BEST OF WILMINGTON NC 2017
By Emily Gorman Fancy and FANNY SLATER
Dram + Morsel
On the search for chic small plates with a comfort food twist? Dram + Morsel has got you covered. This trendy lounge resides on Front Street, but evokes a New York City vibe. Favorites for sharing: the Frites on Fleek with candied bacon and smoked cheddar sauce and Floured Flower (deep-fried florets served with smoked gouda ranch). For a heartier app, the juicy Moroccan Wings for a King lives up to their name.
Satellite Bar and Lounge
It’s hard to beat Satellite’s Sunday Bluegrass Jam sessions, but you’ll find your happy place in this hip dive bar any day of the week. Slightly off the beaten path (Greenfield Street to be exact) and away from the hubbub of Front Street sits this funky, cabin-like tavern that sports cornhole, movie nights, and rousing music. Slosh around your favorite craft draft in an oversized mug, pick your liquor, or choose from an infinite lineup of bottles and cans.
Got a young friend with an old soul? Swing them by this speakeasy and watch the magic happen. Not only does Blind Elephant have a burlesque feel and righteous, handcrafted cocktails to match, the club’s ambience is unlike anywhere else in town. Sip a Big Brown—fresh blackberry, mint, and bourbon—while silent black-and-white films project onto the wall with a live jazz piano player as your soundtrack.
There are numerous bartenders in our booze-obsessed town, but only a handful of actual mixologists. Manna reliably tops the list when it comes to concoctions that can be shaken, stirred, or served with a twist (and I don’t mean lemon). Lead liquor wizard Ian Murray produces the bar’s simple syrups and bitters and can tell you the alcohol ABC’s backwards and forwards with his mixing hands tied behind his back—while also making you a Proper Pimms.
Front Street Brewery
Although the craft beer craze began to stir in Wilmington’s waters about five years back, Front Street Brewery had already been pouring originals for close to two decades. Besides two dollar Tuesdays (where you can score their malty IPA for a couple bucks), FSB rocks a half price appetizer menu between 4 – 6 PM and after 10, where the garlicky Beer Nuggets are worth every calorie and the ESB flows like the salmon of Capistrano.
Halligan's Public House
Welcome to one of Wilmington’s finest and friendliest watering holes. Halligan’s is a true piece of Irish hospitality and everyone in the bar will toast to that. You’ll need something to wash that Guinness down, so swing in between 4 - 6 PM any Monday through Thursday for “Happy Hour” appetizers. For just five dollars, you can be the proud owner of Ultimate Nachos, Fried Pickles, Boneless Wings, or crispy Potato Skins.
Late Night Menu
Should you be a bit hungry after a long night of libations, the always-faithful Jimbo’s has got your back. This no-frills diner is known for a darn good downhome breakfast and is equally as popular with the late-night crowd. Thanks to hours that start at 10 PM, patrons in desperate need of Corned Beef Hash or Strawberry Waffles when the clock strikes midnight are in luck.
Ogden Tap Room
Everyone needs their own version of Cheers, and for those in the Ogden neighborhood—the Tap Room is where everybody knows their name. This spot is far more than a sports bar. Even downtowners make the hike to this pub for its selection of forty draft beers, seasonally influenced menu items (like the generously portioned Shrimp Po Boy with garlic remoulade), and live local music.
Rx Restaurant and Bar
Occupying a once pharmacy, this quaint and cozy soulful gem on the corner of Castle and 5th is a farm-to-table-foodie's paradise. With a daily changing menu and a killer list of craft cocktails, snag a seat at the swanky bar and treat yourself to an RX Julep with Jefferson’s bourbon, local mint syrup, and a Gosling’s floater. Feeling adventurous? Pair this refreshing drink with the Crispy Buffalo Pig Ears.
Grand Cru Food & Wine
With the word “wine” in the name, Grand Cru clearly prides itself on specializing in more than food—and none of us are arguing with that. This newer restaurant’s stylish lounge bears a 300-bottle wine list, a broad collection of Champagne, and a 20-bottle, wine-by-the glass system. Yep, wine on tap. You’ll need a good base for this grape-fest, so start with Chef Kirsten Mitchell’s sinfully delicious Truffled Deviled Eggs.