One of the many reasons Raleigh attracts many young professionals to the area – aside from the great workplaces – is the vibrant nightlife. However, there are many different establishments that it can be difficult to wade through all of the options, including the many college bars you’d rather not visit. Though there are many fantastic places to have fun in the city, here are some of the best upscale bars to enjoy a delectable drink, unique atmosphere, and great company.
The Busy Bee Cafe
The Busy Bee Cafe is known as one of the best craft beer bars that Downtown Raleigh has to offer. They have several dozens of beers on tap, as well as many bottled brands to choose from as well. If you’re intimidated by the idea of having such a wide selection, don’t fear! The helpful and friendly waitstaff are more than qualified to help you pick the best beer for you. The Busy Bee has actually been rated one of the Best 100 Beer Bars in American by Draft Magazine.
Despite being famous for its vast beer selection, the unique craft cocktails can’t be overlooked. The locally made American eats are delectable, varying from bar eats – Tater Tot Burgers and Beer Cheese – to the more sophisticated dishes like Pan-Seared Bass. Add a fantastic venue with intimate bar and beautiful rooftop patio and you have a fantastic place to spend your Downtown Raleigh evening.
C Grace is a burlesque-inspired speakeasy club nestled in the heart of Glenwood South. The distinct ambiance here is transporting and magical, from the elaborate vintage decor to the live jazz bands filling the room with the smooth notes of the saxophone. Of course, no jazz club would be complete without a refined craft cocktail menu that puts a new spin on classic favorites like a Whiskey Sour or Negroni.
However, the beer selection is nothing to shrug at. The bartenders and servers are noted for their prompt service and vast knowledge of their menus. If you’re looking to sink into a plush sofa with an Old Fashioned in your hand and let the sound of beautiful jazz wash over you, you’ve found the right place!
The Flying Saucer
Known for its extensive craft beer menu and its generous UFO Club Membership, The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is one of Raleigh’s most beloved bars in The Warehouse District. This bar offers hundreds of both domestic and imported beers, making it a must-visit for craft beer lovers. After drinking a whopping 220 beers here, you get a gold plate baring your name displayed proudly on the bar’s wall. Building your own beer flight is also a popular option here.
Keep in mind that their cocktails and wine selections are not to be forgotten. The menu is filled with delicious and affordable foods, mostly upscale bar fare. The decor is eclectic and hip, with both a lively bar area, lounge couches near the front of the space, and great outdoor seating. The atmosphere is similar to that of a pub, but with an eclectic spin. Because of its wide variety of both food and drink selections, the crowd is diverse and has a very calm vibe.
The Fox Liquor Bar
The Fox Liquor Bar is an upscale cocktail bar in Downtown Raleigh that plays with its unique industrial setting to create a hip, trendy atmosphere for guests. The menu contains only 11 craft cocktails, which are – according to many – so refined and artfully designed, that they are really all you need to enjoy great drinks. If you’re a choosier drinker, most Fox regulars recommend putting the (wonderfully detailed) cocktail menu aside and asking the bartenders what they could craft to suit your personal tastes. Their knowledge and expertise (as well as snazzy dress) is sure to impress.
Their small plates menu is also quite impressive, with tapas-like dishes like cured meats, craft cheeses, and olive spreads. Complete with large leather sofas, rough “underground” vibe, and strong drinks, The Fox Liquor Bar is by far one of the trendiest spots in Raleigh. Keep in mind however that it’s a small place and getting in late on a Friday night can be a challenge.
The Raleigh Times
Not only is The Raleigh Times housed in the restored Raleigh Times office building , but also has a neo-industrial interior covered with old Raleigh Times newspaper clippings. It’s an atmosphere unlike any other. Located right in Downtown Raleigh, the drinks and food here are rightfully acclaimed for their variety and quality.
Aside from creating a notable Bloody Mary and other cocktails, The Raleigh Times boasts a generous beer list, containing over 55 Belgian imports and a number of local craft beers. The menu features many fresh-made bar favorites. Unlike many other bars, the fabulous food can be ordered up until 2am, saving you the trip to late night diners to satisfy the drunk munchies.
Solas is a fabulous restaurant and nightclub in Glenwood South that offers three different settings at one spectacular location. Level one is the main restaurants with patio, while level two is a lounge and dance club with unique translucent floor and level three is a heated roof deck with comfy cabana seating. Solas can be a fantastic destination for your night out, whether you’re looking for a nice dinner, amazing music, or intimate conversation and drinks.
The Solas restaurant offers “New American” style cuisine, which infuses many other types of food styles together to make for a unique dining experience. However, the are not to be overshadowed by their specialty cocktails, fantastic DJs, and intimate lounge feel. Elegant seating and ambient lighting define the upscale ambiance to Solas.
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