Clubs, Bars and Nightlife


"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."

                                                   --Humphrey Bogart



Drinkers and clubbers are fickle, so music clubs, watering holes and dive bars tend to change frequently. For the latest hotspots and openings and closings, see Asheville’s Mountain Xpress newspaper (a free tabloid-size paper published weekly) or check review sites such as Yelp on the internet.


Note that North Carolina has done away with the law that required many bars, ones that derived 70% or more of revenue from drinks, to go through the charade of being a “membership clubs” and having to pay a nominal sum to enter. A few bars may still choose to be clubs with a membership fee.


Here are some of the Asheville nightspots popular at the time of this writing in 2023. For more options see also the Beer City USA and Dining sections. Especially notable spots are highlighted in RED. Establishments are listed alphabetically (articles like "the" are ignored in alphabetizing). By law establishments must stop serving alcohol at 2 am.


Alley Cat Social Club (797 Haywood Rd., #100, West Asheville, 828-767-0456) has a bar in the front and a lounge in back, with a large dance floor and a giant projection screen.


Andidote at Chemist Spirits (151 Coxe Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-2882, is the bar that is a part of Chemist distillery. It serves both Chemist other liquors in craft cocktails.


Asheville Beauty Academy (28 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville) at the former location of Tressa’s, is a new bar and dance club operated by the owner of Ole Shakey’s and Sovereign Remedies. There are drag shows weekly.


Asheville Guitar Bar (122 Riverside Dr., North Asheville near River Arts District, 407-616-4917) is a small music venue for musicians, open to the public. Co-owned by a musician. Moderately priced beer and wine (not cocktails). Music most nights, usually with a $5 to $10 cover. Closed Monday and Tuesday.


Asheville Yacht Club (97 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-255-8454, Out of place tiki bar atmosphere with tropical drinks and live music some nights.


The Bar (18 N. Lexington., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-8980,, at Table restaurant, is a small upscale bar with a good selection of craft cocktails, wines and beers. Plus, you can get a selection of snacks including oysters on the half shell. There's live music some nights, and a DJ on others.


Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria (42 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-255-0504, has live bluegrass and other music some nights, with no cover charge. The long-established bar and restaurant (serving pizza, wraps and burgers) is on the first level. The upstairs bar has four pool tables and darts. Barley’s has more than 50 beers on tap.


Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar (Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave., #101, Downtown Asheville, 828-252-0200, is a combination used book store (with thousands of titles) and a wine and champagne bar (you also can get beer). There’s a small menu of charcuterie, salads and seasonal soups; some items are vegan. Books and wine – what a concept!


Bier Garden (46 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-285-0002, is a sports bar that offers about 250 different beers, including around 30 on draft. Cocktails and wine, too. Burgers, sandwiches and other bar food.


Bottle Riot (37 Payne Way, #009, River Arts District, 828-505-8686, is a wine bar and listening lounge next to Bull and Beggar in the Wedge Studios building. It an extensive list of wine by the glass, imported beers and indoor and outdoor seating. Dog friendly.


Broadway’s (120 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-285-0400) is a dive bar with a jukebox and a pool table and cheap PBR on the first floor.


Burger Bar (1 Craven St. West Asheville, 828- 761-1311) straight up, no frills old school dive bar. No craft cocktails, and no burgers. Just beer and cheap booze. Great if that’s your kind of place. It may, or may not, be the oldest bar in Asheville.


Capella on 9 (AC Marriott Hotel, 10 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-258-2522, on the ninth floor of the AC Hotel Marriott just north of Pack Square, Capella on 9 arguably is Asheville's best rooftop bar. Beautiful views, sophisticated setting with lots of art, both inside and out, and if you're hungry you’ll enjoy the small plates menu.


Casablanca Cigar Bar (18 Lodge St., Biltmore Village, 828-505-0342, Good spot to enjoy a fine cigar and a cocktail, wine or beer. There is walk-in humidor with a very large selection of cigars for sale. This bar has a good number of bourbons and Scotches. The bar was renovated in early 2023.


The Chemist (151 Coxe Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-525-6260,, part of Apothecary Beverage Co., focuses on distilling gins (Navy, American, Rose and Barrel Rested), and about a half dozen other liquors and liqueurs, some of which you can sample in the tasting room, open daily. One-hour tours ($25 per person) are offered by appointment online. Fever-Tree Botanic Bar at Chemist is Fever-Tree mixers’ first permanent bar in the United States, on the rooftop of the three story South Slope building.


