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Visiting the Coastal Southeast, looking for recommendations (specifics inside)

Discussion in 'South-Atlantic' started by Maction, May 22, 2013.

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  1. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    My wife and I will be vacationing in the Coastal Southeast next week. We’re looking for recommendations on bars/pub/restaurants.

    We’ll be spending a few days in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, a couple days in Charleston, then Wilmington, Savannah, and maybe Myrtle Beach.

    • Our ideal spot would have great local beers, but a nice selection of U.S. craft and imports would be nice as well
    • Fresh local cuisine would also be great, as we’ll be hitting more pubs and restaurants than stand-alone bars.
    • We prefer few or no TV’s, and no pounding club music.
    • We tend to prefer pubs over sports bars.
    • We don’t mind spending a little extra on food and drink to have a unique experience.
    • Both of us like wilds/sours, fresh IPAs, session beers on cask, and really anything done well.
    • We’re kind of burned out on brewery tours.
    • Not interested in bringing anything home, so no bottle shops unless they have a bar attached.

  2. PackPride

    PackPride Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I've lived in Raleigh my whole life, so I know one or two places that you might like:

    Downtown Raleigh:
    * Highly recommend Busy Bee Cafe, and Raleigh Times Bar/Restaurant on Wilmington Street. Both have a great beer menu, and their food is fantastic.
    * On Fayetteville Street, one block to the west of Wilmington Street, there is The Oxford Gastropub, and if you're willing to pay a little more, I would highly suggest Bolt Bistro & Bar one block north of The Oxford Gastropub.
    * Now, if you travel about 3-4 blocks to the west over in the Warehouse district, there is some really good finds over there that I highly suggest. Firstly, you must, and I do mean YOU MUST go to The Pit if you want NC style food, mainly barbecue. Across the street from The Pit is a renovated train station that has a great Italian restaurant called Tuscan Blu. Also in that row of restaurants/shops there is a great bottle shop called Tasty Beverage Inc. I know you weren't looking to carry anything home, but figured I throw it out there to ya.

    Out of Downtown Raleigh:
    If you go north of Raleigh on Glenwood Avenue you will find a treasure of a restaurant that we have been going to forever called Angus Barn. I know the name sounds off, but trust me on this you won't be disappointed. It's one of those places I suggest getting there an hour early before your reservation, and go upstairs and enjoy a drink in the Turkey Lounge, and enjoy some free cheese and crackers that are out of this world good. It is a bit pricey, and you should probably dress up a little bit, but you'll have a great night there.

    As far as other places around Raleigh there are plenty, and I'm sure others will jump on board and fill you in. But those are the places that I would suggest for anyone spending a few days in Raleigh. Cheers!
    Maction likes this.
  3. PackPride

    PackPride Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I didn't see your Savannah stop as well, that's a home away from home for me. Definitely go to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, The Olde Pink House, Jazz'd Tapas Bar (Definitely get the meal for two, it's awesome), Tubby's Seafood (get a table out on the deck looking over the river), and the list goes on. Really I could go for days on Savannah/Raleigh combined. Enjoy your trip!
    Maction likes this.
  4. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Thanks so much for both of your posts! :grinning:
  5. uncccegr

    uncccegr Initiate (182) Apr 28, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Wilmington, NC chiming in.

    For restaurants with good local beer check out Front Street Brewery and Smoke BBQ downtown. Front Street makes all their own brews and are venturing into barrel aged things now as well. Smoke has 40 beer taps, a fair amount of which are NC locals. For a great beer selection, although with an interesting crowd to accompany it, you should check out Cape Fear Wine and Beer as well. The bartenders there really know their stuff. They are also downtown. All three are within a block or two of one another and a couple minute walk to the waterfront. If you want to drive a couple minutes from there, Satellite is a pretty nice beer joint, although a bit hipsterish and with less than great seating if there is a crowd.

