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

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 favorites include Grey Eagle and the Wedge Brewing Company. In West Asheville, you’ll find hipsters sipping beers along old timers at places like The Admiral and WALK, which stands for West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen. Whichever district you choose for your night out, you’ll find a social, laid-back vibe where anyone can get away with jeans and a t-shirt and everyone is open to making a new friend.

Besides the bursting-at-the-seems craft beer scene, live music is Asheville's other claim to fame, and the city gives up-and-coming musicians lots of places to test their talents. The Orange Peel is one of the most well-known venues for bigger-name bands to play, and good acoustics make any experience a memorable one, but most bars have some sort of live music scheduled throughout the week so it’s never difficult to find a good show. 

Ben's Tune Up
Photo courtesy of Photo by: Melissa Robinson


It's hard not to feel hip at Ben's Tune Up, an almost completely outdoor bar and raman eatery converted from a bygone auto shop. Inside the 3,500-square-foot courtyard, folks take their pick of any number of upcycled seating options, including...  Read More

The Imperial Life
Photo courtesy of Photo by Anthony Abraira


Set above Table restaurant, this sophisticated haunt features lots of local beers on tap, an interesting wine list, and cocktails crafted from small batch sprits and backyard herbs. Small plates, including sashimi, oysters, house-made...  Read More

Lexington Avenue Brewery
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The revelry spills out onto the sidewalk of Lexington Avenue making it nearly impossible to walk by Lexington Avenue Brewery without being tempted to go inside. Known by locals as simply 'LAB,' this open-air brewpub lures beer lovers in with its...  Read More

Sky Bar
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What Sky Bar lacks in square footage it makes up in views. Access to this outdoor spot comes via a ride up a vintage elevator inside Asheville's historic Flatiron Building, where a friendly attendant (worthy of a tip) will escort you up eight...  Read More

MG Road
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This stylish downtown lounge was created by the Chai Pani team and focuses on munchies-type fare and creative cocktails. Inside the Wall Street locale, a wide selection of Indian-style bar snacks blend in well with the vintage Bollywood posters...  Read More

Thirsty Monk
Photo courtesy of Thirsty Monk


With more than a thousands different beers on offer each year, Thirsty Monk has earned national recognition as one of the best beer bars in the world. Besides a slew of beers by the bottle (about 150 different types), the taps feature a large,...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Evan Sung


This new cocktails and dining spot created by the Cúrate family boasts a speakeasy feel bolstered by inventive drinks and imaginative small plates. Chef Katie Button, whose award winning culinary prowess placed Cúrate into the hearts of local...  Read More

Grey Eagle Tavern


This popular, unpretentious concert hall in the River Arts District hosts local and touring live acts showcasing an eclectic array of musical genres from bluegrass and jazz to rockabilly and folk. Besides a checkered floor and posters touting...  Read More



This first-rate live music venue – widely regarded as one of the best in the Southeast – hosts a wide range of acts week to week, from regional faves like Acoustic Syndicate to national acts like Ben Harper, Damien Rice and the Smashing...  Read More

Wicked Weed Brewing
Photo courtesy of Photo by Asheville_AMeripol065


A two-storied restaurant and brewery, Wicked Weed Brewing is one of the newest craft breweries on the local beer scene but a huge selection of delicious brews has quickly catapulted it onto the list of area favorites. From barrel-aged ales to...  Read More


Meet Kristen Manieri

Kristen Manieri is a travel and food writer with extensive travel experience in the Asheville area. As a regular contributor to Virgin Atlantic, West Jet's UP!, Dreamscapes and Forbes Travel...  More About Kristen