Raleigh’s Living Room: The Parlor at Heights House

The intimate, upscale bar and lounge area at this Boylan Heights boutique hotel offers a glamorous getaway, right in town.
by Catherine Currin | photography by Will Bryant

When Heights House Hotel opened in 2021, owners Sarah and Jeff Shepherd envisioned it as a gathering place for guests and non-guests alike. The hotel’s bar, The Parlor, opened soon after in 2022.

Located in the front room of the renovated mansion, it invites guests to grab a craft cocktail and spend time around the boutique hotel, whether it’s in the elegant drawing room, on the ample porch or on the lawn overlooking Boylan Avenue. There’s also a lounge on the lower level for a more cozy feel.

photograph by Catherine Nguyen

Bar manager Will Bryant enjoys dreaming up festive cocktails for each season. Before leading the team at The Parlor, Bryant lived in Charlotte and worked in the hospitality industry for over a decade. “My theme for the spring menu is floral, herbaceous and breezy, but still boozy,” Bryant says.

The cocktail syrups are all made in-house, incorporate inventive ingredients and are served with vintage tableware thrifted by Heights House co-owner Sarah Shepherd. “What I love about Will is that he can create something unique,” says Shepherd.

In addition to cocktails, the wine and beer menu rotates with seasonally appropriate picks, like lighter-bodied reds and bright white wines as it gets warmer outside. There’s a curated char- cuterie menu including homemade, seasonal dips with Boulted Bread and a s’mores kit to enjoy by the fire pits outside.

The Parlor also offers a tea service most Thursdays, Fridays and weekend afternoons, a unique midday getaway with eight Rishi tea options, tea sandwiches and pastries incorporating goods from lucettegrace and Boulted Bread. “It’s calming, relaxing and intimate,” says Shepherd.

The tea service can be enjoyed anywhere on the main floor of the hotel, and Shepherd encourages folks to come to tea with a friend or solo to read a book or catch up on work. “Take a breath of fresh air in the middle of the day,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to take time for yourself, which we don’t do very often.”

The hotel and bar host a slew of other events throughout the warmer months, including an intimate Italian Supper Club with Grandchamp Hospitality twice a month, picnic lunches and live music on the lawn. Even though Heights House is a hotel, Shepherd says, “you don’t have to stay here to do any of these things — we’re available and accessible. We want to be here for the community.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.