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Cape Fear Wine & Beer

Your Rating: None
BA SCORE
4.56/5
World-Class
68 Ratings
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Beer-to-go

139 N Front St
Wilmington, North Carolina, 28401-3944
United States

(910) 763-3377 | map
capefearwineandbeer.net

Notes:
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PLACE STATS
Reviews:
51
Ratings:
68
pDev:
12.06%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 51
Photo of obiwantedj
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I wandered into CFW&B in late 2009 looking for a German beer I had while traveling in Baveria. It was a life changer. Their 19 rotating taps are constantly changing and always interesting.
It's the people that work there that makes the place so enjoyable. They laid-back, friendly and often hilariously funny. But they are all walking encyclopedias of beer knowledge as the cicerone certs on the wall attests. They are not only smart but they love to talk about beer. Most are home brewers. I guess you could say they are passionate about and enjoy sharing that with others. If you add some of my favorite quirky movies and a range of punk music, it's just a cool place to be. In fact I feel beer-thirty time coming on. I'm headed down there now!

 747 characters

Photo of BeahDrinkah
4.04/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

An afternoon visit, a couple of pours while perusing the beer availability list and tourist info rags. We're listening to punk tunes and hanging out in front of the entrance - a great perch to people-watch from. It's a bit dark inside, but take your time, let your eyes adjust and zero in on your brew of choice - they likely have it!

 334 characters

Photo of KitesBeer
4/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Good spot to drink good beer. beers are however pricey as they are in most well established places. the offer mostly draft beer, but do have a small to medium size selection of bottles to take home with ya. overall a good place to drink at! Make sure to sit outside on the back porch overlooking the wilmington harbor!

 318 characters

Photo of youradhere
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Ambiance is dark wood basement, but in a nice way, punk rock decorates the walls, cold refers with beer to go face you as you sit at the bar. I got to pick out TSOL, Misfits, and DK on the jukebox, with plenty more of the same caliber available. The Young Ones was on TV. Fuck, this is the type of bar I would like to have if I were to do it. Choice of beer was the only thing I dinged the place for, and that goes hand in hand with quality, as to be outstanding in that area you have to seriously blow me away. This place is a must visit, and I didn't feel the least bit bad for dropping 50 bones. Service was top notch, dude behind the counter was knowledgable without it turning into a dick measuring contest to prove your worthiness of being there. I will definitely revisit before I leave, and hope to return again some day!

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Photo of writteninwax
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is essentially my "third place" as in , its not home where I sleep, or the office where I work, but its someplace I go to every week and usually 2 or 3 times. The atmostphere is good and always slowly evolving as it should, This location didnt open up all deocrated perfectly, its probably its imperfections and that it sort of grows and changes as the owners add or tinker. When I usually go its not crowded, but it can get really busy later at night and on the weekends for sure. The jukebox is punk and ska and the regulars range from heavily pierced and tatted, to the business man in khakis and ties and regardless of the rest of the atmosphere, its really about three things, the beer, the people and the beer.

The beer is really of good quality, variety and selection is fantastic. Hundreds of bottles and about 20 rotating taps. Unless you are looking for a bud light (which you can only get on April 1st) they probably can find you something to drink you will love. You really just have to go and see...

The people are awesome too, one of the barkeeps was voted best in wilmington and they all really know their stuff about beer and really wine too. They dont have food, but its cool to get pizza or a sub from nearby and eat it there!.

I would just score it a 5 across teh board but im guessing they will just get better as time goes on and I may want to review them again.

 1,399 characters

Photo of Onenote81
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Was in town this last weekend and this place was on my "must-stop" list. Went down on Friday afternoon and most of the bar area was full already. Maybe it was the sunny day outside, but this place seemed really dark. The large cooler section behind the bar was a little difficult to see. A huge chalkboard greeted us with all of the taps listed though, so that was nice. Service was friendly and helpful. They carried a great number of bottles in addition to their taps, and from what I hear, you can purchase for carry-out. Very cool. We didn't get anything to go this time, but nice to know we can do that. A great bar for sure, one of the best I have been to in NC.

 668 characters

Photo of Burnsy22
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I've been to Cape Fear Wine and Beer around a half-dozen times since moving to NC. I wish I lived a lot closer to Wilmington so that I could go a lot more.

