Hopscotch is upon us ladies and gentleman. This is that wonderful time of year where music lovers from across the country come to our wonderful city and pack the streets to the point of insanity. Fun insanity of course, but insanity nonetheless. All that moshing and head-banging is going to get to you eventually. I don’t care how much of a hardcore festival goer you are, you’re going to need to lie low at some point and enjoy a nice cold one to get the edge off. Granted, even the chillest of watering holes in the downtown area will be busier than usual this weekend; but these picks are your best bet for doing it right when you decide to take a break.
328 West Morgan Street
Remember when every hipster with an ironic taste for Das Racist was still so obsessed with PBR that craft beer didn’t even register for them? Well that’s how long Flying Saucer has been a champ on the scene. Now yea, it’s a franchise, so maybe some of you might think it’s not indie enough, but this place had 200 beers on tap before it was a thing around here. That makes it an OG; and attractive servers in mini-skirts and a bangin’ menu gives it tripel status (see what I did there). Try the Rocket Tots and the brats. You’re welcome.
213 Fayetteville Street
Craft cocktails are king these days. Thank God, because L.I. Teas and Royal Flush shots taste just as bad coming back up later in the night. The Foundation is a dimly lit subterranean take on a speak-easy, and it hosts some of the most knowledgeable mixologists in the area. These guys make everything correctly, key word correctly, because there are too many bartenders that can’t even make a proper Manhattan in this town. Specializing in whiskey, this place is rumored to have the coveted Pappy Van Winkle on sale, even though I’ve never seen it. But if you like all craft everything, down to the ice, along with a chill atmosphere minus the pretence, this is the place you’ll want to grab a stool at.
14 East Hargett Street
Chances are, if you’re from Raleigh and in your twenties to early thirties, you’ve asked a future ex if they wanted to “grab a beer” at this place. Seriously, I don’t know what it is, but it’s a first date staple for millennials around here. This makes great people watching, which is why I put it on my top list for downtown drinking spots, along with the fish tacos. They specialize in local craft beer here, and if you order a Miller Lite, the bartender will ironically snip at you that they don’t serve any domestics (they probably loved Das Racist back in the day too). It’s a good balance of busy and chill. You can get in the mix at the bar area, or slide into a booth in the candle lit dining area for a calmer vibe.
108 East Hargett Street
The Architect is an interesting place. Part night club, part lounge, part social club; this place always has something interesting happening. Dip into here on Thursday night for a calm atmosphere, and explore its secret rooms (don’t bring a drink from the main bar) and admire its modern yet rustic design. Come in on Friday and Saturday to wild out to the best late 90s/early 00s party tracks. Come with a date or get crazy with your friends, this place is one of the livest spots in the Fayetteville St. area.