City guides

Hidden gem bars in Raleigh

Discover Raleigh's most charming and lesser-known bars, perfect for those seeking a unique drinking experience away from the usual hotspots.

December 18, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 14
A view of the Raleigh skyline.
Raleigh, a city known for its vibrant culture and diverse nightlife, is also home to some of the most delightful hidden bars that even some locals haven't stumbled upon. In this guide, we're shining a light on those special spots where the atmosphere is as captivating as the drinks they serve. These hidden gems, tucked away in nooks and crannies of Raleigh, offer not just great beverages, but also stories, character, and a warm sense of community.


Foundation is a celebrated underground bar located in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Known for its dedication to North Carolina-sourced spirits and ingredients, Foundation offers a cozy, intimate setting with exposed brick walls and low lighting. The drink menu features a creative array of cocktails, including house-made mixes and classic favorites, all crafted with locally distilled spirits. It's a must-visit for those looking to explore the best of North Carolina's burgeoning craft cocktail scene.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade

Boxcar Bar + Arcade combines the fun of vintage arcade games with a great selection of drinks, making it a lively destination for both locals and visitors. Located near the Warehouse District, Boxcar boasts an impressive array of arcade games, pinball machines, and console games, alongside craft beers, cocktails, and a rotating selection of local and regional brews. It's the perfect spot for a nostalgic night out, offering fun and games for adults looking to unwind and relive their childhood memories.

Neptune's Parlour

Neptune's Parlour is a subterranean bar offering an eclectic mix of live music, DJs, and unique cocktails made with house-infused liquors. The atmosphere is decidedly hip and slightly edgy, with a diverse crowd that reflects the inclusive vibe of Raleigh's nightlife. Neptune's also hosts a variety of events, from comedy nights to burlesque, making it a versatile venue where there's always something interesting happening.

The Green Light

Hidden away behind a bookshelf in The Architect Bar & Social House, The Green Light is a speakeasy-style bar that offers an intimate and secretive drinking experience. This hidden gem is known for its expertly crafted cocktails and prohibition-era ambiance. With its dimly lit, cozy interior, The Green Light provides a sophisticated escape for those in the know, making it a unique and memorable stop for a night out in Raleigh.

Watts & Ward

This vast, prohibition-era-themed cocktail lounge offers an escape into the past with its leather sofas, exposed brick, and a vast selection of craft cocktails. Watts & Ward is hidden away beneath the streets of Raleigh, requiring a membership for entry, which adds to its exclusive feel. The bar prides itself on its artisanal cocktails, made with house-made syrups and the finest spirits, and its relaxed, speakeasy vibe makes it a perfect spot for those looking for a quiet evening with friends or a cozy date night.

Raleigh Beer Garden

Raleigh Beer Garden holds the record for the world's largest beer selection, offering guests an unparalleled experience with its extensive array of local, national, and international beers. With its three-story venue and outdoor garden, it's a haven for beer enthusiasts and a lively spot for social gatherings. The ground floor focuses on North Carolina beers, while the second floor offers a global beer selection. The atmosphere is vibrant and energetic, perfect for those looking to explore new beers in a fun and lively setting.

The Haymaker

Located in downtown Raleigh, The Haymaker is a cocktail bar that blends a comfortable, inviting atmosphere with a touch of luxury. The bar offers a wide range of drinks, from classic cocktails to inventive new creations, all crafted with premium ingredients and an eye for detail. The interior combines modern chic with rustic elements, creating a space that's both stylish and warm. It's a great spot for a sophisticated night out, offering everything from after-work drinks to late-night libations.

Lynnwood Grill & Brewing Concern

Just a short drive from downtown Raleigh, Lynnwood Grill & Brewing Concern is a neighborhood favorite known for its craft beers brewed on-site, delicious food, and rooftop bar. The casual, friendly atmosphere makes it a great spot for catching a game on one of the many TVs or enjoying a night out with friends. The brewery is known for its wide range of beer styles, ensuring there's something for every palate. With its combination of great beer, tasty food, and a welcoming vibe, Lynnwood Grill & Brewing Concern is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike.

Person Street Bar

Person Street Bar is a neighborhood favorite known for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse selection of craft cocktails and beers. Located in the trendy Person Street district, this bar features a laid-back, minimalist interior with a friendly, knowledgeable staff ready to serve up your next favorite drink. It's the perfect spot for a casual meet-up with friends or a relaxed evening out, offering a spacious outdoor patio for those warm North Carolina nights.

Little City Brewing + Provisions Co.

Little City Brewing + Provisions Co. is a boutique brewery and bar that focuses on creating small-batch craft beers in a sleek, modern setting. Situated in the Glenwood South neighborhood, Little City offers an intimate bar experience with an outdoor seating area that's ideal for sipping on their unique brews. The venue also features a rotating selection of local and artisanal provisions, making it a great spot for beer lovers looking to discover new and innovative flavors. Raleigh's bar scene is a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. These hidden gems provide not just drinks, but memories, laughter, and a chance to escape the everyday. Next time you're in Raleigh, venture off the beaten path and into one of these charming bars. You might just find your new favorite spot.
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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