9 speakeasy-style bars in Raleigh, NC

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Interior of The Merchant | Photo by RALtoday

We’ve rounded up a list of 9 cocktail bars that give off modern-day speakeasy vibes. Step into these sophisticated spots + be transported to the Roaring ‘20s — don’t forget your cloche hats and mary janes.

  • Aunty Betty’s Gin and Absinthe Bar — 411 W. Morgan St. (door to the right of Iyla’s Southern Kitchen) | Tuesday-Thursday 4 p.m.-11 p.m., Friday 4 p.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-2 a.m., and Sunday 12 p.m.-11 p.m. | TryThis: On the Lash — with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Fentimen’s Botanical Tonic, Earl Grey bitters, lemon + mint.
  • The Green Light — 108 E. Hargett St. (behind a bookcase at The Architect) | Wednesday-Saturday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. | Did you know this small cocktail bar was once an architect’s office? ProTip: Text 919-699-5256 to reserve a table.
  • C.Grace — 407 Glenwood Ave. | Tuesday-Saturday 5 p.m.-12 a.m. | Come for the cocktails (like the Sidecar and the Odd Perfection) + stay for the live Jazz music. View the list of nightly performers here.
  • The Merchant — 126 S. Salisbury St. (unmarked stairs, above Virgil’s Cocktails and Cocina) | Tuesday-Wednesday 5 p.m.-12 a.m. and Thursday-Saturday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. | The Merchant recently opened and not only has an extensive cocktail menu but also mocktails + small bites. TryThis: A Smoke & Daggers cocktail that comes in a glass box filled with smoke.
  • FOUNDATION — 213 Fayetteville St. (look for a chalkboard near The Anchor Bar) | Tuesday-Wednesday 4 p.m.-12 a.m., Thursday-Friday 4 p.m-2 a.m., Saturday 2 p.m.-2 a.m., and Sunday 2 p.m.-12 a.m. | Check out FOUNDATION’s rotating seasonal menu + be sure to ask what the “whiskey of the week” is.
  • Watts & Ward — 200 S. Blount St. | Tuesday-Sunday 4 p.m.-2 a.m. | Start your night with dinner at Caffe Luna, then head next door for drinks at Watts & Ward. There are plenty of cozy tufted couches to relax on + chat with friends.
  • The Atlantic Lounge — 620 N. Person St. (around the corner from Crawford & Son) | Monday-Sunday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. | The Atlantic Lounge requires a key to enter + has a limited capacity of 44 people. Look for the vacancy sign on Person Street to know if you’re allowed entry.
  • The Tuck — 330 W. Hargett St. (behind a door at Legends Nightclub) | Friday-Saturday 9 p.m.–3 a.m. + Sunday 9 p.m.–2 a.m. |
  • Fox Liquor Bar — 237 S. Wilmington St. (around the corner from Beasley’s Chicken + Honey) | Temporarily closed | This sophisticated spot has some delicious snacks, in addition to its great cocktails. TryThis: Foxy Onion Dip with caramelized shallots, red wine, and porcini mushrooms.
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