Asheville has become a hot ticket, being on the top of any number of travel site lists. And with that popularity come the people. But never fear – there are still plenty of great out of the way spots that are an easy walk from downtown. Here is a list of my favorites.
Green Man brewing has a major new operation on the South Slope (#SoSlo) on the corner of Buxton Ave and Chuch St, known locally as the Greenmansion. But we all know where Green Man really started – in a little pub just up Buxton Ave from the Greenmansion called Dirty Jacks. Not nearly as fancy, but bursting with character and usually much less crowded. And still the legendary Green Man beer!
Yup – another Asheville brewery, but this one is a little different. To find it you need to go wander down the alley between two restaurants, Salsa’s and Farm Burger, then through the door and down the stairs. You will find yourself in the basement of what was once a department store, complete with a twin staircase to nowhere. A fun spot with a low key atmosphere and free live music most nights.
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge has become a signature location downtown. They are magicians with chocolate, and their deli case is overflowing with all types of goodies. But with fame come the crowds. It is not uncommon to see a line well out the door. But never fear! If you walk just past the main entrance, heading towards City Hall, you will come to the French Broad Chocolate Boutique. There are no tables, so you need to carry anything you buy out, and they do not serve the full menu. But they still have a ton of delicious things, and usually no waiting!
Here is another hard-to-find gem. The Top of the Monk is right above The Thirsty Monk (hence the name). This is THE place for custom cocktails. From freshly squeezed juices to homemade bitters, tinctures, and infusions – they do not mess around. They also have an extensive whiskey collection if you are in the mood for sampling. This is a ‘private club’, meaning you need to pay a one-time $1 membership fee to come upstairs.
I’m going to round out my list of places by adding in Vortex Doughnuts. This is a doughnut shop right in the heart of the SoSlo, next door to Catawba Brewing. They do more things with fried dough than I ever thought possible. They even have Vegan doughnuts! With a full coffee bar, this is a great place to start off a day in Asheville and is not the sort of place most tourists will find.