Cultivated Cocktails (29 Page Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-338-9779, Formerly H&H Distillery, the company moved Down-town and upped its game. It distills gin, rum, vodka, whisky and liqueurs and an aperitif. It also offers cocktail kits and serves drinks by the glass.


The Crow & Quill (106 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, This bar with a speakeasy atmosphere says it has more than 400 whiskeys/whiskys – it’s especially strong on Scotches, and some are pretty pricey -- and a total of 600 kinds of spirits, not including craft beers. Live music some nights, a DJ on others. It is not well signed, which is part of the concept. Closed Monday.


Crucible Bar (140A Roberts St., River Arts District, 828-575-9996). Tucked away in the River Arts District with no sign on the door, Crucible has a sizable following of locals who like the moderately priced drinks and cozy atmosphere.


District 42 in Kimpton Arras Hotel (Main Floor, Hotel Arras, 7 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-774-5564,  is a classy hotel bar on Pack Square. Cocktails cost more than in many bars, but you can enjoy a good cocktail in the quiet, upscale space in the heart of town.


The Double Crown (375 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828- 575-9060). Small neighborhood dive bar with lots of bourbons and sometimes live music.


5 Walnut Wine Bar (5 W. Walnut, Downtown Asheville, 828-253-2593, has added more jazz and other music, so now it’s a place to hear music, not just to have a quiet glass of wine, cheeses and appetizers. Lots of brick and handcrafted wood tables, and the wines are affordable. Rock shows happen at least weekly.


Fleetwood’s (496 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-505-5525, is a combination rock ‘n roll bar, vintage clothing and housewares shop and Vegas-style wedding chapel. Its slogan is “Shop, Drink, Get Married.” You can actually get married here, but Fleedwood’s also offers a phony weekend wedding package (you don’t need a wedding license and don’t actually get a real marriage.) Cost for the Fake as Hell package is $75. Fleetwood’s is opened daily except Monday.


Foggy Mountain Brew Pub (12 Church St., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-3008, is tucked off the main drag on Church Street. Popular for brews and shots. Burgers and sandwiches are good. The beer is cold, service friendly and live music (some nights) is nice. Closed Monday.


Golden Pineapple Bar (503 Haywood Rd., 828-505-4458, is a bartender-owned neighborhood bar in part of one of the oldest buildings in West Asheville, with interesting craft cocktails (around $10 to $14) as well as shots. Drafts are $5 to $7. Pizza, burgers and other food is available. Closed Wednesday.


Great Hall Bar at Omni Grove Park Inn (290 Macon Ave., North Asheville, 828-252-2711, is the lobby of the centu-ry plus-old resort, but what a lobby this is! Two 14-foot wide stone fireplaces bookend the historic room, and you can wander out to the Sunset Terrace dining room and take in the views of Asheville. Drinks are fairly expensive -- signature cocktails are $14 to $20, or more. You’re paying for the ambiance and part of the hotel overhead.


Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave., River Arts District, 828-232-5800, in the River Arts District is a popular listening room with live music most nights. Mostly this is a rock venue, with national and local bands. Some name artists like Loudon Wainwright III, Chris Smither and Arlo Guthrie have played here. Ticket prices vary but range from around $10 to $25 and usually with no age limitation. During the day, Grey Eagle is a taco joint. Closed Monday.


Haywood Country Club (662 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-417-7230, Ha, ha. It is a little joke. This is not a country club but a neighborhood bar with a DJ playing music at times and a food truck some nights.


The Hound (2 Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-412-3498, occupies the space just beyond the tunnel, on the left going out of town, where the Greyhound Bus station was for more than two decades. But The Hound, which opened in mid-2023, is no gritty bus station. It’s a comfortable, some-what upscale lounge. It offers cocktails (mostly $10 to $13), craft beers ($3 to $7) and wines by the glass and bottle, along with small plates like smoked trout dip and a salami plate. There’s also outdoor seating in the area where big buses used to park.


Imperiál (48 College St., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-8455,  Formerly the upstairs bar at Table restaurant, Imperiál now focuses on agave cocktails but also has beer, wine and other cocktails. It’s on the second floor up a fairly steep stairs. Closed Wednesday.


Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-252-5445, is a comfortable, friendly Celtic-style bar Downtown featuring English ales. The music is mostly acoustic, with bluegrass picking and Irish tunes. There’s trivia here every week. Menu of bar food. Jack of the Wood was the original home of Green Man Brewery.


Lazy Diamond (98 N. Lexington, Downtown Asheville, 828-289-5977) Rock ‘n Roll dive bar with DJ. Live music shows occasionally.


The Montford (DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 199 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-8750,, the rooftop bar at the DoubleTree, has fabulous views. Drinks are a little pricey. Food choices are limited. The views are the thing here. Seating is limited, and reservations suggested. Complimentary valet parking.


The Odd (1045 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-575-9299,, formerly The Odditorium, definitely has an odd decor, with all kinds of strange art, dolls and such and a dive bar vibe. Live music most nights.


Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar (22. N. Market St., Downtown Asheville, 828-785-1390, Convivial bar with live music including, yes, dueling pianos. Closed Tuesday.


O. Henry’s (237 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-1891, probably the oldest gay bar in North Carolina, usually at-tracts a quieter male gay crowd, but it is a welcoming place. The Underground at O. Henry’s is a second bar and dance space at the club. It has drag shows on some Saturdays. O’Henry’s remains a private club, with a $5 membership.


Ole Shakey’s (38 N. French Broad, Downtown Asheville, 828-545-6985,, relocated in 2022 from its riverside location, is a former old-school dive bar that now has occasional live music.


Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club (101 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-398-1837, is Asheville’s top mid-size venue for live music. In the 1950s the building that now houses the Orange Peel was a skating rink, and then it became a series of R&B clubs. It opened as the Orange Peel in 2002. In 2007, the Smashing Pumpkins played a nine-night gig at the Orange Peel, drawing national attention since this was the group’s first performance in the U.S. in six years.


The next year, Rolling Stone named it one of the top five rock clubs in the coun-try. Although it features many local and regional bands, it has hosted a number of big names, including Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, Blondie, Beastie Boys and Modest Mouse.


After an expansion, the club now can handle up to 1,050 standing. And we do mean standing – there’s limited seating at the Orange Peel so be prepared to stay on your feet. The dance floor has springy wood slats. The PULP at 103 Hilliard Avenue is a private club below the main level, seating up to 150 and serving drinks.


The Orange Peel doesn’t have a parking lot, so you’ll need to park on the street or in nearby lots such as the City of Asheville garage under the Aloft Hotel. When popular groups are at the Orange Peel, you’ll pay event parking rates at the Aloft garage. Ticket prices at the Orange Peel vary from around $10 to $75, and more for a few acts.


Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge (7 Rankin Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-4993, is dark, popular and mostly local, with cocktails moder-ately priced. It does have an actual room-sized bank vault in back. Parking is handy across the street at the City of Asheville’s Rankin garage. The Vault also has a very good burger (about $15). You place your food and drink order at the bar, and it's brought to your table.


Red Stag Bar at Bohemian Hotel (11 Boston Way, Biltmore Village, 828-505-2949, with what think is a garish decor, heavy on the reds, may put you mind of an old New Orleans bordello, but if you’re in Biltmore Village it’s a convenient place to get an after-dinner drink.


Salvage Station (466 Riverside Dr., River Arts District, 828-407-0521, music and festival venue  has indoor and outdoor stages. Maximum capacity for outdoor shows is around 2,500. It has a Southern food stand and several bars. Salvage Station get regional and some national bands.


Saint Brighids (36 Foundy St. A1, River Arts District, 828-367-7055, is located near the front of the Marquee Asheville market. Marquee has 50,000 sq. ft. of vendor space in the RAD. This is a wine, craft beer, cider and mead bar plus bottle shop. FYI, Saint Brighids is the patron saint of brewers.


Scandals Nightclub (11 Grove St., Downtown Asheville, 828-505-1612,, around for more than 30 years, is still open, with drag shows and dancing on weekends, although the rest of the week it has become an event venue.


Sly Grog Lounge (271 Haywood St., Downtown Asheville, 828-552-3155) is a dive bar associated with Foxy & Co. vintage and antique shop (as of this writing, Foxy & Co. is temporarily closed).


The Social Lounge (29 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-348-8448, is one of Asheville’s takes on an adult cocktail bar. There’s bar (and limited) table seating on the main level and an appealing rooftop bar upstairs. Until further notice, The Social Lounge requires reservations be made through its restaurant, Strada Italiano.