    There is a lot of great restaurants in Wilmington but their beer selections are usually rather limited, if you are interested in hearing about any of those just shoot me a message.
    karzar5 and Maction like this.
  6. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (6,178) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I completely agree with the Busy Bee Cafe and Raleigh Times but I would suggest skipping the Oxford (I lived in Raleigh until fairly recently and still travel there for work - every time I have visited the Oxford it seems like the tap lines are very dirty and the beer has been on tap way too long, well past it's prime).
    KhakCane, Maction and johnsonni like this.
  7. johnsonni

    johnsonni Initiate (165) Dec 27, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Yeah the oxford is kinda for the NC State undergrad kids with comb overs...no offense to anyone with a comb over.

    For dining without TV's or loud music, try eating at Poole's Diner downtown. Owned by Ashley Christensen and is probably one of the most consistent and best restaurants in the area. Ever changing menu, great wine and beer selections. Uses all local ingredients, southern fusion style cuisine. She also owns Beasley's Chicken & Honey if your wife and you are looking for a good chicken spot. Last time I went, on special, they had slow braised chicken legs, flash fried with a house made buffalo sauce and they are insane. They have anything from Chicken Pot Pie to Chicken n Waffles to Roasted Poblano Pimento Cheese.

    Humble Pie is a good Tapas restaurant that has an awesome outside dining and bar area, as well as inside.

    Angus Barn is really close to my house and is awesome. Went there last night and got some buffalo turkey wings (12 for $12) and two of them are the size of my arm, best deal on wings you will find.

    I suggest going to Trophy Brewing when you're in town, they are cranking out some really good beers with some interesting styles. Apple Brandy barrel aged Belgian style, they had a stout aged in buffalo trace barrels the other week.

    Busy Bee is awesome, I'd suggest going there in between 9-11 if you are looking for it to not be super crowded. Never gets too crowded as they have a "club" area upstairs that helps balance out the crowd.

    Right near Poole's Diner is an awesome bottles shop with I think 6 taps, Tasty Beverage. Went there the other week for a KBS keg.

    Bottle Revolution and Ridgewood are the other two bottles shops I would consider. Ridgewood is the only one of the three to feature wine and good wine at that. Also a nice area to sit and relax and drink. They have about 16 taps I beleive.

    Hope that helps! Wilmington has a nice bottle shop, Lighthouse Beer and Wine.

    Enjoy NC!
    KhakCane, Maction and MightySteede like this.
  8. johnsonni

    johnsonni Initiate (165) Dec 27, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Forgot to mention, Trophy Brewing is owned by the owners of Busy Bee Cafe..
    KhakCane and Maction like this.
  9. brstls4drmrs

    brstls4drmrs Defender (669) Jan 30, 2011 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I 2nd the Raleigh Times and Angus Barn. Below are Durham/Chapel Hill recommendations:

    My favorite lunch spots: (I don't drink beer at lunch----unless I'm not working :wink: )
    Blue Corn cafe on 9th street. Very good Caribbean cuisine and oldest restaurant on 9th street.
    Nosh - This is on Erwin Road in front of Dook university. Fresh sandwiches/salads/soups. Real good stuff.
    Fosters - Made in house food. Just like Nosh and has one location in Chapel Hill and Durham.
    Bull City Burger - everything from the hamburger buns to the beer is made in house. Burgers are 100% grass fed local cows and the only thing they don't make is the Ketchup. Get some BULL NUTS!!! trust me.

    Chapel Hill -
    Tylers - This is in Carrboro. Good beer selection and good food.
    ACME - Also in Carrboro. Great food and a more intimate atmosphere. More of a dinner place.
    Maction likes this.
  10. karzar5

    karzar5 Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2005 North Carolina

    Thanks for the kind words uncccegr. In terms of Wilmington you nailed it. We also offer daily tours here at Front St. Brewery between 3 and 5 daily. 3 tours.......one at 3:00, 3:45 and finally 4:30. It's not much of a walking tour, but you will get to sample some beers and ask as many questions as you want. We hope you swing by for a pint. Good luck with the rest of the trip!

