Will Bryant celebrates one year of The Parlor at Heights House

We sat down with Will Bryant, the manager and mixologist at The Parlor at Heights House, to chat about ingredients, his inspirations, and local hidden gems. Plus, don’t miss this month’s Drink Up special Prosecco & Sorbetto.

Bartender Will Bryant with one of his creations.

Will Bryant is the creative behind the Italianate-style bar.

Photo courtesy of The Parlor at Heights House

Before Drink Up month comes to a close, we want to introduce our audience to another skillful beverage maker. Meet Will Bryant, manager and mixologist of The Parlor at Heights House — one of Raleigh’s most sophisticated places to sip.

Born and raised in the City of Oaks, Will has embraced his role at this 1860 Italianate-style mansion in the Boylan Heights neighborhood. The Parlor, which celebrated its first anniversary in June, offers guests a tranquil and intimate escape.

“We want people to feel like this is their home for a little while,” Will told RALtoday.

The menu at this adults-only elevated parlor consists of an all-Italian wine list, local beers, and Will’s ever-changing creative cocktails.

We sat down at Will’s favorite spot inside the historic Raleigh property to chat about ingredients, his inspirations, and local hidden gems.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up on the edge of Cary and went to Athens Drive Magnet High School. I studied business and marketing at App State. After college, I moved back to Raleigh. Then [in 2016], me and my dad opened up a restaurant on Hillsborough Street called H-Street Kitchen.

It only lasted for about a year. My dad has been in the industry for a long time, and he got offered an amazing job that he couldn’t turn down. So we decided to sell H-Street. I moved to Charlotte for five years after we sold the business. I worked at a place called Fin & Fino, and that’s really where I came into my own as a bartender.

But Charlotte just wasn’t for me. So, I decided to move back home without knowing what I was going to do. Then someone sent this job to me on Instagram and I applied.

(Spoiler: He got the job.)

What is this month’s Drink Up special?

For the month of July we will be offering Prosecco & Sorbetto to create a delicious bubbly and refreshing cocktail to enjoy.

  • Asolo “Bele Casel” Prosecco poured over blood orange sorbetto
  • Venturini Baldini Sparkling Rosé poured over peach sorbetto
Prosecco pouring into a glass.

Enjoy the Prosecco & Sorbetto special in one of Will’s favorite spots, the library’s two vintage orange chairs.

Photo courtesy of The Parlor at Heights House

What inspires your bar menu?

The Italian Coast and “The White Lotus.” I always try to stay Italian-inspired and try combinations that not everyone would think of. I want my cocktails to be unique, but approachable. My inspiration comes from thinking outside of the box and really wanting to wow people.

If you were a cocktail, what would you be?

A mezcal Negroni, because it’s bittersweet and different. I’m not really a smoky person, but with a mezcal Negroni, the flavors balance out so well. The Campari is bitter and the vermouth is sweet. It cuts the smokiness ever so slightly.

The Heights House.

Walk through the gates and front door of the Heights House Hotel to find The Parlor.

Photo by RALtoday

What’s your go-to hidden gem in Raleigh?

Wilco [William & Company] is one of my favorite places.

Their vibe is immaculate and the cocktails are so good. You can bring your dog or get a pizza delivered [from Oakwood Pizza Box next door]. Everyone who works there is always super nice.

Is there anything else you want Raleighites to know about The Parlor?

We are starting to host a lot more in-house parlor events.

In August, we are doing a little sip and shop market. [Just dropped: Parlor Pizza Night in collaboration with Tepuy Pizza on Thursday, Aug. 3.] We’re also going to start hosting some wine classes. And of course, The Parlor is open six days a week. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are always welcome.

So, what are you waiting for? Call a babysitter and plan your next romantic date night, fun girls night out, or just visit to sip on Will’s specialty cocktails.

Plus, stay up-to-date with new pop-up events and hour changes by following The Parlor at Heights House on Instagram.

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