Restaurants & Bars

Southeast

The Nightbell, Asheville

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Restaurants & Bars 6

The Nightbell, Asheville

Jeff C. | Mar 4, 2014 06:14 AM

We stopped in Katie Button's new speakeasy Saturday night, and it looks like she has another hit on her hands--the place was packed at 8:30 p.m. It's a gorgeously retro storefront on S. Lexington near the back entrance to Mast General Store. You enter through what looks like a glamorous antiques store and are escorted upstairs to a wonderland of food, drink, and pretty people dressed to the nines. Cocktails are arranged in four taste/spirit categories with some overlap. We had a bourbon cocktail (whose long name I have forgotten) with just the right amount of sweet and sour to balance out the booze. Several craft brews--including local--are offered. Since we had already had dinner, we settled for dessert, but...it was the best dessert I've had in downtown AVL, a sort of molten peanut butter cake with a crispy dark chocolate base alongside a dollop of blood orange sorbet. Again, the combination and balance of flavors--sweet, sour, and salty--was masterful. They also offer a menu of "bites" that includes everything from oysters with various spray "tinctures" to playful updates on such pub grub standards as fish and chips and a philly steak sandwich. We definitely want to go back and try some of these. Our server was lovely and very helpful--in fact, the whole staff couldn't be friendlier. My only real quibble is that the music (played by a live DJ) was all warmed-over Euro-pop, but as I said we were there early. Maybe things get more raucous later on. No matter: The Nightbell is the kind of sophisticated cocktail lounge downtown Asheville has long needed. Cheers to Chef Button and crew.

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