Asheville's Best Nightlife: 'Beer City USA' is Also a Cocktail, Sake Mecca

Kristen Manieri

By , Local Expert, Asheville
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Asheville loves to party, as illustrated by the scores of great pubs, beer gardens, wine bars and upscale cocktail lounges dotting the city. Downtown Asheville, a safe and welcoming collection of walkable blocks, houses dozens of nightlife haunts, most serving an expansive collection of beers and spirits brewed and distilled locally. It’s also where you’ll find talented street musicians earning a buck by way of a guitar or harmonica. And at downtown’s Pritchard Park, the weekend officially kicks off every Friday around 6pm when the weekly Asheville Drum Circle gets the party started.

In the River Arts District, venue...  Read more »

  • 1

    Wicked Weed Brewing

    A stellar selection of brewed-on-site beers enjoyed under the stars on the huge outdoor patio makes this a favorite downtown hot spot.

    Local Expert Tip: "Wicked Weed has a full menu of bar snacks as well as a few crafty entrees (served after 5pm) for those patrons needing to fill their bellies. "

  • 2

    Orange Peel

    As the main music venue for all big acts visiting the Asheville area, The Orange Peel is a mainstay on the local live music scene.

    Local Expert Tip: "Downstairs, a funky little space called Pulp acts as a private club and features an HD screen showing a live feed of shows upstairs. Access is for members only (ages 21+) but memberships are just $2/year and are available at the onsite membership desk during shows. There could be an additional cover charge."

  • 3

    Grey Eagle Tavern

    With almost every type of musical genre represented on stage, this come-as-you-are locale appeals to a...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Should you want to grab a bite to eat before the show, Taqueria, an onsite restaurant, offers inexpensive Latin fare, including lights bites like chips and guacamole as well as meal-sized entrees such as burritos and tacos."

  • 4


    Decadent craft cocktails, imaginative two-bite fare and a fun selection of whimsical desserts make this...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "With a DJ spinning, a high-tech sound system, a good-sized dance floor, Nightbell has become one of downtown Asheville's only upscale, late-night dancing locales. This chic speakeasy is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6pm 'til at least midnight. "

  • 5

    Thirsty Monk

    Home to over 150 Belgian beers, and 50 more in the upstairs pint house, Thirsty Monk is sure to please beer enthusiasts everywhere.

    Local Expert Tip: "The Thirsty Monk hosts Pint Nights at three of its locations on various nights through out the month when a specific beer is featured and those who order it get to keep the glass."

  • 6

    MG Road

    With lots of Asian and Indian flavors, this cozy lounge's internationally-inspired cocktails are a welcome departure from the city's southern nuances.

    Local Expert Tip: "On Monday and Tuesday nights, MG Road is taken over by PUNK WOK, pop-up culinary events featuring inexpensive fusion fare and an ever-changing menu. Be forewarned: lines can be long."

  • 7

    Sky Bar

    Simply put: you won't find a better place to toast the sunset.

    Local Expert Tip: "Drinks here are pretty stiff so you may want to wander downstairs for some sustenance at the café on the ground floor where small bites and yummy desserts are served until 8pm through the week and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. "

  • 8

    Lexington Avenue Brewery

    It always feels like a party at this brewpub known for its great food and welcoming vibe.

    Local Expert Tip: "LAB's stage hosts a different musical act nearly every night beginning at 8pm or later. The mostly local showcase gives area singers and songwriters the chance to share their talent with the cordial crowd. "

  • 9

    The Imperial Life

    A light and lively spot for serious craft cocktail fans, The Imperial Life is a comfortable place to unwind and expand your cocktail horizons.

    Local Expert Tip: "The Table, which was the original venture of The Imperial Life's owners, is located downstairs and serves as a fantastic start to a full night out. Begin the night with dinner at this chic, farm-to-table eatery before retiring upstairs for some stellar, twilight libations. "

  • 10

    Ben's Tune Up

    A fabulous outdoor beer garden + a pioneer in Asheville's sake scene make this a must-visit.

    Local Expert Tip: "Consider Ben's Tune Up for dinner as well as drinks. The menu has a lot of variety--including burgers, skewered meat, and Ben's famed ramen--all priced around $10 per dish."



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