28 top cocktail spots in Raleigh, NC

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We've got you covered on Raleigh's most unique cocktails | Photo by cottonbro via Pexels

Ever since City Editor Laura moved to Raleigh earlier this year, she’s been on a mission to find the coolest, prettiest, and quirkiest mixed drinks that our fair city has to offer. Along the way, she’s found cocktails in little bathtubs (rubber ducky included), drinks that come inside glass boxes filled with smoke, and even one concoction that resembled a science experimentlooking at you, The Merchant

While asking for the prettiest or most fun drink on the menu usually does the trick, we asked our Instagram followers to hit us with their cocktail-spot recommendations to make sure we’re not missing out. Over 50 comments later, and boy, do we have a list for you.

Shoutouts + thoughts:

“@hoppyendings1 and @thearkroyal are my go to spots.” — @bites.brews.and.bourbon

“Try the cocktails @cortezraleigh! Very unique & tasty🍹”— @kyrakirra

“@themerchantnc has some pretty unique stuff!” — @colbyjd3

Crowd favorites:

Bittersweet Raleigh — this cocktail, dessert + coffee lounge was tagged four times. 

Watts & Ward — giving off speakeasy-style vibes, this bar is a classic and was tagged three times. 

Though it only opened this June, The Merchant was the most tagged bar in the comments. Also a speakeasy, you can find this spot by going up the stairs beside Virgil’s Cocktails and Cocina in Downtown. 

Other places tagged include:

Outside Raleigh:

“@mezcalitonc in Clayton does some really fun drinks!” — @itzmecassiet

SideBar in Cary was recommended by @kkbdl, @kidorsay, and @ncsushilovers

If you’re ever out in the Pittsboro area, The Beagle comes recommended by @awkwardmandyig.

Editor recs:

If you walk into The Ark Royal on a Saturday night, the odds that you’ll see Editor Laura there drinking a Belafonte or Gin Riki Tiki are quite high. When I do feel like branching out, Aunt Betty’s Gin and Absinthe Bar + Botanical Lounge are other go-tos.

The atmosphere at all three places matches their drinks, and I truly get to live my pretty cocktail dreams.

Peace & Saint opened this summer, and is a cocktail bar, hookah lounge, and dessert spot all in one. Not only is the place covered in murals by a local Raleigh artist, but they also garnish drinks with fresh flowers + occasionally rose-shaped ice cubes

Rounding it out are three spots that I haven’t actually been to yet, but are high on my list. The Atlantic Lounge is an underground speakeasy that requires a key for entry. Reach out to them on Instagram for details.

The Green Light is located in a hidden room inside The Architect. Look for the secret bookcase door — check out their Instagram for details on how to reserve a table. 

Grace is a jazz bar located in Glenwood South, and the spot just celebrated its 10-year anniversary last week. In addition to cocktails, C. Grace also has live jazz music to enjoy while you sip.