    Kevin Kozak
    Head Brewer
    Front St. Brewery
    MaaikeMae, uncccegr and Maction like this.
  11. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Wow, thanks for the personal invitation, Kevin. If I can talk Mrs. Maction into it, we'll see you there. By the way, that's not me in my avatar ;-)
  12. mtmonroe9

    mtmonroe9 Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2013 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Will be in Wilmington Saturday-Monday for a wedding/relaxtion. I need to check some of these places out!
  13. uncccegr

    uncccegr Initiate (182) Apr 28, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    No problem man, the kind worlds are well deserved. I keep meaning to come up and try your Funky Brewster that I have seen on your web site. How much do you have left?
  14. karzar5

    karzar5 Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2005 North Carolina

    We do still have some Funky Brewster pouring, but not much. In my opinion it's one of our best barrel aged beers yet. We have an entire batch of Scottish Ale slumbering away in some Buffalo Trace Barrels and I'm about to brew a Mosaic Single Hop Saison that will be put in to Red Wine Barrels......not to mention the cask of dreams from Glenfiddich that has Tomb Rocker in it and also some Cognac Barrels we just got. Lots of Oak and lots going on here at FSB. I plan to make Front St. more interactive on the Beer Advocate Forums. It only took me 7 years or so of brewing here to get online and interact with some fans.....

    Kevin Kozak
    Head Brewer
    Front St. Brewery
  15. uncccegr

    uncccegr Initiate (182) Apr 28, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Yeah I have been seeing the pictures of the Scottish Ale going into the barrels on Facebook. Can't wait to try it. How long are you planning on aging it?
  16. karzar5

    karzar5 Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2005 North Carolina

    Not quite sure yet. We plan to monitor(taste!) it often and see how it goes. I'm guessing 3 to 6 months, but that's totally up to the barrels. Good news is that there will most likely be growler fills of the Scotty. Currently we don't do growler fills of our oak aged beers because we've been doing one barrel at a time and the yield is just a bit over 3 kegs so we have it as a by the glass beer only so more folks can enjoy it. Since the Scotty is an entire batch we can spread the wealth a bit more.
  17. uncccegr

    uncccegr Initiate (182) Apr 28, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Awesome. I also trade beer on here and on reddit so I may be spreading your goods around the country then.
  18. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Thanks to all those that posted! Here are my favorites from the trip:

    Poole’s Diner might have been the best meal of the trip. Service was great and they had a well curated beer and cocktail list.
    Tasty Beverage Company has it all: great prices, selection and people. The staff and patrons had a lot of great suggestions for the rest of our trip.

    Fullsteam Brewery had some lovely, balanced beer. It was great being able to grab some lunch from the food trucks outside and bring them into the bar for some shade.

    Cape Fear Wine and Beer was great. Cheap Belgian bottles ($6.50 Orval & Rochefort 8), a nice tap list, knowledgable staff, and a juke box chock full o’ punk rock made Mrs. Maction and I love this place.

    The Craftsmen, which I hear is just a couple of months old, had a very large and well maintained draft list, and really solid gastropub fare. I really enjoyed my pork and beef blend burger.
    The Gin Joint only has two taps, both Evil Twin during my visits, but the small plates and cocktails were all amazing. We stopped by for happy hour both nights that we were in Charleston.
    Closed For Business was fun as well, and I had some nice local drafts. I was a little annoyed when the waitress automatically brought liter pours of our first round instead of asking us what we wanted.

    The Olde Pink Housewas a little too dressy after spending a hot day in the Savannah Wildlife Refuge, But a Chimay Blue by candlelight in the basement with some piano jazz was a great way to end the trip.
    The Sparetime makes lovely cocktails, serves carefully constructed gastropub fare, and has five taps of craft beer. I highly recommend it if you’re in Savannah.


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  19. hellhammermario

    hellhammermario Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2012 North Carolina

    Kevin - Bring back Funky Brewster! Barely missed out on it :slight_frown: Had Brett the Hitman Tart, though. So damn good.
  20. fehrminator

    fehrminator Disciple (347) Jan 26, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Just wanted to say that I see tons of "where should I go?" posts but almost never see anyone recap the highlights of their trip. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of the beer scene in NC and beyond. Y'all come back soon. :wink:
    Maction, peetoteeto and brstls4drmrs like this.
  21. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (6,178) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I agree that few people take the time to report back on the places they visited...generally, I try to review the places I chose to visit and that is how I recap my trip (and I would encourage you to write reviews for the places you visited to help others in the future).
    Maction and peetoteeto like this.
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