Best of Wilmington NC Nightlife 2019
Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar
Fire pits, summery sips, and sunset views from a riverfront rooftop bar? If that’s not “cloud nine,” I don’t know what is. Perched atop Wilmington’s newest Embassy Suites, this cozy lounge features live tunes on the weekends, tropical cocktails, ample taps pouring local brews, and a limited—though chef-inspired—menu of shareables. When the humidity strikes, cool off with a Summer in the City (a citrusy blend of housemade rosé sangria and lavender) and snack on a creamy lobster roll.
Whether your group wants to grab a bite on the outdoor patio, kick it for karaoke on the second floor, or let loose at a late-night dance party on the rooftop—Reel has your crowd covered. You can always count on a great time at this downtown staple where the oysters are fresh and the pints are frosty. For Sunday Funday, enjoy Reel’s live music echoing down Front Street with a Fried Chicken BLT on an English muffin and a Bloody Mary whose price you can’t beat.
Dram + Morsel
The Roudabush building is a rock star for many reasons, and at the top of the list (and the stairs) is Dram + Morsel. This crowd-pleasing cocktail joint makes a mean medley of Dim Sum (from Pork Kim Chi Egg Rolls to Sesame Seared Tuna Nachos), but are just as admired for their stirred and shaken creations. Spice up the night with the Tequila Katie (a citrusy marriage of mango cubes, jalapenos, and ginger liqueur) or keep it simple and classy with the Hibiscus Manhattan.
This colossal two-story industrial building not only brings in thirsty hop-lovers, but piles in hundreds of guests for special events. A revitalized historic brewhouse that doubles as a wedding venue? What more could Wilmington beer enthusiasts ask for? Ironclad’s brewers dabble in playful styles like their Heart of Atlantis Gruit (an ancient herbed ale) and put their spin on traditional varieties like lagers and IPAs. For a dessert-like sip, give the roasty, dark chocolately Peanut Butter Porter a try.
The only thing that makes happy hour even happier is when it’s spent waterside. Walk (or boat) right on in to one of downtown’s best spots for after-work laughs and libations. Marina Grill’s laidback vacation vibe gives lively bar-goers all the feels when they’re looking to blow off some steam, snag a few sunset drinks, and take advantage of the five-dollar menu. Dare to try the Devil’s Angel Eggs with fried oysters and sriracha if you’re feeling sassy.
Late Night Menu
Jimbo’s Breakfast & Lunch
Home to some of Wilmington’s wildest operating hours, Jimbo’s is a shoe-in for having the best late-night menu around. This veteran diner greets their eager customers right about the time most folks are calling it a night. From 10 PM until just after lunchtime the following day (2 PM) the friendly staff slings scratchmade meatloaf, golden fried chicken, and nearly every southern side under the sun. Dying for a spinach and feta omelette at 3 AM? Jimbo’s got you.
Whiskey Trail Pub & Grill
This mega chill Masonboro Loop beer-and-wings watering hole is a magnet for neighboring locals looking to kick back and relax. From sports on the big screens to Thursday trivia and weekly Texas hold’em competitions—Whiskey Trail’s troop is always lively and the service is friendly. Chillax on the pub’s porch with a pile of Philly Pierogis or score a quieter meal (like the Cusabi Tuna Wrap with creamy avocado) in the second-floor dining area.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Boozed-up milkshakes, boiler makers, and flavor-rich cocktails make up the magic behind Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. This hip, locally-owned social house’s selection of over 90 whiskeys, 30 beer taps, and handcrafted drinks will quench any thirst. Imbibe in the mellow, refreshing Cucumber Cosmo with Tito’s and white peach, or start your engine strong with something that includes one of their in-house enhanced spirits—like the Marooned with black vanilla-lavender-honey-infused rum.
True Blue Butcher & Table
True Blue’s full-rounded culinary adventure is only elevated by their impressive list of wines from all over the world. If you’re there for the meat (many are), the boundless list of quality reds are sourced from Oregon to California to Argentina. Start your meal with a bubbly bite from Brut Rosé (the Jansz is a bright yet delicate, flowery little number) and then dry off your palate with a classic Italian varietal like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Tuscany.
Lighthouse Beer & Wine
Though this beachy beer garden and market is celebrated for its well-stocked hops and flowing taps, vino enthusiasts know it’s also a one-stop shop for upping your wine collection. Explore hundreds of distinct bottles or do yourself a favor and let their educated staff guide you through the gratifying world of grapes. They’ll even order what you can’t find in-store and ship what you can’t carry. Save by buying bulk (15% off 12 plus bottles and 10% off 6 or more).