The Crystal Coast of North Carolina is a hidden gem that boasts not only breathtaking beaches, but also a vibrant culture. After a day of exploring the pristine shores, there’s no better way to unwind than by sipping on a refreshing beverage. From craft breweries and distilleries to cozy waterfront bars, the Crystal Coast offers a variety of unique places to grab a drink. In this blog we’ll take you on a tour of some must-stop spots.
Backstreet Pub is a friendly and funky historic bar tucked away in a Beaufort backstreet called Middle Lane. While the newer outdoor space is fun on summer days to listen to live music, one of the best times to visit is in the winter months inside the century-old former bakery complete with a charming built-in fireplace. Can you get cozier than a warm fire crackling in the corner, and well-loved board games ready for some friendly competition? This is the perfect place to enjoy a pint of beer and hear some fascinating stories and maritime lore from the locals. You’re also welcome to bring your pet to join in on the fun.
Balanced on the end of the Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach, which stretches nearly 1,000 feet out into the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll discover the Barnacle. It is challenging to imagine a more idyllic spot to sip on a tequila sunrise while basking in the rays of a spectacular sunset. As you relax in this serene setting, make sure to keep an eye out for the delightful spectacle of dolphins gracefully frolicking beneath you, and watch as anglers cast their lines in hopes of reeling in their evening’s feast.
The Beer Den at Lowes Foods
Imagine this, you pop into Lowes Foods in Cape Carteret or Morehead City because you forgot avocados for your taco night and hear glasses clinking, laughter, and a boisterous crowd. Ladies and gentlemen, you just walked into Thirsty Thursday at the Beer Den. Half priced glasses of wine and beer pours are simply irresistible, drawing in a vibrant and diverse crowd of locals and visitors alike. Surprisingly, this unassuming spot has become a beloved local gem attracting a regular following of folks in the know and is the perfect place to grab a few groceries while you sip.
Bogue Sound Distillery
Bogue Sound Distillery in Bogue offers a unique experience for spirit enthusiasts. Take a distillery tour and sample their handcrafted spirits, including rum, vodka and gin all made with care and precision. The distillery seamlessly transforms into a vibrant bar, offering not just exceptional drinks, but also a dynamic atmosphere enhanced by live bands and popular food trucks. Whether you prefer the lively ambiance of the indoor bar or the relaxed charm of the outdoor seating, where you can bask under the warm glow of string lights, Bogue Sound Distillery ensures an unforgettable rendezvous with handcrafted perfection.
Carolina Home and Garden
Carolina Home and Garden in Newport is a unique oasis that combines a local garden shop, event venue, live music hangout, arcade, botanical gardens, and alpaca haven all in one extraordinary setting. This multifaceted destination started as a garden shop and blossomed to include a popular bar and live music scene nestled within the lush gardens and inviting sunroom setting. This is a cozy spot for parents to relax and enjoy live music with beer, wine, or botanical cocktails in hand while their children explore the outside, feed the fish in the koi pond on the patio, play games, and come face to face with alpacas. If you’re into vintage pinball machines, slip into the arcade with more than 20 games with occasional tournaments for enthusiasts. To truly grasp the magic of this place, it is best to visit and explore the grounds firsthand.
The Club at the Webb
Once the last latté is served at Reed’s Coffee, venture beyond the ornate rod iron gates of the historic Webb Library building located in the heart of downtown Morehead City. Here awaits a delightful wine bar, adorned with captivating original artwork, beautiful rugs and plenty of cozy seating. For those who prefer the al fresco experience, a fabulous patio beckons outside complete with a gurgling fountain, providing the perfect setting to sip on your favorite glass of wine or bubbly.
