When you talk about cocktails in Raleigh, a handful of places come to the forefront of your mind. For most people they typically name Foundation, C. Grace or Fox Liquor Bar. And out of the Raleigh cocktail trifecta, Fox was the one bar that I frequented the least. Why? Because even though Fox is part of the AC Restaurants (Ashley Christensen) group and had a good reputation, I always felt they were over-priced and expected lines. And while I like my cocktails, I don’t enjoy waiting in a huge line or over-paying. But I always believe in giving places a chance regardless of rep so I made an effort to stop in for a visit to Fox Liquor Bar recently…
Fox is located on a side-street next to Beasley’s and Chucks. Just look for the tall, lit neon sign out front and the quiet doorway leading downstairs. Inside it’s dim and dark, small standing bar area. The main bar is against the side wall and is pretty basic with a tiled front face. Fox’s Cocktail menu is very extensive and creative with lots of whimsical elements. I go for a Mexcal Mule which is fun play on a popular Mexican liquer. Touted as mezcal, passion fruit, ginger, cucumber and soda water, it comes garnished heavily and with a sprinkle of cayenne on top. Yep this drink is a bit frou-frou but for $11 a drink, that’s probably the way you’ll have to roll at Fox!
We head on to the lounge area which is a bit more open and basic than I remember. Artfully exposed brick wall on one side, stuffed leather couches all around and some medium-bright lighting all around. It feels comfortable but not overly dark and dim here. One thing you’ll notice is the huge ice cube in the drinks here, probably done for both style and maximizing coolness while minimizing melt if that makes sense! Some people call them “hipster ice cubes” but yeah, Fox Liquor Bar falls into that category. On this Wednesday night the place is pretty mellow but on most weekend evenings, you’ll find a line out front.
So it was great to come back for a return visit to Fox since it had been a long time and yes, I’d be willing to come back. But only on an off-evening and only if I was ready to pay a premium for my cocktails. Because in the end, both Foundation and C. Grace do their drinks a bit cheaper (under $11) and I prefer more classic cocktails as opposed to frou-frou. But if you’re into fancy ice cubes and cocktails, Fox Liquor Bar is definitely your kind of place. And even for me, every now and then it’ll be my kind of place. Cheers!
237 S Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601