The first few times my wife and I went to Wilmington, we walked right by the place. The crowd looked a little younger than us, and generally resembled a punk rock rabble. I'm so glad we actually decided to go in. We have been in love with the place ever since.

The bar is beautiful and the beer selection is enough to simultaneously bring on anxiety and joy to most beer lovers and dabblers alike. The selection rotates often, but generally a sampling of most beer types is available even if it isn't your current favorite. On most occasions I walk in looking for my “old standby” and leave with several new favorites.

The vintage looking posters on the walls and dim (yet not too dim) lighting also bring some wonderful atmosphere to the interior. I especially like the poster referencing prohibition in NC as tyranny. This place oozes character with the décor, the staff, and the local crowd.

The best part of the bar is the staff. The bartenders know their beer. Every one of them takes their job seriously and knows the products they sell. At the same time, they are very fun and friendly people. Even though they are extremely knowledgeable, they never come off as beer elitists or talk down to the less knowledgeable. I always feel like I am learning when I go there and am introduced to a new beer. But, it is far more like a good friend suggesting a great beer than a math professor force feeding you advanced calculus while staring down at you over his spectacles.

Even if Wilmington was a backwater ghost town, I would still paddle on down the Cape Fear just to come drink a few rounds at Cape Fear Beer and Wine. I give it my highest recommendation and suggest you stop in for a pint if your in the Wilmington, NC area.

 1,900 characters

Photo of VaterRoss
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This is quite simply my favorite place to drink in Wilmington.

The atmosphere is great: punk music from the jukebox, wood everywhere (cedar bar!), variety of beer related signage. Brings in a nice mixed crowd that tends to be in late 20s range. Appropriate amount of lighting dim, but not seedy. There is a nice, but somewhat limited section of seating that includes bar-style outdoor seating on the entrance patio and booth-like table for larger groups. Only during peak hours in the summer will you find yourself standing.

Bartenders know what is on tap and in bottles and can make recommendations based on first hand knowledge. They are also friendly, never have I gotten the vibe of beer snobbery. In the summer it can get a bit busy but I've never had problems getting to bar or waiting longer than a few minutes to be served.

There are usually 19 beers on tap and hundreds of bottles in the coolers, did I mention that you can also buy beer to take-away? Selection of draft beer is highly seasonal and always rotating, often daily. Rarely will you see the same beer on draft twice, and I have yet to encounter a stinker. This is not a mega-bar with hundreds on tap and thousands of bottles: the difference is that Cape Fear only has good stuff.

Only negatives I can think of is that the price is a bit more (dollar or two) than other bars in town. I find that the selection, quality bartenders, and awesome atmosphere more than make up for the extra dollar or two you pay per pint. There are no other bars of this caliber in SE NC.

 1,542 characters

Photo of Piersendcraftbee
5/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My girlfriend and I are very frequent customers of Cape Fear Wine & Beer. We really enjoy the selection of beers and the knowledge of the staff is incredible. The staff members are always friendly and willing to offer suggestions when we aren't sure what we want to drink. The various events that take place throughout the week keep us coming back. On Tuesday nights there is trivia where you can win beer. Thursday nights are Randall Infusion night, Lector always has a tasty concoction to try. Sundays are Beer Church, we really love this one. You get to keep the glassware of the featured beer. We have quite a nice collection at home.

Overall Cape Fear is in our opinion the best craft beer bar in Wilmington. Thanks to Maaike, Lector, Chris, Megan, Josh and TC. Keep up the good work guys.

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Photo of SactownChad
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I made it a point to stay near Cape Fear Wine and Beer on our recent summer Vacation to North Carolina. Being within stumbling distance we were free to sample the beers and the atmosphere at this wonderful establishment.

The first thing I noticed about CFW&B when compared to our local (Sacramento, CA) tap houses is how dark it is. This I like! I don't want to drink beer in a coffee house or a cafe, I want to drink beer in a bar with punk rock and ska on the jukebox! This is just what you get at CFW&B!

The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and are generous with the tastings. The beer selection is fantastic and always changing. I was introduced to a few beers here that I can't get back in California. They even had more Stone brews than we can get back home, and they are a California brewery!

Favorite beers we tried: Duck Rabbit Milk Stout, Flying Dog "Horn Dog" and Bell's "Two Hearted" which we can't get at all back home.

