We celebrate our local alcohol industry with our annual Alcohol Edition every September in part because of the unprecedented impact it has on our economy—but also because we enjoy a tipple ourselves every now and then. And while summer may be lauded as the tipsiest season, we think ice cold drinks pair pretty well with fall’s brisk temps and bright colors, too. We always enjoy an early evening cocktail or mid-afternoon beer on Western North Carolina’s patios and porches this time of year—the new limitations of the indoor options are just an aside.
Without further adieu, here’s where we’d suggested bundling up and tipping back this fall:
The Whale | 507 Haywood Road, Asheville
Open 12–11 p.m. daily
The city’s worldliest beer bar, featuring more national and international brews than local ones, has expanded their outdoor area to include picnic tables in the parking lot. Swap out your usual IPA for something a bit more exotic, like a German Lager, and pair it with plates from neighbor Haywood Common if you get snacky.
The Montford | 199 Haywood Street, Asheville
Open Mon–Thu, 5–10 p.m., Fri 4–11 p.m., Sat 12–11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.–1 p.m. for brunch & 5–10 p.m.
You’ve likely heard us wax rhapsodic about downtown Asheville’s restaurant and bar that specializes in all things craft before, but it’s in this season—when the hilly streets and stone-throw mountains visible from its bird’s-eye balcony and windows are swathed in a blanket of rainbow-colored leaves—that the Montford truly shines. Watch for their signature fall cocktails hitting the menu soon.
Black Mountain Brewing | 131 Broadway Avenue, Black Mountain
Open Wed–Thu, 3–9 p.m., Fri–Sun 12–9 p.m.
The town of Black Mountain is tucked into the mountains just east of Asheville, providing stunning views of regional slopes from street corners, shop windows, and the back porch of Black Mountain Brewing. Grab a local brew (one of Black Mountain’s own ales or a regional favorite) and a seat on the patio, where you’ll likely be joined by a friendly doggo—the deck is a favorite resting spot for locals of the hound variety.
Boojum Brewing Co.
Open Wed–Mon, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Though she may be small, Boojum Brewing’s back deck is mighty, providing views of the Blue Ridge on the other side of Waynesville’s picturesque downtown. And while we love Boojum’s creative brews (even those who turn up their noses at hoppy brews (ahem, me) enjoy their Jalapeño IPA), it’s their menu of truly good bar food—like Ahi tuna nachos, green bean fries, and loaded burgers—that puts them on our list.
Lost Province Brewing Co. | 130 N. Depot Street, Boone
Open Mon–Wed 12–9 p.m., Thu–Sat 12–10 p.m., Sun 12–9 p.m.
In the heart of downtown Boone, Lost Province recently celebrated six years slinging beers and wood-fired pizzas to college students and thirsty tourists. With new, expanded outdoor seating options, this brewery might not have the best mountain views, but it does arguably provide the best views of leaf peepers strolling the streets for the season.
Shine | 202 N. Main Street, Hendersonville
Open Mon, Wed, Thur 3–11 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
We love well-made classic cocktails like French 75s and, especially when the weather turns cool, Manhattans, and Hendersonville’s Shine delivers. The restaurant and craft bar serves these recognizable aperitifs from its rooftop patio Thursdays through Sundays beginning at 4 p.m. and paired with up-close views of the historic Henderson County courthouse and the mountains behind it. Stick around for kind of fancy, kind of playful dinner dishes like steak frite and a “big ass bowl of mussels.”