Blue Ridge Nightlife
Beer and beyond in Asheville, North Carolina
Illustrations by Ana Gutowski
Asheville, North Carolina, is a tourist destination known for its beautiful views, mountainous hikes, and the opulent Biltmore mansion. If high-class homes and even higher elevations have you wishing for something a little more down to earth, you’re in luck. Asheville also boasts a thriving dive bar scene. Here’s my rundown of some of the best:
On the bank of the French Broad River, Crucible is an artist-run bar in the heart of the River Arts District. Named for the sculpting tool—which collects superheated material for
cooling—this bar is cozy with a great outdoor seating area. Right after moving to Asheville, I
asked a waiter where all the service industry went after work, knowing they always knew the
best spots. “The Crucible’s in my top three,” he said. It was well deserved praise. Expect great
drinks and good prices.
Recommended drink: G&T—housemade tonic makes this one pop.
This is your classic cocktail bar, but better. The strong speakeasy vibe is belied by a total lack
of self-seriousness. Sure, Monday nights are soundtracked by a low-key jazz quartet, but if
you’re in town on Saturday you’ll catch Vinyl Dance Party Night. I’m a sucker for a great martini,
and I have yet to find one I like more than Little Jumbo’s. Drinking here also puts you right down the street from Nine Mile, one of the best restaurants you’ll find anywhere.
Recommended drinks: Martinis for two (just trust me), Paloma.
Burial Beer Co.
OK, so this one is technically a world-class brewery—not a dive bar. But the vibe is right. After you pick up a perfect craft-brewed beer, make sure to peruse the 80s memorabilia, including
the wall-sized mural starring Sloth from The Goonies.
Recommended drinks: Surf Wax IPA, Camp Kolsch