I can't recommend this place enough. I only wish there were something similar near me!

 1,037 characters

Photo of Culturalremedy
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Outstanding place. Went on vacation to Wilmington this past weekend and stumbled upon this gem. I'd say close to 20 taps (including mead) and a cask selection as well.

The bottled selection filled two large coolers and they offer a "make your own six pack" carry out. The don't offer everything under the sun, but the selection is wide and varied and you'll always find something new and interesting to try.

The atmosphere is great with plenty of room and great conversation going on. The staff was amazing and knowledgeable. Even remembered our names and favorite beers when we returned the second night.

If you're in Wilmington and you're looking for a place to get your beer fix, this is the best choice.

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Photo of beerslushy
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

A very straight forward craft beer bar. Huge selection of top shelf brews. A few local beers on tap. Old Rasputin on a cask. Lot's of taps and a large bottle selection. Very knowledgeable bar staff. Quite reasonably priced. Three pints and a bottle of water were $14. It make no pretentions about what it is. The atmosphere is strictly beer and wine. I don't believe they even sell BMC. Beer conversations were both interesting and infomative. There's no food and no fancy decorations. Fantastic jukebox if you like old punk and ska. This is a "must try" place if you are in the area.

 584 characters

Photo of Gootch78
4.88/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My wife and I were in Wilmington for the weekend. As we usually do, we surfed Beer Advocate before heading out on the town. When we saw a place with an A+ rating with over 30 reviews, it was a no brainer.

The bar tender, Megan, lit up when she realized were were real beer lovers. She even allowed for a 9 flute sampling (typically a Thursday night thing) and then wrote down all the names of each beer while tending a full bar.

I even found a new favorite summer beer, the Weeping Radish, by Black Radish. Don't forget to buy a mixed sixer of your favorite selections before leaving, their carry out selection of bottles is impressive. Oh, and if you're looking for mead on tap, they even have that too!

Cheers

 716 characters

Photo of Pitmonkey
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I was in Wilmington for work and found this place online before arriving. It was the biggest hit in Wilmington for our group and we had an absolute blast here.

Taps - I didn't count them but trying to remember I'd guess they have 20 taps and there isn't a lame duck. They also had mead on tap which was delicious. They do a really nice job hitting up the prime regional selections from all over the place, they had Bruery, Bells, Weeping Radish, Victory, and DFH to name a few. It was really great seeing our group of a dozen or so try just about every tap as well as hitting up on the bottle selection.

Bottles - they sell bottles in store or you can make a six pack to go. Here again the (two?) refrigerator cases were packed with premo stuff, they don't offer everything from any one brewery, but they cover just about any style you are looking for with solid selections from the best places.

They have a couple of video games, a pool table, an nice outside spot for smoking (or catching the scene on Front Street), they had something going on every night of the week and this place makes me want to visit Wilmington again.

The servers were awesome, friendly and knowledgeable.

Great place!

 1,201 characters

Photo of mayorQuimby
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I visited Cape Fear Wine and Beer on July 24th, 2010. Make a yearly trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, and flew in and out of Wilmington. Since I was catching the red eye on Sunday morning stayed in Wilmington on a Saturday evening, checked out BA upon arrival and found Cape Fear on the site and was there within a few minutes. This was an AWESOME place.

First of all, we arrived there mid afternoon so it wasn't too busy and struck up conversation with one of the owners, Lector. He was an awesome dude, really knew is stuff, was willing to discuss everything and as I was there with my dad who doesn't drink craft at all, he took a lot of time to help my dad find things he liked and offered him samples of different things that were on tap.

To begin, I had some stuff from Duck Rabbit, which we don't get in the midwest, which was awesome, and my dad had a Bell's Poolside on draft, which was really cool considering the only time I'd seen it was at a beerfest in Indy. We tried several beers over the course of our visit including a Mead they had on draft, some Saison Dupont, Duck Rabbit RIS, etc. My recollection is a bit fuzzy as we were there for hours and had several different beers. My non-craft drinking father was thrilled about this place and a month later still raves about how awesome it was, and honestly I cannot disagree. It was a great time, cool atmosphere, awesome hospitality, exceptional beers.

