The Best Place to Drink is Downtown New Bern
If you’ve never been to New Bern and plan to enjoy a few drinks during your stay, there are several ways to go about it. People who appreciate the occasional adult beverage can usually be categorized in several ways: the “craft beer connoisseur,” the “wine enthusiast,” and the “specialty cocktail devotee.” So, pick the category that best suits you and then head to the bar that’s calling your name. Below is a comprehensive list of our best recommendations and the best part is. . . they’re all in walking distance from one another and the numerous hotels and B&Bs located downtown. So, here’s to happy bar hopping!
The Craft Beer Connoisseur
If you like the smell of hops in the morning and the idea of beer experimentation, then Brewery 99 is your place. The legendary Pete Frey is the owner and proprietor of this small brewery located in Artisan Square in downtown New Bern. What may appear to be a small shack is actually quite a happening place for those who know where to look for it. The taps offer a variety of craft beers that one would be hard pressed to find elsewhere and almost always include a beer of Frey’s own making. Check it out if you’re a hardcore beer fanatic. If you’re looking for a more expansive selection of beers then The Bruin may be more up your alley. Located on Middle Street, in the heart of the Downtown area, this bar/store boasts 260 varieties of beer – with over 100 from North Carolina and the rest from around the world. The bar has a great feel and its patrons can also enjoy live music every other Friday night, so be sure to check this place out! Bear Town Market and Beer Garden is just down the street from The Bruin, offering the largest selection of draft beers in town with 52 taps and counting. During the summer months, live music is offered up every other Friday night in the adjacent lot, which always pulls in a great crowd. The Brown Pelican is another local favorite that serves up beer by draft or bottle, with an eclectic atmosphere that you’re sure to enjoy. This bar is a local favorite, where you can usually find great live music and the occasional open mike night, if you’re so inclined. There is also an outdoor area in the back where you can enjoy a round of Jenga or other games turned into opportunities to have a few extra drinks. Check it out; you’ll most certainly have a memorable night out.
The Wine Enthusiast
If a perfectly balanced glass of pinot noir and creative small plates are what you seek, Aperitivo is an excellent choice. This establishment was created to bring a taste of Italy to Eastern North Carolina, where friends can gather and share in a glass of wine paired with outstanding food. Aperitivo is located on the waterfront and is part of the NC History Center complex. If you’re looking for one of the most extensive wine lists in New Bern, then look no further than Captain Ratty’s. This restaurant/bar offers wine tastings every Wednesday night and rooftop seating that overlooks the Trent River. Captain Ratty’s also has a great menu that that includes great seafood, steaks and an assortment of local favorites. Best of all, it’s located on the corner of Middle Street, which is central to the downtown area.
The Specialty Cocktail Devotee
If the words Appletini and Moscow Mule are part of the language you speak then Circa 1810 at The Harvey Mansion is your first stop. This unusual bar is actually located underground in the basement level of the mansion. It has a very intimate vibe, and it’s a great place to grab a drink and relax with friends. Not only does the bar offer exceptional specialty cocktails, they also play host to outdoor music and comedy shows. Another great place to grab an exceptional cocktail is Prohibition Drinks & Desserts. The bartenders in this place are second to none and can make anything your heart desires – and if you’re in the mood for something sweet they can take care of that too. Prohibition also has a beautiful outdoor area that’s great for any occasion and a great grill offering a menu full of local favorites.
So, there you have it, a short list of New Bern’s bar scene – but don’t just limit yourself to these watering holes. There are plenty of others that await your visit. Click here to view more great bars and restaurants.