Sovereign Remedies (29 N Market St., Downtown Asheville, 828-919-9518. is in a cozy, elegant but fairly small space in a convenient location Downtown, diagonally across from the Asheville Community Theatre. It has some outdoor seating, too. Bartenders serve up creative craft cocktails at not-too-expensive prices, but if you're more old school they'll also do traditional drinks like Gin & Tonics, Old-Fashions and such. This bar is a fine place to enjoy a nightcap after dinner Downtown. There’s a fairly extensive dinner menu, and it serves late.


Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro (125 S. Lexington, Downtown Asheville, 828-505-8560, is more of a restaurant than a bar, but you can get cocktails, craft beer and a good burger with fresh-ground meat.


Thirsty Monk (92 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-687-3873 and 2 Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Town Square Park, South Asheville) in Downtown Asheville on Patton Avenue has a three-level operation with three bars, Top of the Monk Cocktail Bar, Holy Water Hard Seltzer Brewpub and Delirium Belgian Bar. It also has a brew-pub at Biltmore Town Square in South Asheville, with 22 taps, a cocktail and a bar food menu.


Tiger Mountain Thirst Parlour (112 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-407-0666) moved from its former location on Broadway. Kitschy dive bar atmosphere with red lights.


The Times at S&W Market (56 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-9551). In a wonderful Art Deco building, this bar on the main floor the S&W Market food court, in what used to be Asheville’s best-known cafeteria and meeting space. There’s wine by the glass, craft beers and a nice selection of craft cocktails, some from Prohibition-era recipes. Highland Brewing also is in the S&W Market.


27 Seven Social Club (180 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville) hosts rock shows and other music events. The bar has black and white tile floor, kitchy furnishings and colorful lighting.


Wedge Brewing Co. (125B Roberts St., and 5 Foundy St., River Arts District, 828-505-2792, in the old Farmer’s Federation Building in the River Arts District is one of Asheville’s most popular brewpubs. A kid’s playground and picnic/seating area is outside. The bar doesn’t serve food, except free peanuts, but you can buy Korean BBQ or tacos or other items from food trucks that set up here. In summer, the Wedge shows movies outdoors. The bar is very dog friendly. The second location of the Wedge on Foundy Street near 12 Bones, also in the RAD, is cool, too.


Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-225-9782, is a popular West Asheville bar with live music many nights. Food is okay but not the main reason to come here. Westville Pub is also home to a microbrewery, All Sevens.


The Whale (507 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, behind Haywood Common res-taurant, 828-575-9888, Unlike most Asheville bars that focus on well-known local craft beers and ciders, this one gathers top craft beers from around the country and also the best of international beers. A "whale" in this sense is some-thing that is unusual and hard-to-find, akin to a black swan. The bar has a large whale skeleton (not real) hanging from the ceiling and features the whale theme in designs throughout the bar.


Wicked Weed Brewing (91 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-9599;, next to the Orange Peel, opened in late 2012 and in-stantly became one of Asheville’s most popular brewpubs. There’s a good restaurant upstairs, serving pub food and more, including steaks, mussels and trout, in a beautifully built out space with raw brick and a glassed-in open kitchen. The tasting room and brewery are downstairs, and there's a takeout shop beside the pub. Wicked Weed, which was purchased by beverage giant AB InBev, also operates the Funkatorium on Coxe venue Downtown, which specializes in sour beer (Wicked Weed opened a restaurant, Cultura, near the Funkatorium in 2019) and Wicked Weed West, a taproom on Sand Hill Road in Enka, at its main production and distribution center.


Village Pub (100 Fairview Rd., South Asheville, 828-417-7128,, new in 2022, is an attractive new drinking spot near Biltmore Village, associated with Eda Rhyne Distillery.


Wxyz Bar at Aloft Hotel (51 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-232-2838, is on the second floor of the hotel. You can sit at stools at the bar, in chairs in eye-popping colors or sip your drink on an outdoor ledge patio overlooking Biltmore Avenue. Re:mix lounge, connected to Wxyz bar, has free wi-fi and a pool table.




Live theatre is going on somewhere in the Asheville area all the time.  For up-to-date calendar of theatre, music and other arts events, check out Mountain Xpress weekly newspaper.

