It’s great to see all these bar-bars popping up in the Raleigh area! What do I mean? I mean places that are purpose-built to have a cocktail or mixed drink in. Whether you’re talking martinis, gin and tonics or something fancier, when I first got to the area in 2008, bar-bars were few and far between. It was always light beer in big plastic cups, ack! But slowly, things started to change. Craft beers and breweries have become predominant and real bars like Foundation, C Grace and Fox Liquor Bar have picked up the cocktail challenge. And add one more, the Greenlight, to the bar-bar list!
Yeah, you might not have heard of the Greenlight because they’re a speak-easy and purposely hidden. Behind a book case over at the Architect, you’ll find a doorway hidden by a heavy curtain. Inside it opens up to a large room with red leather chairs, marble tables and a large gilded mirror! Windows on the front face gives this cozy space a slightly different feel with wind and the murmur of Hargett Street wafting into the lounge. A vested bartender in back is handling the small crowd and hands us a couple of cocktail menu. The Greenlight mixes up some classics along with some house specialties. I go with a bourbon sour to kick things off.
It takes a bit of time but my drink comes in a low-ball with a piece of lemon peel, very nice! The drinks here are not cheap, probably about the same price as Foundation ($10 -$11) but well-made. On a quiet Wednesday night with delicious cocktails, it’s easy to lose track of time in conversation and the warmth of the space. One more before we head out and it’s soon time to take off. We grab a couple of business cards in case we need to come back during a busier period. Text ahead of time on busy nights and they’ll put you on a wait-list. The Architect gets REALLY busy on the weekend, I’m guessing that even if you can get in here, it’s gotta be noisy. So I’d stick to the Greenlight on Sunday to Thursday. Speakeasy’s don’t work so well with a crowd and music thumping outside, eh?
So after my first visit to the Greenlight, can’t wait to have an excuse to come back. The space works really well on a warm summer night and the cocktails are solid. Now I just gotta figure out if there was a green light out front signalling if the place is open, darn it! Next time…
108 1/2 E Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
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