Best Places for Cocktails in Asheville

Human hand making cocktails with bokeh background.
Human hand making cocktails with bokeh background. | kriskesiakphotography / Getty Images
Shawndra Russell

Some people might hear that Asheville is known as Beer City and think that the city’s cocktail scene might not be as strong, but they would be mistaken. In fact, Asheville has many talented bartenders that uphold Asheville’s reputation as a culinary and drink destination beyond just beer. Visit these 10 places for cocktails in Asheville that will impress your taste buds and your drinking companions.

Sovereign Remedies

This upscale bar consistently earns top marks for its craft cocktails and chic atmosphere and has a dogged commitment to sourcing its ingredients locally. As a result, Sovereign Remedies’ cocktail menu changes several times a month and often includes unexpected ingredients and flavors, like local flora or other wild edibles. A large selection of bottles lines one cathedral-ceiling wall and gives a grandness to the narrow space.

Little Jumbo

This small bar off the beaten path on the edge of downtown was modeled after a bar in New York City with the same name. In the spirit of that bar and its legendary bartender, Harry Johnson, who wrote the Bartenders’ Manual in 1882. The intimate vibe, drinks-for-two service and twists on classics – like gin and tonic served four ways – make Little Jumbo an excellent date night spot or girls’ night out.

Buchi Bar at Rosetta’s Kitchen

This beautiful downstairs space is a slice of nature right downtown. Plants spill out from containers on the exposed brick walls, and a large garage door is pulled open many days framed by bar stools. Farther inside, a large square bar features cocktails made with Buchi kombucha, a non-alcoholic fermented tea drink that makes for some unique-tasting cocktails.

Storm Rhum Bar

Another great date night spot for cocktails, Storm has earned recognition as the coziest restaurant in North Carolina by Food & Wine. Maybe it’s because its rum flights bring out the vacation version of its patrons. Those looking for classic rum drinks will also be happy here.

Social Lounge

This cozy bar has two indoor sections with quirky seating nooks and a small but darling rooftop courtyard area that feels like a secret garden perfect for Sunday brunches. A late night menu filled with upscale morsels like fig and goat cheese pizza and truffled popcorn pair well with Social Lounge’s elevated cocktail options such as Apple Cranberry Mules or Hocus Pocus made with Dickel No. 8, creme de violette and vanilla-cinnamon simple syrup.

Isis Music Hall

This West Asheville music venue has a listening room upstairs and an intimate stage in the back as well as a courtyard and small dining area. Isis’ sleek design extends to its drinks menu, with sophisticated concoctions like Blueberry Fields Forever, made with blueberry-rosemary shrub, fresh ginger, gin and vermouth. It, too, offers a fun late-night menu to balance out its cocktails like roasted sweet potato chimichangas and mussels.

Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge

Locals have loved Rankin since it opened back in 2008, and it’s become synonymous with quality cocktails. Go for a house-infused cucumber vodka martini or the Ashevillian Love Affair, a mix of champagne, blood orange and bourbon. The small sidewalk patio fills up quick and provides a great spot for people-watching and admiring the glass block on Rankin’s exterior. Groups of up to 12 can reserve its actual vault for a unique experience.

The Imperial Life

This nightlife hotspot has live music every weekday and DJs spinning on Fridays and Sundays, making it a perfect choice for a night of drinks and entertainment. Choose from between a few classics dating back to the ’30s like a John Collins, or order an original concocted by one of their many talented bartenders. The Imperials Life’s carefully curated menu focuses on “all things raw, cured, and aged.”

Grove Park Inn

Drinks with a view take on a whole new meaning at Grove Park Inn’s Sunset Cocktail Terrace. This destination’s Blue Ridge Mountains views would make even the blandest cocktails taste magical, but luckily, the bartenders at Grove Park take their jobs seriously as this historic mountain resort has high standards to uphold. The terrace closes during winter months, but patrons can order drinks in the lobby bar and take them outside or opt to stay cozy by the two huge fireplaces.

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