.
The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is a popular house of beer and UFOs in downtown Raleigh, where flying saucers adorn the walls and ceiling. The bar offers hundreds of beers to choose from and a generous menu of classic pub fare. Visitors can aspire to join the ranks of the “Ring of Honor,” a glory given to card-carrying U.F.O Club members once they consume 200 hundred different beers. Watch out for weekend fire sales, the Draught Emporium’s day-long version of happy hour.
Located beneath King’s Royal Barcade, Neptune's Parlour is a hip underground bar that offers DJs, pinball, ping pong and arcade games. It also boasts a menu of local craft beers from mostly small North Carolina Brewers, seasonal cocktails and the very popular shot of the week. On weekends the bar is packed with dancers, and on some nights live acts play in front of the brick-walled stage. Neptune’s adds subterranean character to downtown Raleigh’s bar scene, off–or under–the beaten path.
Solas is a luxurious dance club and lounge bar on three levels. Visitors can enjoy classic cocktails and small plates on a first-floor open-air patio or the rooftop deck, which has a motorized awning and offers fine views of Glenwood South downtown district. The lounges and bar rooms are secondary to the second floor’s glass-bottom dance floor, however, which is usually crowded with revelers on weekends. Solas has private rooms and first-rate VIP service, and caters to corporate events, weddings and private parties.
Capital Club 16 pays homage to the old and new. The restaurant serves American food with European influences and is housed inside a registered historic building in downtown Raleigh. Interiors here are a salvage house of reclaimed wood and tile taken from New York restaurants, Neuse River docks, and North Carolina mills. Classic dishes with the foresight of seasonal and locally-grown ingredients fill the menu. Capital Club 16 is a fine choice for a relaxed but refined dinner, and also has a full-service bar and serves lunch and brunch.
The Pinhook is one of Durham’s favorite bars and concert venues. Known for fostering a sense of community, the bar hosts monthly events like open mic nights, karaoke parties, square dances, drag shows, and arcade game tournaments. Enjoy a beer, listen to an up and coming band, and head to the patio for fresh air. The bar is named after the settlement of Pinhook, famous for a grog shop of the same name and the rowdy, fun-loving crowd it attracted.
Alley Twenty Six is sophisticated cocktail and wine bar serving charcuterie and small plates in stylish surroundings. Locals come to the bar for the relaxing, dimly-lit atmosphere, classic cocktails, and nicely curated wine list. Attention to detail and flavor sets Ally Twenty Six apart from other contemporary cocktail bars. The team here creates one of a kind homemade syrups and tonics: think zesty cinchona bark and lemongrass syrup. The bar, which faces East Chapel Street, has a little outdoor seating on 26 Alley, from which it takes its name.
Noir is an upscale lounge bar and dance club near downtown Raleigh boasting sultry lighting, crystal chandeliers, exposed brick and plush velvet seating. The club has a vintage, ornate feel, and bills itself as an old-school European venue. The bar itself is a large room with a dance floor between lounge-seating and a beautiful black counter. In between cocktails and dancing at Noir, you can enjoy the club's front patio, which is a great vantage point for people watching.