Written by Chall Gray
Looking for that special place where everybody knows your name—but with a twist? Western North Carolina abounds with unique, even downright unusual, bars. So we decided to visit a few of them.
From George Washington saying farewell to his troops at the Fraunces Tavern, to the Stonewall riots and the beginning of the gay rights movement, a great many pivotal moments in the history of this nation have occurred in pubs.
In the early days of American development, the pub was the place where political meetings were held, town councils elected, laws argued, constitutions drafted, weddings and funerals performed, parties held, and merriment enjoyed. Here in our corner of Appalachia, ensconced in the Bible Belt of the Southeast, taverns haven’t always played the central community role that they’ve filled in other places. Moonshine has a more storied history than bars in our neck of the woods—a fact discussed at length in this very magazine one year ago. (See “Water of Life,” September 2016.)
But Western North Carolina, like much of the South, has always been composed of fairly close-knit communities. In a technological age in which people are increasingly disconnected from each other, as well as politically divided, some of the best examples of community hubs that can be found are bars. Each of the bars in the following pages have found a unique niche in their community, and they have also each succeeded in creating an atmosphere that welcomes pretty much anyone who occupies a barstool. Sit down and have a few with us as we visit four unique bars across the area.
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