Best of Wilmington NC Nightlife 2020
I can’t speak highly enough of this retro-gas-station-turned-bottle shop. The elaborate collection of hard-to-find craft brews and compilation of cigars are just the beginning of Brewer’s Kettle’s charm. The real appeal lies in owner Stephen Henson’s commitment to making sure you find the right beverage and have a great time while sipping it. From live music to fundraisers to special events, BK always has a party worth stopping in for.
You may start your day here sharing seafood scrambles with your family, but you’ll end the night at Neptune’s pirate-themed pub with a boatload of your drinking buddies. Right on Wrightsville Beach’s main drag, this longtime Lumina Avenue lounge runs from sunrise to late night. Hit the rum bar before the dance floor. Trust me.
Dram + Morsel
At the peak of Front Street’s Roudabush building sits Dram + Morsel, and the creative libations are worth every step of the three-flight journey. Have an open conversation about “The Bourbs and the Bees”—a bold blend of Maker’s Mark and Dewars with orange blossom honey and chamomile bitters. For a sophisticate sip, the Secret Garden (floral Creme de Violet, St. Germaine, and lime topped with bubbles) won’t be a secret much longer.
Wilmington Brewing Company
The name Wilmington Brewing Company is interchangeable with the term “local beer.” We’re all familiar with John and Michelle Savard’s most magical nectars scattered on draft everywhere you look—Tropical Lightning and Blair’s Breakfast Stout, to name the highlights—but WBC’s in-house board is layered with diverse, consistently crafted choices. Word to the wise: Sneaky Goose (coming in hot with a 9.4% ABV) is sneaky indeed.
There’s much to savor at this Pan-Asian pillar, and the best time do it is from 5 – 7 PM. Available daily for dine-in only, Yosake’s half-price appetizer menu is a steal in the sushi world. Munch on their famous Firecracker Shrimp for $6 and then finish strong with the Spicy Crunch Salmon Roll and creamy coconut milk and lemongrass-perfumed soup (a flavor explosion for just two bucks).
Late Night Menu
Jimbo’s Breakfast & Lunch
I, for one, often find that 3 AM is when I’m craving a tzatziki sauce-smothered pita. And in those times, I turn to Jimbo’s. Whether you’ve just called it quits at the bar or have clocked out of your night shift, this long-running no-frills diner is as reliable as an old friend. The kind who’s always there after midnight with a mushroom and cheese omelet or liver and onions with a side of fried okra.
Whiskey Trail Pub & Grill
Even if you don’t reside in the Masonboro Loop area, the short hike from central Wilmington to this neighborhood pub’s wings is worth every minute of the drive. Whiskey Trail’s laidback persona preaches Thursday trivia, sports on the big screen, and weekly Texas hold’em competitions. Lose time (while devouring fried pimento cheese balls) at the roomy bar, kick back on the tavern’s porch, or hang upstairs in the lower-key dining room.
You need something to wash down that fiercely addictive salsa, and K-Bueno has got a margarita list a mile-long to quench your thirst. There’s a reason those notorious, blue-rimmed clear tumbler glasses are littered across each table. Featuring 100% Blue Agave Tequilas, creations like the Prickly Pear is a sweet and sour tropical trip for your taste buds. Keep it classy by pairing their heavenly queso with a Pom Drop—a lemonade and pomegranate-infused martini.
No, you’re not seeing double. Brent’s has earned two spots on this year’s list. The bewitching bistro is officially a double threat with victories for its lavish appetizers and notable wine offerings. Upscale without being stuffy, Brent’s family-oriented eatery has become prized for their educational monthly wine dinners and a bottle list that’s gone from “zero to hero.” Wondering what to pair with those smoky, pimento cheese-covered fried green tomatoes? Just ask Brent.
Wine Store (2 winners)
You may not think of a regional grocer as being a leader in the local wine scene, but Harris Teeter proves that wrong. Not only do they offer frequent discounts and chef-inspired pairings, but the store boasts its own Fine Wines Club where members receive monthly newsletters flooded with info on winemaker profiles, tasting events, recipes, and more.
Don’t get it twisted—this Ogden-based beer garden is just as much of a wine lover’s dwelling. From fine wines by the glass to, wait for it, wine slushees—Fermental is a quaint beverage bungalow whose staff is always there to uncork, educate, and make you want to stay a while.