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 Gavage
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of GJ40
4.22/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A truly authentic and impressive beer bar. They offer quite a few on tap and lots more in the bottle. They had a sour promo going on and we got to sample several from Cascade. I also putchased a couple of bottles to take home. Technically it's a bottle shop too but everything's behind the bar so it's not really set up for that. This is a fantastic place and a must stop in historic Wilmington!

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Photo of Mantooth
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Hands down - the best place to grab a beer in Wilmington. It's got that great dive bar vibe that I love, especially when you get to the back and see a stellar lineup of drafts. The bartender was a blast to talk to - every bit the beer geek I am. Killer beer. Killer service. Killer vibe.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.05/5  rDev -9.8%

Cape Fear Wine & Beer is located next to the river on Water Street in Wilmington. It is a pretty nice location and not too difficult to find with the right address.

The store is basically more of a beer store than a wine store with no hot beers in the store, everything is in the cold case on the side wall. The quality appears high, I did not see any layers of dust and most everything is well cared for. You can do mix sixers if you want, and I believe if you had a favorite no in stock, that Lector would try to get it for you.

Lector keeps the place clean, but it was smoky as a BBQ pit in the place. Also it might be a bit of a speakeasy, shhh, don't tell. They also are ready to endorse Pop The Cap for NC to help get the laws changed.

The selection could be a bit better, and with a law change might actually be oustanding.

 839 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%

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 Onenote81
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
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 zimm421
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Highbury09
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of kvnklingler
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Ohiovania
3.5/5  rDev -22%

Photo of chippo33
1.25/5  rDev -72.2%

Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

This place is lowly lit and reminds me a bit of a mix between a record shop, a punk rock club, and a transplanted smoke shop cafe from Amsterdam...but they have a decent selection of brews. The quality was very good. Everything was fresh and there was obviously a good turnaround on the brews within the coolers on the right hand side.
The service was actually exceptional as the gentleman behind the counter with the beard could see I was an out of towner and he was more than helpful in helping me put together a few mix and match 6 packs and recommending some decent ones that I had never had. He was even helpful in getting us to Myrtle Beach by pointing us in the right direction to shave some time off of our route.
The selection was good. There was stuff that I have never encountered before such as beers from The Mash, SKA, Duck Rabbit, Highland among several others.
Price wasn't too shabby. I got two big bottles thrown into my 2 mixed six packs and I think the total was $24. Not bad, considering the large bottles alone were labeled at $4.50 each before the discounted 6 pack.

 1,092 characters

Photo of Umbra
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%

I have to travel to Wilmington for work about once or twice a year. Besides the fact that the Hilton is on the riverfront and a quick drive to where I need to go, it is also within stumbling distance of the best bar in town (and from what I've seen the general several county area). The area restaurants are tourist traps that might have a brew or two on tap. The bars in the area cater to the Miller Lite college crowd. Cape Fear is the beer geek spot that you'll need

The selection mentioned in previous posts says it all. Service? I've spent a couple of nights with just Lector and the bartender drinking, talking, listening to music. Mention "pop the cap" and thank the folks for their hard work.

Overall: This place is perfect. take some to go for the hotel room, pool or Wrightsville Beach. This is a must stop location.

 828 characters

Photo of flipdog0
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of kristougher
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of beerslushy
4.74/5  rDev +5.6%
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 DCgolfpro
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Vibe - Clean and comfortable with an extremely friendly staff. Felt like it was transplanted from Portland, Oregon

Quality - If it hits distribution, they're going to get it. Prices were good as well

Service - Couldn't ask for anything more

Selection - They do as well as they can. Compared to my home town and surrounding areas, the abv content they're allowed to carry prevents them from getting some stuff, but that's certainly not their fault.


Overall, the only thing that could make this better is if you could see the bottle selection itself instead of a menu. For me personally it feels easier to miss things they have in stock when I'm looking at a menu instead of being able to actually see the selection. I'm not sure that's legal for a beer bar in NC but it would have made me happier.

 802 characters

Photo of Devil_Doc
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of George1005
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of aleyeast
3.95/5  rDev -12%

Where to start? I was looking forwaqrd to this place after reading the reviews, I pictured a place similiar to Papago in Scottsdale, AZ. To be fair, I had already stopped at Wineseller for some package goods to bring home and had dinner at Front Street. So, I had a good and bad experience (in that order) in Wilmington prior. To break it down:

First, it is not close to being Papago, but then I think few will ever be. Very small with most of the store faced with cooler doors. Some comfortable seating up front and a few stools. I had my children with me so I opted for carryout. We were welcomed to look around and we did not get any scorned looks for having children. As for selection, I have to say I was disappointed after the reviews. There were a few beers I had not had prior so that is where my choices went. Bison Stout, LC 8 Ball Stout, SKA Decadence IPA, Mash house hoppy hour and one I forget. The bartender was extremely nice and told me to get two more after I had brought four to the register because I would get a discount. $15 for 6 beers and one was a 22 oz falls somewere between bar and package store. The selections were quite varied with no concentrations in one style or country. Gulden Draak was in the four packs so that was refreshing to see. A little too much space seems devoted to the bigs, but we all have to pay bills.

All in all, if you are in town, by all means stop by, but it is definitely not a destination

 1,450 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.65/5  rDev -18.7%

Stopped by this past Saturday. Two of their coolers were broke down which limited their selection. Helpful people and I mentioned BA. Good pricing on singles and NC brews were well-represented. They had a good selection of micros and some imports. Found a nice Dunkel Weisse from Germany I had never seen before. Someone mentioned the music being played in a previous review and they had just put on Alice in Chains' Dirt so props to that. Very cool people who liked talking and respecting beer. Right down on the waterfront, easy to find. Cheers

 546 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 doppelmeup
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

This is a great little beer and wine store down by the waterfront in Wilmington, that also has a bar.

The bartender, Nick, was very friendly and helpful. There was a very nice selection of craft brews, especially for a small store, and also given that this was a Sunday afternoon and he was sold out of a lot of different beers from the weekend.

He allowed me to mix and match a six-pack and also lended his advice when I asked him about several of the brews. He was quite knowledgeable about the beer as well.

I appreciated his help and friendliness and would recommend to anyone, especially all you BA'ers, to stop by his store when in Wilmington.

 658 characters

Photo of youradhere
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
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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Cape Fear Wine & Beer in Wilmington, NC
4.49 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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