Best of Wilmington - Nightlife 2023

02 Aug 2023

Bar

The Ivey in the Alley
iveyilm.com

The wallet-friendly craft cocktails may have been the initial draw to this alley-situated spot that’s a bottle cap’s throw from Blue Post, but the Ivey’s funky aesthetic has been equally commended. The beauty is in the details—a cross between contemporary and steampunk thanks to a mix of Edison bulbs and bikes swinging from the ceiling. Tropical sips like the Aly Cat with rum, Aperol, and pineapple are perfect for vacationers—but the demographic is a jumble of college kids, young professionals, and (thanks to a marvelously intentional mocktail list) even the sober-curious crowd.

 

Club

Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
910-799-6465
facebook.com/reggiesnc

Beer, booze, and live bands are the winning trifecta at this beloved hole-in-the-wall. Reggie’s is a community-centric hangout whose blend of dive bar vibes and entertainment venue appeal has kept its electric spirit alive and well for years. The staff and regulars may have a laidback vibe, but they’re serious about supporting local, independent music. Reggie’s clean, fun atmosphere is a fusion of arcade games, pool tables, and karaoke—but it’s catching your favorite bands up close and personal that’s the real bait.

 

Cocktail

Blind Elephant
910-833-7175
blindelephantspeakeasy.com

Follow the mysterious elephant sign just off Front Street to step into a world of burlesque charm. You’ll savor simply righteous handcrafted cocktails at the speakeasy-themed Blind Elephant where blue backlighting, grand brick walls, and bartenders in prohibition-era attire add to the allure. While the drinks may take a little extra time to curate due to their complexity, the service is consistently prompt. Peep the monthly cocktails, but don’t overlook the perpetually popular on-tap mules, masterfully mixed with house made ginger beer.

 

Craft Brewer

Flytrap Brewing
910-769-2881
flytrapbrewing.com

Flytrap goes above and beyond your typical neighborhood brewery, standing out as one of the Brooklyn Arts District’s warmest and most community-driven destinations. Select a flight and start in the taproom to buzz around the latest local art exhibit then hit the lively beer garden—which welcomes both families and four-legged companions—for live music and food trucks. Owner Mike Barlas takes immense pride in crafting beautifully balanced American and Belgian ales, but there’s plenty to appreciate on the seasonal and special release menus.

 

Late Night Menu + Sushi

Yosake
910-763-3172
yosake.com

One of downtown’s most revered Pan-Asian eateries snagged a dual victory on our list this year for both their elaborate sushi creations and the (exclusively dine-in) late night "happy hour.” Craving crab rangoons late-night? From 10pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, Yosake has got you covered. Come for the island-inspired Maui Wowie at dinner—yellowtail and pineapple wrapped in avocado and topped with ahi tuna poke—then pop back in after a night of bar-hopping for stupid-fresh sashimi under
10 bucks.

 

Pub Tavern

Tavern 14
910-769-2225
tavern14.business.site

It's impossible not to adore a bar whose welcome cry is an enthusiastic "Hell yeah!" instead of a dull "Hello." At this lively sports pub on Market Street, you'll be impressed by the abundance of nearly twenty flat-screen TVs, a plethora of pool tables, and generous portions. Satisfy your Sunday desire for a Bloody Mary and a variety of delectable fried delights on the expansive wrap-around porch. Tavern 14 produces all the usual suspects like wings and burgers, but nothing screams Saturday night like the signature “zillas”—which they define as tipsy quesadillas who got frisky with pizza.

 

Specialty Drinks

The Underfront Co.
910-660-4994
theunderfrontcompany.com

Boutique cocktails are the name of the game at this downtown lounge that takes mixology to another level. Sip a blend of St. Germain and pineapple with flamed absinthe mist in the grand, yet intimate atmosphere marked by century-old beams and rafters. The menu is thoughtfully broken up into flavor profiles (from fresh and fruity to bold and smoky) and even the non-alcoholic choices are an artful meld of gastriques, delicate foams and creams, raw sugar syrups, house-made bitters, and tinctures.

 

Wine List

Second Glass
910-399-7486
secondglasswinebar.com

South Front District's urban eatery, Second Glass, is not only a sophisticated mecca of southern flavors, but also a wine bar that truly wows. Owner Celeste Glass’s ability to ornately shape a space, select a wide-ranging and extensive collection of wines, and employ an extraordinary staff is unmatched. If you’re easily overwhelmed, share your palate preferences with your server and let them lead you toward something new. Small and large plates are also always listed with a suggested pairing. Save room for the vegan chocolate brownie. 

 

Wine Store

The Wine Sampler
910-796-9463
thewinesampler.com

Kerr Avenue strip mall’s unassuming Wine Sampler takes wine tasting to new heights. Sip and shop in-store while you explore a world of 700+ wines that range in all price points. Mull over the impressive international wines as you decide which varietal to sample from one of the 28 selections “on tap” in the WineStation®. Whether you’re a sommelier or someone who’s just getting curious, a knowledgeable staff member is always there to chaperon your journey to the perfect bottle.

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