Here are some of the drama companies and venues:


Asheville Community Theatre (35 E. Walnut St., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-1320,, founded at the end of World War II (Charlton Heston was a manager of the theatre in 1947) is one of the oldest community theatres in the country. It puts on about a dozen quality productions annually, some on the Main Stage and some at its smaller black box theatre, 35 Below. Main Stage tickets are around $20-$45, with discounts for seniors and students.


Asheville Masonic Temple (80 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville, 828-239-0928,, though still a functioning Masonic temple, in recent years has been opened to the public as a venue for plays, music, weddings and other events. The exterior of 1915 four-story brick building Downtown, designed by the firm of Smith & Carrier, is something of a conglomeration of styles – Romanesque and Beaux-Arts with Greek Revival classical touches in the Ionic columns over the entrance. Inside, there’s a 270-seat horseshoe-shaped theatre with balcony and orchestra seating.


Flat Rock Playhouse (2661 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock, 828-693-0731, is the official State Theatre of North Carolina, though the state provides only 2% of funding. The theatre draws some 100,000 patrons a year to its original 468-seat Main Stage, a barn-like (but now air-conditioned and comfortable) theatre in Flat Rock, dating to 1952. Flat Rock puts on around a dozen productions a year, all highly professional and featuring many Equity actors and often elaborate sets. Many of the productions are musicals or comedies. The theatre also operates a college apprentice and intern residence program in the summer and fall. Tickets for Main Stage productions are around $45-$70, with a variety of discounts available.


Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (HART Performing Arts Center at Shelton House, 250 Pigeon St., Waynesville, 828-456-6322, is a community thea-tre in Waynesville that stages about six to eight main productions each year, plus about five studio productions. Tickets are around $20-30, with discounts available. Season passes are available from $160.


Montford Park Players (92 Gay St., Montford District, Asheville, 828-254-5146, is known for its Shakespeare in the Park productions, the longest-running Shakespeare production in the state. The Players have a 20-week sum-mer season, May to October, staging about a half-dozen productions at the outdoor Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre behind the Montford Recreation Center off Pearson Avenue. Many bring a picnic to enjoy before the play. Alcohol is permitted for adults 21 and over. All actors are volunteers. Summer productions are free, though you need a ticket unless you are renting a lawn chair. A hat is passed at intermission, and you can donate online. A donation of $5 is suggested. Lawn chair rentals are about $10. Parking is free.


North Carolina Stage Company (15 Stage Lane, Downtown Asheville, 828-239-0263, puts on professional-level productions in an intimate 125-seat theatre. NC Stage, established in 2002, tends to do edgier, more innovative productions than most other local theatres. An example was the staging in 2012 of a new play about Buckminster Fuller, who was associated for a time with Black Mountain College. Tickets usually are around $26-$46, with some discounts available. Parking is available  at two city-owned parking garages near the theatre.


Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART, Owen Theatre, 44 College St., Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, 828-689-1384, stages about six professional-quality productions annually. Some SART productions are classic Broadway and off-Broadway shows, but others have a connection with Appalachian culture. In most years at least one of the productions is a world premiere. Tickets are around $28-$32.


Theatre UNC-Asheville (Carol Belk Theatre, UNC-Asheville, 1 University Heights, North Asheville, 828-232-2291) and its drama department stages several productions annually. Long-time department chair and noted theatre director Arnold Wengrow, now retired, made a name for drama at the university.


Warren Wilson Theatre (Kettridge Theatre, 701 Warren Wilson Rd., Warren Wilson College, East Buncombe, 828-771-3041, stages several pro-ductions each year in the 320-seat proscenium theatre. General admission is about $10.


Wortham Center for the Performing Arts (18 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-257-4530,, box office 10-4 Tue.-Fri.. and 1 hour before perfor-mances) has three venues. The main theatre is an intimate 500-seat venue for music, drama and dance, with orchestra and balcony seating. The farthest seat is only 60 feet from the stage. A parking deck is attached to the theatre, and many restaurants are nearyby. Wortham, which is the home venue for some 40 arts and civic organizations, also hosts national touring events.





All content copyright © Lan Sluder except selected photographs used by permission and brief quotations or other fair use text, which are owned by the copyright holder.

We have made every effort to confirm the accuracy of information on this website, and in the Amazing Asheville book and ebooks, but travel information is subject to frequent change, and no warranty is made, express or implied. Please notify us of any errors or omissions, and we will attempt to correct them as soon as possible. All opinions expressed are those of the author, Lan Sluder, unless otherwise noted.