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Local Joints and Bars with Good Food in Asheville

I'll be spending several days in Asheville, so I'm doing my food research. From searching the boards, I think I have the "fine dining" side covered, but I'm looking for some more casual, less expensive options as well.

I like places with a good vibe and regular local clientele, bars that serve better-than-expected food - things like that. Craft beer on tap and a good jukebox definitely a plus.

I'll be staying in the downtown area, so walkable from there would be great.

Thanks!

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  1. There are plenty of places like this here, but there are so many spots downtown, it's good to know what to look for. You can't go wrong if you try any of the places below:

    Barley's taproom. Decent bar food, music some nights. LOTS of beer on tap (including local, organic, high gravity), taps downstairs (restaurant) are different than upstairs (pool, darts, foosball). If you're there on a saturday night, Preston will most likely be working upstairs. Best bartender in town, and he has great taste in music, plus if you tell him what you're looking for in a beer he'll give you samples until you find the right one.

    You'd also like the Asheville Brewing company on Coxe. Outdoor area with a couple of bar games, decent food, and their own beer.

    Jack of the wood. Green Man beer, Laughing Seed food. Music. Enough said.
    Also try Dirty Jacks. A little more off the beaten path, still walkable from downtown. Definitely a local spot. It's the tasting room of the Green Man brewery.

    Thirsty Monk- fairly new spot, all Belgian beers. Great atmosphere, servers are knowledgeable and friendly, and they have a small menu with some pretty tasty bites (cheese plate, several types of crepes, a few other items). Very cool, unique place.

    Mayfel's has a nice little patio bar in the back, kind of a hidden little spot (accessible from Wall Street down the stairs) It's beautiful at twilight.

    That will at least give you somewhere to start. And if you make it to the west side, the Admiral is a must for food/local atmosphere, and the Westville Pub is good too.

    1. I'll suggest 12 Bones in the River Arts District for lunch. It meets all of your criteria except for the jukebox. They are not open for dinner, however, or on the weekend. Don't let the line scare you off. It's worth it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Leepa

        I went to 12 Bones for the first time today, and I have to say, it will probably be my last trip there. After standing in line for upwards of 20 minutes to even get in the door, and then eating a mediocre meal at best, I am somewhat befuddled as to what all the fuss is about. I wasn't in the mood for ribs (and after seeing them, I'm glad I wasn't-I prefer tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, which these definitely were not-I don't want to have to gnaw the meat from the bone, which is what I saw everyone doing with theirs), so I ordered the sliced brisket, mac and cheese, and green beans. I will say, the green beans and cornbread were stellar; I would have been happy with just those. The brisket was decent, nothing spectacular, and the mac and cheese was just about the worst I have ever eaten- I literally could not find a hint of cheese at all in the dish; it just seemed to be elbow noodles with some milk. After hearing "the guys" at work rave about the place (they eat there at least twice a week), I can safely report that I will not return anytime soon after such a disappointing experience.

        1. re: stephw1

          Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, stephw1. As usual, good BBQ means different things to different people. I've never had their brisket because, to me at least, BBQ shouldn't moo and in my world (albeit a small one) fall off the bones ribs are overcooked. I've never had their mac and cheese as I'm not a big fan of it in general. And their cornbread is sweet and my preference is true Southern cornbread which doesn't have sugar or other sweeteners in it. I'll take a bite or two, but generally I'll leave it on the plate. Just goes to show ya that we're all different in what we like, and BBQ is probably the most polarizing food of all.

          I truly do hope that your other food experiences in Asheville are more to your liking.

          1. re: Leepa

            I agree, I think you gotta go pork at 12 Bones. And the sides are the best. For brisket, try Luellas on Hendersonville Road. Much better than 12 Bones if you like beef BBQ.

      2. Burgermeister in W. Asheville
        Bier Garden downtown
        Mike's in Weaverville on Main St. - tiny but a local favorite with inexpensive good burgers, wings etc and Highland Gaelic on tap

        1. Ed Boudreauxs beside Barleys also has a nice selection of Micro brews.The BBQ is pretty good as well.

          1. Definitely Jack of the Wood - good food/music and a very local vibe.