Top 10 Cocktail Bars in Asheville

by James Stevenson

For the past 3 years we have spent Christmas at Natalie’s hometown just a short ride outside of Asheville, so whenever we’re feeling “thirsty” we head into town and get our drink on. Over the years we have weeded out some of the venues and as new venues appear we try to visit them and see how they stack up. Although we haven’t made it to all of the awesome cocktail bars in Asheville we have tried our best and here is the list of our favorites we have made it to.


Little Jumbo

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We discovered Little Jumbo on our most recent trip to Asheville and I’m not sure if it’s my favorite or not but it’s definitely in contention. If you’re looking for a locals haunt, or date night, then this is the spot you want. The cocktail options are pretty impressive and I highly recommend the Jumbo Service cocktails; these are great for sharing, the bartender mixes up one large cocktail that is served on a silver platter with 2 tasting glasses for you to sip on at your own pace. The Manhattan was perfect!


Nightbell

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A classic favorite. Almost every visit to Asheville for Beautiful Booze means a visit to Nightbell. This venue is primarily a restaurant, however, there is a bar where resident bartenders do more than serving beer and wine. The cocktail list here is always impressive and the ambiance is outstanding. I would definitely plan to have dinner here and book a seat at the bar if you can.


MG Road

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Home to the annual Miracle festivities in Asheville, MG Road is a definite throwback bar that at first sight may not look like they can sling a well-composed cocktail, but take a chance and you’ll know why they’re on our list. Best of all, they serve appetizers from their wonderful Indian restaurant, Chai Pani, which is located upstairs. The drinks here are scary, right up until the first sip, I’m talking whack ingredients reminiscent of ‘90s nightclubs that come out colorful and occasionally with sparklers. But it’s all a disguise!


Buxton Hall

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Well… you can’t go to Asheville and not get a famous chicken sandwich from Buxton Hall BBQ, this team has the best chicken sandwich in the states, just ask the crew at Bon Appétit. While you’re here scoffing down some of the best BBQ in the world make sure you check out their cocktails, in fact, you should order a Bourbon Cheerwine Slushy while you’re reading through the list, just to get yourself started.


Sovereign Remedies

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I think the theme so far is essentially eating your way around Asheville with the option of a great cocktail at each stop. Sovereign Remedies is another great place to stop for amazing cocktails that also offers great food options. I’m actually not sure if this venue is primarily a bar or a restaurant, but does it really matter, come for the drinks and stay for the food, or vice versa. The venue is wonderfully adorned with an apothecary feel to it, but the light from the floor to ceiling windows really bring the space to life.


Save Me the Waltz

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A newcomer to Asheville and another we first visited on our latest adventure, Save Me the Waltz definitely impressed with their cocktail offerings. Somewhat hidden downstairs below the old S&W building this venue certainly offers character with live Jazz, impressive artwork on the walls and a cocktail program that will keep us coming back. This was our first stop on our ugly Christmas sweater bar crawl, organized by @theurbangastronome, and the cocktails were boozy and balanced, just the way I like them.


Imperial Life

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Upstairs from the popular restaurant Table, Imperial Life is a great place to meet with friends for pre/post-dinner drinks or just to grab a great cocktail. The bartender made us a special cocktail for our bar tour when we rolled in, and it was the best cocktail all night! The cocktails are inventive and inspiring; served in an intimate setting overlooking College Street in Downtown Asheville. It’s super convenient for tourists and a haunt for locals who want to enjoy a well-made cocktail.


Workshop Lounge

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A newcomer to the Asheville scene, Workshop Lounge is located inside the new Foundry Hotel, tucked away off to the side of the downtown area. The space is perfect for larger groups and also offers some intimate seating along the exposed brick wall. The cocktails list is limited, however, they do a great job of re-creating some classics, which is very in-theme with the whole venue, which is an exquisitely restored steel factory. The great thing about venues with a great reinvented classics list is that you can spot your favorite go-to cocktail and try it out. Their Mezcal Daiquiri is delicious.


Montford

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Another hotel bar; this venue offers amazing rooftop views of the mountains surrounding Asheville and what better way to take in the view than with a delicious cocktail in hand. Being one of the earliest opening venues and located on the rooftop of the Hyatt Place Hotel, you can start your evening here, and take in the beautiful sunset or, if you’re staying at the hotel, finish up your evening with a nightcap before heading to your room. Either way, the cocktails here are superb!


Capella on 9

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Photo Credit – Jennifer Mesk

Saving one of the best for last; Capella on 9 opened up in late 2017 to take rooftop drinking in Asheville to the next level. Located in the middle of downtown this stunning venue offers everything you could want in a good cocktail venue. Starting with their great cocktail program and phenomenal views, the hotel also has a wonderful selection of Tapas and wines to enjoy if you just want to kick back and enjoy some downtime.


Some other great options if you’re still chasing a drink

Antidote

A newcomer to Asheville, I’m sure this would be up on my list if I had made it out for a drink. First on the list for our next visit.

Book Exchange

Wine & Books, how can you go wrong? Sit back and relax with a book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Crow & Quill

Live music and a speakeasy vibe are what this venue is all about. A great haunt for locals and those looking for a nightcap.

Top of the Monk

Now with multiple venues in Asheville, Top Of the Monk is a great cocktail bar for those looking for something different.

Storm Rhum Bar

For the rum geek, this bar offers the best rum selection in Asheville and serves rum flights if you’re looking to try something new.

Waterbird

Head out of town for lunch and try out some awesome cocktails at Waterbird while you’re there.

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