Best of Wilmington NC 2018
The starter game is strong at this laidback New American brew bar. Known for serving up forward-thinking, superior pub grub—JohnnyLukes has become a Wilmington treasure for shared plates and sunshine on their airy rooftop patio. Patrons go mad for the rare tuna with masterfully seared topnotch ahi, pickled ginger, and wasabi on a vibrant green bed of refreshing seaweed salad. Other hard-to-beat apps include the flavor-packed flatbreads and caramelized, garlic-orange-mandarin grilled New Zealand lamb chops.
Satellite Bar and Lounge
Now one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in town, the Greenfield Street area has been home to local fav Satellite for years. No matter the weather, thirsty crowds flock to their Sunday Bluegrass Jam sessions. This eclectic dive bar with its mountain lodge feel (not to mention a colossal booze list) offers something for everybody. From cornhole games in the kid-friendly backyard to an adjacent walk-up taco window to the highly anticipated Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria directly across the street—Satellite’s the indisputable king of South Front.
Say it with me now: “boo-zhee.” This posh Princess Street lounge is as swanky as it sounds, and if you’ve never popped in for one of their concerts—you’re missing out. From rock star Wilmington musicians like Mike Blair to traveling indie artists like Rayland Baxter, the intimate space (featuring state of the art audio capability) is ideal for pulling up an ear. Hit the bar where the mixologists are whipping up killer Old Fashioneds (among other classics), pouring craft beer, and cracking plenty of PBR. Stop in on the first Tuesday of each month for Wilmington Unplugged—a showcase of local talent.
Dram + Morsel
Dram’s chic, speakeasy-style bar and dining room is a no-brainer when it comes to cocktail o’clock. Just a quick hop above Yosake (and Husk on the ground level), you’ll find an array of innovative small plates and refined cocktails. For a clean and refreshing sip, the La Pina Ahumada with Mezcal, mint, and pineapple or the Wildflower Lemonade with honeysuckle vodka and rose water go down smooth. Bourbon drinkers, The Pretty Penny—Maker’s, St. Germaine, thyme, and lemon made frothy via egg white—will be your go-to.
Far more than your average neighborhood brewery, Flytrap is one of North 4th Street’s most welcoming hubs to meet your pals, snag a flight, catch an art show, hear a band, or get your grub on at a local food truck. This family-run, small batch brewery (specializing in American and Belgian style ales) is dog-and-kid-friendly and is all about giving back to the community. Hop-bomb lovers, check out the always-popular Rye Pale Ale and rotating IPA series. Sip on $5 flights Tuesdays and check out tours and tastings Friday and Saturdays.
In addition to the historic ambiance and inventive, globally-inspired small plates and polished entrees—Circa’s famous in many circles for their outrageously reasonable happy hour. Belly up to the inviting bar 7 days a week between 5–7 PM for $4 tapas that will knock your socks (and sunglasses) off. For a bargain you can’t beat that is filling, yet a light, bite: the earthy Mushroom Bruschetta or Beets, Blue Cheese, and Candied Pecans will do you right.
Late Night Menu
After a night out on the town, you never have to worry about going to bed without food thanks to this long-running diner whose cheerful staff swings open the doors at 10 (PM—that is). If it’s a Farmer’s Omelet or homemade Biscuits and Gravy you’re craving at midnight, Jimbo’s will be ready with a spatula and a smile. If a downhome pancake breakfast doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of lamb gyros and fried chicken to go around.
Pub / Tavern
Tavern on 17th
When it comes to beer-centric joints with sincerely sensational bar food, Wilmington is always open arms to a newbie. Tavern on 17th is rocking out everything from noteworthy burgers to modernized plates like soy-glazed Ahi Tuna Wonton Tacos with mango slaw. The “Masters” Burger—juicy, fresh meat with gooey in-house pimiento cheese, and savory caramelized onions—most definitely deserves a golf clap. Flatbreads and fish & chips are also the talk of the town at this novel Barclay Pointe pub.
Manna peaks the list once again for all things shaken, stirred, and served on the rocks. The only thing this town loves more than posh cocktails are the mixologists producing the magic behind the bar. From homemade bitters to infused simple syrups to fresh juices and hand-picked liquors—Manna takes their beverage program very seriously with the best products they can find. Get lost with their “Three Day Tour”: Suntory Toki Japanese whisky, Yellow Chartreuse, Lillet Blanc, lime, Fee Brothers falernum, and Reagan’s Orange Bitters.
The Fortunate Glass
Get your grape on at this premier wine bar boasting one of the region’s largest and most diverse wine selections (by the glass or bottle). The thoughtfully chosen list of globally-sourced vino at Fortunate Glass is only enhanced by the charming venue’s creative small plates and elegant copper and glass tile bar. Ask owner Celeste Glass for a double order of the Duck Confit Sliders and a bold, peppery Malbec to match. For a well-rounded sampling with a side of education, swing by Tuesdays from 6–8 PM for free informative wine tastings featuring four unique bottles.