An Insider’s Guide to Five of Raleigh’s Best Bars

Group of people at Raleighs Best Bars doing a cheers

When you have the opportunity for a night on the town, the choice of where to go can be overwhelming. There are so many options and you want to make sure that you find a place that fits your vibe. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing night with friends, or you prefer a more exclusive atmosphere, we’ve got you covered. Below are five of our favorite places in Raleigh to grab a drink.


William & Company   Located in the heart of the Historic Oakwood district and dubbed “WillCo” by regulars, this cozy cocktail bar is easily one of our most frequented places. Comfortable furniture is strategically arranged to give off a lounge vibe and allow for easy conversation. In house fresh made juices and mixers really set their drinks apart, and make for an ever changing specialty cocktail menu. Enjoy house DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, and make sure you order a tamale – fresh made, authentic, and available daily until they sell out!

Cocktail surround by flowers at William & Company, one of Raleigh's best bars


The Atlantic Lounge  Raleigh’s newest members’ only speakeasy made headlines this past December as the highly anticipated gold entrance keys were handed out to the first exclusive group of patrons. Located around the corner from Crawford and Son’s, you’ll first have to locate the secret keyhole sign to find the outer entrance door, then follow the stairwell down to the locked door and if the Vacancy sign is glowing you can use your key to go in! Highlights include retro decor, specialized cocktails, and our favorite – the record player (you can even bring your own vinyl to play). If you are interested in obtaining your very own key email to put your name on the waiting list – note that each individual membership is $40.

Vacancy sign at bottom of stairwell in Atlantic Lounge, one of Raleigh's best bars


Watts & Ward   Named after early 1900s North Carolina Prohibition laws, Watts and Ward is a Downtown Raleigh speakeasy that embodies the spirit of the 1920s. Like most speakeasies, they do require a membership, but it’s not as exclusive of a process as the Atlantic Lounge. Simply check in with the bouncer outside, pay your $1 membership fee (cash only), have your ID scanned, and you are good to go for a year. With several large rooms, furniture made for lounging, and an oasis of an outdoor area, the atmosphere is what sets this bar apart from the others on our list. Frequent live jazz is an added bonus and really sets the 1920s mood.

Cocktail with purple flowers on the bar at Watts and Ward, one of Raleigh's best bars


Parliament   Located in the Bar District of Glenwood South, Parliament is easily recognized by the red glow of their namesake sign above the bar. Though they are a smaller venue than others on our list, they make the most of their space with a long modern style bar, multiple cocktail tables, and a small outside patio. House DJs create a fun dancing atmosphere on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the Prosecco on tap ensures that you will always have a full glass of bubbly! Their craft cocktail classes (always paired with a provided dinner) are a must do, perfect for date night or a girls’ night out – follow them on Facebook for the schedule and to purchase tickets.Two people clinking cocktail glasses in front of the Parliament sign, one of Raleigh's best bars


The Outpost Walking into The Outpost feels like you are stepping into a good friend’s home for a relaxing evening of cocktails and fun – if that friend’s home were decorated as a tiki bar. The middle room houses the bar – where you can order anything from tropical drinks complete with umbrella, to a beer from their extensive local list. They’ve even recently added an eclectic menu of healthy food options from Purple Cabbage. Once you have your drink in hand, select a game from their extensive collection (our favorite is Myth or Fact), and head to one of the cozy rooms set up with couches, recliners, and coffee tables. Though this bar isn’t as upscale as the others on our list, the vibe and amazingly friendly bartenders make this one of our favorite places in Raleigh.

Three tropical cocktails with fruit garnish, from The Outpost, one of Raleigh's best bars

We hope you enjoy trying one or all of these Raleigh spots. Stay tuned for more blog posts and if you have a place or idea you’d like us to blog about, email us at

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