This place is really more of a bar with a carry out option on all their bottles, thus the possible slightly higher prices. That said, it was substantially cheaper than a bar and maybe only a little more expensive than a store. We were thrilled with the cost, thought it was very fair, and I bought some local stuff to bring back to Indiana with me before we left.

Lector, if you remember the golfers that came in one night about a month ago, the father and son, we really appreciate the great experience, wish your business well, and are 100% certain to visit again next summer when we come back. Thanks a lot!

 2,027 characters

Photo of dnolan36
4/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Just visited the Wilmington area on vacation at the beach. Had read about this place before I left and did make an effort to check it out. I was a little disappointed that all the beer is behind the bar and not against the other wall as shown online. They did have a beer list but for me I enjoy looking at the beer in a case. That being said, they do have a good selection of beer. The prices tend to be a lot higher than other stores I have been to with the same selection. For better prices checkout Lighthouse Beer & Wine on Wrightsville Beach.

The major plus about this place is the employees are very nice and knowledgeable about the beers they offer. They also have a bar that you can sit at while reviewing the menu of beer for things you may want to take with you. So as I reviewed the menu I got to enjoy a pint of Avery's Maharaja that they had on tap. I ended up not picking up anything to take with me because of the prices.

 938 characters

Photo of kneeland
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

I don't have a whole lot to say, except that this place does have the best beer selection in town. So I'll attempt 500 characters here. They changed locations last year, which is a very good thing because now it's on Front St along with all of the other bars and clubs. It's also larger, and that's always a plus. Other than that, there's really not much to the place.

It seems that they set out to have the best and largest beer selection, and they succeeded. I always get to choose several different types of beer when I'm in there, and I really like that.

 559 characters

Photo of troywhittaker
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Made a trip into Wilmington specifically to shop at this place. I was up in NC on vacation and had been looking for a place to acquire some beers out of my home market.

Wow was I surprised.

Bruery, Duck-Rabbit, Highland, Stone and others available. I was excited to find some Rogue and Thomas Creek beers not available in my area.

This is basically a bar with coolers behind the counter. The beers are well-organized and it's more like a personal shopping appointment with the owner/bartender helping you out with selections and making recommendations.

This turned out to be a fruitful trip as I snagged a 4pk of KBS, which was my primary target.

Be warned that Front Street is all torn up so you'll need to plan transport/pickup of your purchases accordingly. There's a free parking garage 1 block south and east.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This was stop number one on my little tour of downtown Wilmington one day after work. There was a shitload of construction going on so parking was a bit of a nightmare. Luckily, on my third lap, I was able to procure a spot just in front of the bar. Yes.

I was immediately greeted by some punk music, that was a little loud for my tastes. It was hard to communicate with the bartender when the music was that loud. I was the only person in the joint so I guess it didnt really matter. I didnt want to be some old fart and say "Hey there missy, could you turn the music down? Its too loud for my ears."

The selection was quite impressive. The beer I was excited about was Bells 9000, on draft! It was $6 for a 12oz pour so it was a bit expensive, but it was well worth it. They also had Brooklyn, Victory Donnybrook on cask, and like three others that escape me at the moment.

The bottle selection was quite impressive as well. The bartender was just unloading some Rogue Double Mocha Porter and High Seas Chocolate Stout. There were plenty of other beers to choose from as well. Definitely the best selection in Wilmington.

The bartender was quite nice and she was very knowledgable about the beer. I will definitely be back next time I am in Wilmington.

 1,259 characters

Photo of Aaron420
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I made my way into this place for the first time last week, went there early in the afternoon thinking it was just going to be a beer store. Little did I know it was actually a bar and a store. So like any beer lover I decided to sit down and enjoy a tasty brew while deciding what I was going to take home with me. The staff were extremely helpful, since I was there while they were trying to stock the coolers especially. I enjoyed a Bell's Hopslam (if you haven't tried this one yet you need to) and a Terrapin Hopsecutioner. The Hopslam is an amazing beer which I have had before but couldn't get it anymore in my home shop due to the fact they ran out. The Terrapin made me happy being from Georgia and not seeing it since I moved to North Carolina, I was oh so happy to finally get to have one again. So back to the bar it is a decent sized bar with a great atmosphere and great staff, can't wait to go back again.

