By popular demand, we brought back our top story from last January and expanded it to ask local bartenders where we should drink this year. Their choices—a mix of local dive bars, upscale cocktail bars and straight-up great local watering holes—are listed below. Read on to figure out where to drink in 2020, chosen by the people who are truly in the know.
by Catherine Currin
Wine Buyer & GM, Short Walk Wines
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Short double latte from Cup A Joe
Romantic Drink: Royale has really lovely lighting and the general atmosphere is really good. I also like Apéro.
Casual Beverage: Person Street Bar is my go-to. It’s close and open late, which suits my schedule.
Go-to for a Beer: Anywhere that serves a Tecate!
Co-owner, Durham Distillery
Favorite Bartender: Zack Thomas of Crawford & Son. Martinez cocktail
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Raleigh Raw Morning Glory
Romantic Drink: The Umstead bar lounge or outside on their terrace with the fireplaces.
Casual Beverage: Bittersweet—anytime of day
Go-to For a Beer: The Northern Spy
Sit Outside: Whiskey Kitchen
Beverage Director, The Atlantic Lounge
Favorite Bar: Dram & Draught, order scotch
Non-Alcoholic Drink: The Pharmacy Cafe on Person Street
Romantic Drink: C. Grace
Casual Beverage: Circa
Go-To for a Beer: Pelagic Beer & Wine
Sit Outside: William & Company
Make at Home: Olive-infused vodka martinis
Head Barman, Dram & Draught
Favorite Bartender: Alexander and Jordan at Gallo—I drink whatever the bartender is making…
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Heirloom— black iced red eye
Romantic Drink: My crib
Casual Beverage: Havana
Go-To for a Beer: Modelo Especial—anywhere that I’m not working and my homies are working! I like to spread the love.
Bartender, Transfer Co. Food Hall
Favorite Bartender: Dylon Myrick, and I’m simple. Usually just a beer and a side of Reposado Tequila.
Non-Alcoholic Drink: I usually make my own coffee at home, and I’m a big fan of Pine State Coffee for those beans.
Casual Beverage: I really like Person Street Bar. I feel certain that Johnson Street Yacht Club is going to be a standard for me.
Go-To for a Beer: Person Street Bar
Craig Rudewicz and Lindsay Lassere
Co-owners, Crude Bitters
Favorite Bar: We love the bars at Fiction Kitchen and Apéro.
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Kaleb at Benchwarmers makes a great cortado.
Romantic Drink: The cozy bar at Death & Taxes is great for cocktails and some small bites before your meal, or as a start
to the evening.
Go-To for a Beer: We’ve been spoiled with the opening of Burial Beer and Transfer Co. Food Hall across the street.
Favorite Bar: Slim’s—Tecate, shot of Espolòn or a Mind Eraser.
Non-Alcoholic Drink: A draft cold brew and all of the baked goods from Union Special Bread.
Romantic Drink: Night Rider
Casual Beverage: Ruby Deluxe
Go-To for a Beer: Slim’s
Sit Sutside: Slim’s
Make at Home: Mezcal in a glass