Fish Hut Grill
Don’t let the long lines weaving through the parking lot deter you from getting a drink at the Fish Hut Grill in Emerald Isle. If you don’t want to help yourself to an ice-cold beer or wine in the fridge just inside, a chipper bar tender will be out in no time to take your order so you can enjoy your drink while you wait to order food, or just sit back and watch the sites. This restaurant takes the honor system to a whole new level and it works! After your drinks, just let the cashier know what you enjoyed and pay on your way out. If you’re looking for an awe inspiring bite to eat, opt for the whole fish fried to perfection paired with a strawberry cilantro margarita.
MF Chappell Wine Merchant
Affectionately called The Asphalt Café, the MF Chappell wine shop in Atlantic Beach gradually turned into the go-to spot for an after-work glass of wine for locals. Owners Jenn and Brett set out tables and chairs in the parking lot, complete with area rugs and weekly wine tastings. Friends gather around tables and share a bottle of wine or buy featured wines by the glass.
Tackle Box Tavern
A trip to the Crystal Coast wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Tackle Box Tavern in Atlantic Beach. This casual, pet friendly beachfront bar is known for its quirky but laid-back vibe. After a day at the beach, stroll over to the Tackle Box where you’ll be greeted by a friendly staff and mermaids galore. Grab some popcorn on your way in from the popcorn machine and sit amongst the locals as you order. With some of the best drink specials around, and great live tunes or on the jukebox, you’re bound to stay for more than one. The Tackle Box accepts cash only.
Tapping the Admiral Bar
Nestled away in downtown Beaufort behind the Marmalade Bakery on Front Street, you’ll find a charming outdoor bar where string lights guide you to a wooden deck and a beautiful bar. Tapping the Admiral Bar is a hot spot for food trucks and local musicians who perform on a small stage while visitors sip on beer and wine. Plans are underway to start a rum distillery so folks can soon drink like the pirates of Beaufort’s past, including the infamous Blackbeard.
Sailing down the waterfront with a drink in your hand sounds like a Jimmy Buffet song, right? Make it a reality by grabbing five of your besties and booking a Tiki Cruise in Beaufort! This is a bring your own tunes (so you can totally play that Jimmy Buffet Playlist), food and drink tour, which means you’re responsible for the quality of the drinks, but the views are to die for. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some dolphins and wild horses along the way.
Perched atop the charming coastal town of Emerald Isle, the Torpedo Lounge is a gem that effortlessly captures the essence of a rooftop bar. With panoramic views of both the sparkling ocean and the serene sound, this spot offers the perfect backdrop for an afternoon or evening out. Inviting gas fire pits dotting the rooftop create an intimate and cozy atmosphere. Occasional live music sets the perfect mood to enjoy cocktails with a unique twist. You’ll come for the views but stay for the vibes perhaps long enough to try one the fantastic crab cakes their restaurant Carribsea is known for.
The Rhum Bar at the Front Street Grill at Stillwater
Nestled along Taylor’s Creek in Historic Beaufort, the Front Street Grill at Stillwater offers a quintessential coastal drinking experience. This local favorite combines upscale dining with stunning water views, but it’s also a fantastic place for cocktails. Venture outside to the back deck called the Rhum Bar, which feels like you’re sitting on the back of a boat. Speaking of boats, many locals choose to arrive that way and tie up on the restaurant’s dock. The Rhum Bar is known for their painkillers and if you’re looking for a bite to eat while watching the dolphins swim by, the fried calamari is delicious.
Built along a dock on the busy Morehead City waterfront, the view from Yellowfin Pub is a great place to get a glimpse of fishing charters unloading their bounties. We recommend climbing the stairs for a panoramic view that stretches across Sugarloaf Island where you can keep an eye out for dolphins and the sea otters looking for treats from the fishermen. Yellowfin has plenty of beer on tap, wines by the glass and cocktails.
The Crystal Coast offers a delightful mix of coastal charm and unique drinking experiences. Whether you prefer waterfront views, craft beers, cocktails, or locally distilled spirits, you’ll find something to suit your taste at these distinctive spots. So make sure to explore these exceptional venues during your visit to the Crystal Coast and toast to the beauty of this coastal paradise.