Cape Fear Wine & Beer

BA SCORE
98
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
68
Reviews:
51
Avg:
4.49
pDev:
7.35%
 
 
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 51
Photo of Piersendcraftbee
5/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

 795 characters

Photo of HolmesBrew
5/5  rDev +11.4%

I love this place. By far the best place to go and have some great beer with an awesome atmosphere. I live in Wilmington part of the year and this place is my first and last stop every time i visit. I only wish that Western NC had a place with this magnitude of beer selection, expert advise, and prime location. CFW&B has great music and good people to talk with. I love scouring the beer selection and finding a new great beer every time. I hope lector will reconsider letting me get a beercard now. Also, the hot nuts are amazing.

 533 characters

Photo of astyndall
5/5  rDev +11.4%

I love this place. Seriously. Look for big things from this "little" Beer bar. They are moving the location less than a block up onto Front St. and it will truly be a Beer Hall. Lector and the rest of the gang have been working their arses off in renovating the new space. Pool table, 3X the bar space, Full-On Punk Rock jukebox, booths!, and fingers crossed a draft system in the near future.

Oh Yeah, did anyone mention that they have the single best (in quality) craft, import, and high gravity beer selection I've ever been privy to. They may not boast to have more than 200 beers at any given time... but any place that has that many means that they added macros and zima-clones as "filler" and they aren't turning over stock like they should.

Go have a Beer at
Cafe Fear Wine and Beer!!!

 797 characters

Photo of dcrooms
5/5  rDev +11.4%

I've been an astute patron of this place for several months now, but I do remember the first time wondering into this wee place. I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm home". Maybe it was the 220 some odd beers (now 252) and three shelves of wine that got my attention. Maybe it was Maaika and Lector coming out from behind the bar to shake hands with a new customer and help them along with their spirit-ual journey. Actually, it was all of the above. Never have I walked into an establishment and been so well received. And quite honestly, never have I decided to go anywhere else for a drink. This is a place one can go alone, and instantly have a meaningful and/or entertaining conversation with other bar patrons or those behind the counter. There are no televisions, the computer in the corner is strictly for business, and the music is on demand. Plus, Lector keeps some hot nuts back by the suit of armor for you. To conclude, but not define, CFW&B is a stellar place to purchase or just chase beer or wine. The environment and people therein are downright amiable, and thanks to the owners North Carolina has lifted the 6% APV cap on beer. This bar/store gives back.

 1,167 characters

Photo of hellhammermario
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

What can I say about CFW&B that hasn't already been said? If it were possible, I would just move my things into the bar and live out of there, haha. They ALWAYS have multiple taps worth trying. I have literally never walked into the bar and said "Eh, nothing that cool today." However, when I am not feeling a tap offering, I can choose another new classic from their bottle selection.

I could go on about the righteous tunes they play, or that Godzilla or Cool Hand Luke might be on when I go in, but the bartenders... They're just top damn notch. Megan has been recognized multiple times as THE best bartender in Wilmington, and there's certainly a reason for it! Not to knock Kris, Kelsie, or anyone else working the bar, because they are equally as great at their jobs. When they're not geeking out on beers, they'll make you laugh and just feel among friends.

I will always give my money to Cape Fear whenever I can, and so should you.

 942 characters

Photo of johntangus
5/5  rDev +11.4%

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 bunn4funn
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Lets just say Lector is the man. Everytime i need something its there or he can get it. Whats better than having a beer cooler behind you as you sit at the bar. You dont have to wait on a bartender you can simply turn around and grab what you want, show it to the barkeep and he writes it on your tab. If you dont have time to sit and chat you can almost always park right in front of the shop on the side of Water St and run in. If you mix-a-six or grab a bomber chances are they have it in the cooler. Voted best beer selection in town for 2005 its a cant miss.

 563 characters

Photo of flipdog0
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of sonnydeezy
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Sayson
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Is this the perfect bar? In my opinion, perfection, like inifinity, is nebulous, so it's hard to say. I would say that the ownership of this establishment does what it seeks to do perfectly and for that all 5s are warranted.

I had as much fun here as I had at Sunshine Grill in Boston. Paying liquor store prices for beer at a bar is also a treat. In the evening I spent there, I had several beers yet my bill was only $17. This place should not be missed by any BA who ventures within 250 miles of Wilmington.

I visited Cape Fear Wine and Beer on a Thursday night. The crowd was light, but extremely friendly. I entered as a stranger and exited as a Beer Knight with a strong desire to return. Unfortunately, I was only in town for one night.

Beer Knighthood comes from a beer trivia game that features tastings and beer-related questions. This is a lot of fun and is a great vehicle to introduce newbies to craft beer.

The selection wider at a handful (namely Brawley's & Sam's) of liquor stores in the state, but I am confident that CFW&B has the widest selection in the area within 150 miles. To me, a 300 bottle beer list is useless if the stock never turns over. Fresh beer is key. Lector moves a lot of bottles and is on top of getting the latest entries into our burgeoning beer market.

This place is a real gem. It's one of the best dives I've found. I hope to return soon.

 1,402 characters

Photo of buckobrock
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Stumbled upon a gem today during a business trip. I didn't exactly know what I was getting myself into, I had just seen this place listed on Beer Advocate. Walked in today around 3:00 P.M. to browse around. I was not expecting there to be a bar. Bad news, haha. I asked the bartender what was on draft today. His response: "Old Rasputin on cask". I'm sure I looked a little goofy when my reply came out as a stutter. So I sat down and enjoyed my Ol' Raspy. The bartender was very knowledgeable, and we discussed several different types of beer. The store had a very nice selection, and I picked up two Highland Imperial Kashmirs - which, by the way, you can't find here in Raleigh anymore.

To give a little more description: I've never really seen anything like this. Maybe I'm just a little deprived, but the place is essentially a small bar with several refrigerators with all sorts of beer. Anything from Bell's to Dogfish Head to Avery and some Weyerbacher. It was a great little place to sit down and have a good conversation about some good beer with some Wilmington locals.

It was a great experience, and I'll be certain to go back the next time I'm in Wilmington.

 1,175 characters

Photo of EverettHervey
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

A Wilmington staple, don't come for a visit without stopping by. It's not by accident that they get such high ratings.

118 characters

Photo of CaptCleveland
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Lector is the man! In town for a wedding and found this gem via BA's beer travel directory. Everything previously written is true. Enjoyed the recommended Wolaver's certified organic IPA at the bar and some good news about the initiative to repeal the 6% alcohol ban (should be voted on within the month). Considering the previously mentioned ban on beer above 6%, the selection was incredible. There were a plethora of beers available and Lector and I discussed many of our favorite brews (and punk bands).

 507 characters

Photo of kvnklingler
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of remllof
5/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

 676 characters

Photo of xehtfodrol
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Pitmonkey
4.94/5  rDev +10%
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 +10%
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 Hellmanc
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of obiwantedj
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
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 writteninwax
4.89/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Ryan15237
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Gootch78
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
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 Brewstradamus
4.86/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Great bar with amazing tap/bottle list. I made it on their "beer class" night where you get a draft of their featured beer style and you get to keep the glass. Had some cool bar games- darts, arcade, pool. Despite what it says here you can get beer to-go. I stocked up on some local beers to take home while I was in. The bartender was helpful and nice.

 353 characters

Photo of Burnsy22
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
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

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Cape Fear Wine & Beer in Wilmington, NC
4.49 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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