Grab a beer or a cocktail at one of these spots with covered patios and breezy rooftops.
by Emma Ginsberg
Sometimes that Carolina sunshine is a little too sunshiney — but you still want to get outside for a drink with friends. These bars and restaurants have shaded outdoor seating to make grabbing a beer, cocktail or frosé more comfortable in the height of summer. From breezy rooftop bars to wide covered patios to pergolas wound with leafy vines, these downtown Raleigh bars and restaurants all offer comfortable, shaded outdoor seating.
Barcelona Wine Bar
Tucked into The Dillon’s plaza, Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar sports an elegant patio and a long, long wine list. Flip through 22 pages of vino under the shade of greenery, which threads through metal beams and wooden fixtures to form an oasis of metropolitan elegance on West Martin Street. For brunch and dinner, bring your crew and pair your wine with shareable Spanish tapas, paella and charcuterie.
430 West Martin Street; barcelonawinebar.com
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
Flying Saucer’s big covered patio is the perfect place to grab a beer flight and space out, right at home on planet Earth. With novelty saucers lining the inside walls from floor to ceiling and a crew of beer experts to help you choose from an ever-changing selection of over 200 beers (including 81 on draught), this joint manages to be homey and out-of-this-world eclectic at the same time. Stop by on Sunday for $4 local beers, or on Monday for $4 pints across the whole draft wall.
328 W Morgan Street; beerknurd.com/stores/raleigh
Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria
Gallo Pelón is bringing the art of mezcal to Raleigh, eager to share their craft with longtime mezcal-lovers and newcomers alike. Head to Gallo Pelón’s patio on Wilmington Street, cooled by the tall red brick building and a canopy of plants, order up a dish from the food menu and let the staff guide you in exploring their specialty spirit’s storied history and long tradition.
106 S. Wilmington Street; gallopelon.com
Gringo A Go Go
From its lively Person Street storefront, downtown cantina Gringo a Go Go serves up signature cocktails, perfectly aged blue agave drinks and a vegan-friendly menu of Mexican dishes. The stars of the show are Gringo’s scratch-made margaritas; kick back on the patio under umbrellas and papel picado with a classic house margarita, or go bold with a spicy margarita. Gringo A Go Go offers seasonal margaritas that change every day, so stop by this summer and you may catch anything from blueberry to watermelon to mango habañero.
100 N Person Street; gringoraleigh.com
Humble Pie occupies a not-so-humble space in Raleigh’s restaurant scene — known for its shareable plates of creative comfort food from Blue Crab Claws to Rum and Golden Raisin Bread Pudding, Chef Josh Young’s Warehouse District institution is a perennial favorite that boasts one of the largest and airiest patios in town. Gather a big group of your pals at Humble Pie’s tiki bar, where everyone is sure to find a drink they’ll enjoy and a dish to share in good company.
317 S Harrington Street; humblepierestaurant.com
Person Street Bar
Person Street Bar is the quintessential neighborhood bar, complete with all the comforts of a close-knit community — right down to the resident bar cat. Join a cast of regular patrons and longtime bartenders on its shaded back patio for a laidback drink under exposed bulbs and cool misters, then head inside to play a few rounds on the pool table and pinball machine.
805 N Person Street; person-street.com
Short Walk Wines
Whether you want to grab a glass with your coworkers after a day at the downtown office, relax after jury duty at the Wake County Justice Center or sip on something cool after soaking up sunshine on Moore Square, Short Walk Wines is only a… short walk away. This neighborhood wine shop in the heart of downtown is small but mighty, filled from floor to ceiling with reds, whites, bubbles and snack bites. Locals know it as a spot to swing by and grab a bottle on your way home from a downtown adventure, but it has a small private patio with picnic tables for an easy drink. (Reservations recommended for larger groups.)
123 E Martin Street; shortwalkwines.com
Shaded by a grove of lush foliage and speckled with soft string lights, Taverna Agora’s elegant rooftop patio is a downtown retreat as beloved as their brunch, lunch and dinner menus. It’s the perfect spot to have a sip from Taverna Agora’s bar, whether paired with a signature Greek dish or enjoyed as a standalone drink. Try inventive cocktails like the Greek Mule, made with baklava syrup, or a specialty Greek wine, like sun-dried dessert wine Malvasia, imported straight from Greece.
326 Hillsborough Street; tavernaagora.com
Vault Craft Beer
Brand new to Raleigh, Vault Craft Beer occupies a historic building that was once a “drive-thru” bank. The tellers are replaced with taps these days, but Vault’s dedication to restoring and preserving the architecture has brought downtown a community gathering spot with unique Mid-century modern flair. Vault’s bike- and dog-friendly patio is a great place to assemble your crew for a pint from the constantly updated draft list, or grab a bite from the rotating cast of local food trucks that Vault partners with.
518 W South Street; vaultcraftbeer.com
The Willard Rooftop
The Willard Rooftop Bar & Lounge, on top of the recently-opened AC Hotel, offers views of the Raleigh skyline as timeless as the old-school drinks on their new Classic Cocktails menu — enjoy an Aviation and a bite from the Mediterranean Small Plates menu as you gaze out over the city from the highrise rooftop patio. More new-school than old-school? Try one of The Willard’s signature cocktails, like a Monkey Tea, Monkey Brew, made with chamomile syrup, or a Donkey Kong, made with banana clove syrup.
9 Glenwood Avenue; thewillardraleigh.com
Nothing pairs with a drink quite like a skyline sunset, and Wye Hill’s patio is a great spot to catch both. Each of Wye Hill’s whimsical cocktails has a personality and a story, like 19-ingredient Clear Eyes, Can’t Lose (“We’re still not sure how Zac did this; he must be a wizard”) and vodka/honeydew concoction Don’t Dew Me Like That (“A Tom Petty classic”). Pair your favorite drink with a chef-driven entree from the lunch, dinner or weekend brunch menu, and enjoy the sweeping view.
201 S Boylan Avenue; wyehill.com
Young Hearts Distilling
Part bar and part restaurant, an hour on Young Hearts Distilling’s plant-filled, industrial-chic second-story patio will bring you a well-crafted meal and well-crafted drinks. Farm-to-table dishes featuring fresh vegetables and locally-sourced meats accompany inventive cocktails made with spirits distilled on-site. Housemade Young Hearts spirits including gin and vodka are the base for their artistic drinks decorated with sugar disks and colorful flowers.
225 S Wilmington Street; trophybrewing.com/young-hearts-distilling