 920 characters

Photo of bobschmenge
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I stopped by while on vacation from DC due to high marks on BeerFly - I was not disappointed. The set up was pretty unusual - much more of a bar with the beer fridges set up behind - this makes it more difficult to make a selection, but the owners are more than happy to help and very knowledgeable. I was greeted by a regular who reflected the friendly atmosphere. The beer selection was on par with what is available in Washington, but spectacular for Wilmington. I ended up buying a mixed six as I did not have time to belly up and have a pint (Stone 13th Anniversary on tap was impressive!). This is definitely THE place to go for great beer while in Wilmington.

 666 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Located right up the street from Front Street Brewery, this is a great place to pick up some beer before heading into South Carolina. When you enter the place it looks like a bar, since there is a pool table, foosball table, loud music, and a nice bar with a few beers on tap. But it is more of a beer store, since there is a great selection of beer available in six packs or singles. Being from the Philly region, not a lot of surprises here, but for those in the area this is a gold mine. I walked away with some Ska Brewing and Highland Brewing beers.

Before I left, I decided to pull up a stool and have a pint of the Duck-Rabbit Doppelbock which was phenominal. The bartender / storekeeper was friendly and was very knowledgable about his offerings. Prices are a bit expensive, but it is located in Wilmington.

If you are in town, stop in and pick up some beers and maybe hang to have a pint or two.

 908 characters

Photo of johntangus
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Four of us made a pilgrimage from North Myrtle Beach to CFW&B on Sunday. We were thrilled.

In SC, our selection is getting better daily, but we wanted to go to a place that holds craft beer in high esteem and has the variety that we so sorely lack. So, we made the trip over the border into NC.

This place is fantastic. From the photos on the website (of their old location), I was expecting more of a beer store, but was instead treated to more of a bar with an outstanding selection to also purchase and take home. The decor showcased the many wonderful craft beers they offered - not a bud light girl or corona sign to be found. Great music, pool table and comfortable seats.

Our bartender, Roger, was extremely nice, patient and knowledgeable. Being like a kid in a candy store, i ran him ragged - to each refrigerator pulling bottles to show us - and he told us about all of the beers that we asked about - which were a lot. All the beers were poured into fresh glasses which were style appropriate.

They had Stone 13 on tap, along with Duck Rabbit Dopplebock (which i had and it was great) and many others that i didn't get to try and cannot remember.

We split a bottle of Rasputin XII, which was a real treat. We also split a Ska Decadent. I had the Dopplebock as well. Unfortunately, we still had to drive the 50 or so miles back home, so we had to finish our beers and hit the road. But not before getting out to-go order. I had compiled a dream list of their beers that i was interested in. Roger asked to see it - and then proceeded to price it out. I got a great deal on 15 beers, including some DFH, which we do not get in SC for at least another year or so. I was able to get everything on my list.

My fridge is stocked, my wallet isn't completely empty and i have a smile on my face. We are already planning our next trip over the border to CFW&B.

 1,870 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%

This is more a bar with carry out prices than a beer store, but a nice stop none the less.

The beers consumed on premises & off were fresh.

The service was friendly & helpful.

Selection wise a tale of two cities, a great bottle selection, even then there were only a small number I've yet to try. The taps selection wasn't impressive at all, went there on a Tuesday. Only a dozen beers pouring and none were worth getting excited about.

Value-wise: Good pricing for sit down consumption, but pricey for take away: $17 for a 4 pack of double simcoe.

This place had a nice beer vibe with the exception of the cigarette smoke, 3 people in there it still smelled like an ashtray. Since they didn't allow kids, I could only stay for one beer. My timing was apparently off by 4 days, Saturday they were scheduled to be serving up some barrel aged foothills. I can't give them credit for beer I didn't see but would happily visit again if in the area

 948 characters

Photo of remllof
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Just went down there yesterday for the first time. After realizing the old place was closed I went right over to front street and found the new location. I was only planning on stopping by and buying a six pack of beer. Then after having some Poet oatmeal stout I found out he still had some Hop Slam still on tap for about how much I could find a bottle for. Next thing I knew I was hanging around there for about five hours. The new place has a great feel to it. And the owner knows his beer and is happy to pass on his knowledge. He was also in on getting the North Caronlina beer percentage from 10 to 15%. This is defenatly going to be one of my regular spots for now on.

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Cape Fear Wine & Beer in Wilmington, NC
Place rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 68 ratings
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