In recent years, Raleigh has received many accolades for being one of the best places to live in the country. With the increased attention has come a surge nightlife with great restaurants, bars and clubs perfect for drinks and dancing after a long day or weekend parties. Here’s a rundown of the Raleigh nightlife scene by area.
Hillsborough Street/Western Boulevard
While Raleigh is by no means strictly a “college town,” it is home to a few colleges and universities with social students. Students from N.C. State, Meredith College and Peace University head over to the Hillsborough Street/Western Boulevard area when they are craving some nighttime fun. This area is full of bars that can, as expected, best be described as “college bars,” but what they lack in finesse they often make up for in drink specials and personality. East Village Grill on Hillsborough has a classic “frat boy” vibe and features a big deck that is usually full of undergrads on any sunny afternoon in spring. Another option is Goat on Western Boulevard, a hole-in-the wall bar with a mix of characters and $1 mystery beer nights.
The area of Glenwood Avenue south of Peace Street, better known as Glenwood South, was Raleigh’s first neighborhood to try its hand at a more sophisticated nightlife. What began as a rundown warehouse district is now a thriving hot spot for restaurants, bars and clubs. On any Friday or Saturday night, this area is full of young Raleigh residents letting off steam after a long week of school or work.
For the best of all worlds, head to the three-story Solas, which features a dining area, lounge and dance floor. The rooftop bar is perfect for warm nights.
Tobacco Road Sports Café, complete with more TVs than one can count, is the best place to catch a game in Raleigh. In addition to plentiful viewing options, Tobacco Road’s food is a step up from normal sports bar food with options like Fried Green Tomatoes and a North Carolina Bison Burger.
Fayetteville Street Area
What used to be an area closed off to cars reopened to traffic in 2006 and thus catapulted a major nightlife revitalization. Fayetteville Street, and the streets surrounding it, is home to bars and restaurants that attract fewer students and more young professionals.
Oxford, Raleigh’s first gastropub, has the laid-back atmosphere of a pub combined with the sophisticated food and drinks of a fine dining establishment. Only a short walk away, Fox Liquor Bar specializes in carefully crafted cocktails with fresh ingredients, fine spirits and homemade juices and sodas. Leather couches provide a comfortable setting at this underground spot.
One of the most popular bars in this area is the Raleigh Times. Also a great spot for lunch or dinner, the Raleigh Times comes alive at night with people sitting and standing while chatting over craft beers. There is indoor and outdoor seating, but be warned, it can get pretty crowded. For dancing, stop by Architect Bar and Social House, located on the top floor of a cool 1920s building with exposed brick. There is limited seating around the edges of the space, but the middle is bare hardwood, just waiting for partiers to bust a move.
For more Raleigh nightlife options visit the Raleigh.com Nightlife Directory.