City guides

Best bars in Raleigh

Discover Raleigh's finest watering holes where every sip tells a story.

December 14, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 8
A view of the Raleigh skyline.
Raleigh's bar scene is as diverse and vibrant as its community. Whether you're after a cozy spot for a quiet drink or a lively venue for a night out with friends, this city has it all. From craft cocktails to locally brewed beers, these top spots in Raleigh promise an unforgettable experience.

The Oak

At The Oak, the heart of Raleigh's downtown beats. This bar is more than a place to grab a drink; it's a tribute to local artisans and producers. With its extensive selection of North Carolina beers and spirits, you can taste the passion and skill in every glass. The atmosphere is both inviting and upscale, offering a perfect balance for casual evenings or special occasions. The Oak's commitment to local ingredients extends to its food menu, too, featuring dishes that complement its drinks perfectly. Whether you're a beer enthusiast or a cocktail aficionado, The Oak's knowledgeable staff and welcoming ambiance make it a standout in Raleigh's bar scene.

Raleigh Beer Garden

Raleigh Beer Garden elevates the concept of a beer garden to an unprecedented level, holding three Guinness World Records for its impressive selection of over 380 beers on tap. This sprawling venue, located in the heart of Glenwood South, offers beer aficionados a veritable paradise with three floors of themed bars dedicated to North Carolina brews, international selections, and more. Its expansive back patio and event field dotted with games invite patrons to enjoy the garden's variety in a lively yet relaxed setting. With a menu full of hearty bar food favorites, the Raleigh Beer Garden is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the breadth of beer craftsmanship while soaking in the vibrant local scene.

Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen is a sanctuary for those who appreciate the complexity and richness of whiskey. It's a fusion of a Southern kitchen and a whiskey bar, delivering an experience that's deeply rooted in Raleigh's culture. The space is thoughtfully designed, featuring a blend of rustic elements and modern aesthetics. With a whiskey selection that's both extensive and carefully curated, guests can explore a wide range of flavors and styles. The staff is passionate about their craft, always ready to guide you through their impressive collection. The food menu complements the drinks, with dishes that are as thoughtfully prepared as the whiskeys they accompany.

Clouds Brewing Tap Room

Clouds Brewing Tap Room stands as a beacon for beer lovers, offering an innovative approach to beer tasting. The 'Downpour' wall is a standout feature, allowing patrons to serve themselves from a variety of taps. This self-serve system not only adds an element of fun but also encourages exploration and discovery of new brews. The brewery prides itself on its range of house-made beers, each crafted with precision and care. The ambiance is lively yet comfortable, perfect for socializing with friends or enjoying a relaxed afternoon. Beyond beer, Clouds Brewing Tap Room also offers a menu of delicious pub fare, creating a full sensory experience.


Alchemy is where the magic of mixology comes to life in Raleigh. This upscale cocktail bar is known for its inventive drinks and sophisticated atmosphere. The intimate setting makes it an ideal spot for a romantic evening or a quiet night out. The bartenders at Alchemy are true artists, using a mix of classic techniques and innovative approaches to create cocktails that are both beautiful and delicious. The menu changes seasonally, ensuring that there's always something new and exciting to try. Alchemy also offers a selection of fine wines and spirits, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

The Green Light

The Green Light is Raleigh's hidden treasure, a speakeasy that captivates with its aura of mystery and nostalgia. Tucked away in an unsuspecting location, it offers an intimate escape from the outside world. The bar's vintage decor and soft lighting set the mood for a night of classic cocktails and quiet conversation. The drink menu features timeless favorites and original creations, all crafted with the finest ingredients and attention to detail. The Green Light's secluded setting and refined ambiance make it a unique and memorable destination for those seeking a more personal and subdued bar experience.

Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant

Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant brings the spirit of Ireland to the heart of Raleigh. It's a lively spot that's as much about community and camaraderie as it is about good drinks. The pub is known for its authentic Irish fare and impressive selection of beers, including a range of Irish favorites. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with traditional decor that transports guests to the Emerald Isle. Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant is not just a place to drink; it's a place to make memories, whether you're enjoying a quiet pint or celebrating with friends. The pub also hosts regular events and live music, adding to its vibrant and friendly vibe.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Nestled in the Warehouse District, the Flying Saucer Draught Emporiumhas become a cornerstone of Raleigh's craft beer community, slinging pints long before "craft beer" became a household phrase. This beloved institution is adorned with plates commemorating "Beerknurds" - dedicated patrons who have sampled 200 different beers, a testament to the bar's extensive selection and the loyalty it inspires. The Flying Saucer's atmospheric blend of history and passion for brews creates a unique environment where beer lovers can indulge in a vast array of taps. Whether you're aiming to join the ranks of Beerknurds or simply in search of a great pint, the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium offers an unparalleled beer experience in a setting rich with character.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade

Boxcar Bar + Arcade is a playful fusion of nostalgia and modern nightlife. This unique venue combines a full bar with a collection of classic and contemporary arcade games. The lively atmosphere is perfect for those looking to add some fun to their night out. The bar offers a range of craft beers, cocktails, and spirits, ensuring there's something for every taste. The arcade games, ranging from pinball to modern video games, provide endless entertainment. Boxcar Bar + Arcade is more than just a bar; it's a place where adults can embrace their inner child and create new memories.

Capital Club 16

Capital Club 16 stands as a testament to Raleigh's rich history and vibrant future. This bar and restaurant blend historical charm with a contemporary edge, creating an atmosphere that's both cozy and stylish. The cocktail menu is a mix of classic and modern creations, each drink a reflection of the bar's commitment to quality and creativity. The food menu features a range of dishes that are both comforting and sophisticated. The warm ambiance and friendly staff make Capital Club 16 a welcoming retreat in the heart of the city. It's a place where history meets modernity, and every visit feels like a celebration of Raleigh's unique character. Raleigh's bar scene is a tapestry of tastes and experiences. Each of these top spots offers something unique, ensuring that every visit is more than just a drink – it's a memory in the making. Whether you're a local or just passing through, these bars are sure to leave you with stories to tell and a desire to return.
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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