Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Raleigh nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Raleigh Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.


Owned by NFL star Antwan Harris, this jazz club's appeal is hard to beat. Blue and yellow pendants and a beautiful built-in fish tank highlight the curved bar, equipped with comfy upholstered stool for a large group. Live bands entertain while guests sip cocktails and jazz aficionados delight in the sounds of the night. Irresistible Southern eats like shrimp and grits and jambalaya are served in the adjoining dining room.

Read more about Zydeco Downtown →

Translated from the Gaelic, this pub's name means "land of eternal youth." A diverse clientele enjoys its relaxed atmosphere and abundance of food, drink, and music. Traditional Irish food and beer take the forefront, although other options are available, and Sunday brunch's "make your own" Bloody Mary's are much-favored. The eclectic music schedule features traditional Irish music, bluegrass, or rock several nights a week. Trivia nights and open jam nights are also popular.

Read more about Tír na nÓg Irish Pub →

Lunch spot by day, smoky blues bar by night, the Berkeley has been a downtown Raleigh fixture for years. Laid-back and down to earth, the no-frills décor features wood booths and photos of the regulars. The bar is up front, but most folks end up in the back music room, which features a large stage and a good sound system. Music tends toward blues, with some rock, R&B, jazz, country, and assorted other genres thrown in for good measure. Regulars make up the majority of the crowd, but if you're there for the music, you'll fit right in.

Read more about Berkeley Cafe →


A round bar, open kitchen and outdoor patio flank this themed restaurant and bar. While Humphrey Bogart films run overhead, diners feast on delicacies such as filet mignon, with sour cream and chives mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach with a red wine reduction. Showcased at the bar, infused martinis are made with flavorings such as vodka-marinated fruit and candy. Try the ginger cosmopolitan, with ginger infusion, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime, or the white heat with raspberry infusion and crème de cacao.Weekly entertainment ranges from live jazz to DJs.

Read more about Bogart's American Grill →

Since 1975, Irregardless has been a Raleigh favorite for innovative, healthy cuisine and nightly live music. Lunch fare includes freshly made soups and salads, plus a host of creative sandwiches. Daily specials are always a good choice, with entrees like shrimp with polenta, Philly steak omelette, or Greek chicken and penne casserole. Follow up with a slice of one of their freshly baked desserts – lime chess pie, million dollar fudge ribbon cake, or chocolate amaretto roulade. Regulars love the music as well – live jazz Tuesday through Thursday, "Torch Songs" Fridays, and various dance bands on Saturdays.

Read more about Irregardless Café →

Considered one of the best comedy clubs on the east coast, Charlie Goodnight's supplies three levels of fun, from the earthy to the sophisticated. At street level, you'll find the comedy club, where folks like Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ellen Degeneres have graced the stage. Downstairs is Charlie's hole-in-the wall restaurant "The Old Bar," where hearty Tex-Mex grub, cold beer, and loud music are the name of the game, and the staff is almost as funny as the onstage talent upstairs. On the third floor, "The Grille Restaurant" offers upscale dining, and dinner guest receive preferred seating in the Comedy Club. A Triangle favorite since the late 1970s.

Read more about Charlie Goodnight's Comedy Club →

One of the most popular restaurants in the Triangle, 42nd Street features live music Thursday-Saturday, packing in a crowd of eager twenty- and thirty-somethings. The food is great of course, with lots of appetizers, salads and sandwiches for lighter appetites, but plenty of fried stuff to help sop up some of the alcohol. You're sure to find something to love among the 70 beers and 100 wines available.

Read more about 42nd Street Oyster Bar →