Surf Shack in the City: Hang Out at Lola’s Beach Bar

Grab tropical drinks and fresh food at Five Points

by Catherine Currin | photography by Taylor McDonald

One step off the bustle of Glenwood Avenue, and you feel like you’re on vacation. Welcome to Lola’s Beach Bar, the newest addition to Five Points, filled with freshly-made cocktails and beach-inspired cuisine. Co-owner and operator Larry Carter hopes that you feel a sense of paradise from the moment you enter, whether you’re there for a cocktail or ordering from the food menu. The bar has a come-as-you-are surfer vibe, from the board above the door to the cut-bamboo awning, to the abundance of real and painted palm leaves and the scattered, mismatched stools. “We want this to be a social atmosphere, and it’s already become somewhat of a neighborhood bar,” says Carter. Here, it’s summer all year long underneath the covered, dog-friendly patio, and the fruity and fresh cocktails—daiquiris, margaritas and a rainbow-colored Voodoo Juice for two, served in a bucket—flow like it’s always five o’clock somewhere. 

Carter and his wife, Ashley, partnered with Bobby and Cindy Lewis on the project. Bobby Lewis owns the Five Points building, and he says he’s thrilled that they’ve collaborated on this concept. “My wife and I have traveled many times to St. John and always loved the smaller beach bars that are so popular there. We thought, ‘This could really work here in Raleigh.’ Larry was the perfect person to help with that vision.” The two couples say they hope to open more locations with the same vision as Lola’s gains popularity.
Cindy Lewis worked with Carter to create a menu filled with fresh produce and housemade ingredients whenever possible. “We developed the entire menu and manufacture the fresh components here daily. We wanted to give the whole island experience, from the drinks to the food,” she says. Some menu favorites: nachos piled high, fish tacos bikini-style (served as a lettuce wrap) as well as the pancake tacos—the tortillas swapped for a pancake filled with eggs and bacon—that are served during Saturday and Sunday brunch. 

Carter, who has worked in and owned bars in Raleigh since the 90s, developed a top-notch bar menu with everything from classic beers to margaritas with freshly-squeezed citrus—he even went to Jamaica to research the perfect combination for his rum punch. The bar’s name comes from a beach trip, too: Carter visited Costa Rica back in 2013 to surf, and met a pig named Lola at a beachside shack. He took the name and the vibe and ran with it. “Lola represents the surfer girl spirit,” he says. “We wanted this spot to be your escape when you can’t be at the beach.” 


Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita

Fill shaker with:
Muddled jalapeño in lime juice
1 1/2 oz Blue Agave tequila
1/2 oz oz Triple Sec
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz Lola’s Sour Mix (a proprietary blend of citrus)
Serve over ice and top with a splash of grenadine.


Jamaican Rum Punch
Fill shaker with:
1 1/2 oz rum
1 1/2 oz coconut milk
Pineapple juice
Orange juice
Splash of grenadine

Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with citrus.