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Greensboro’s Ten Best restaurants to eat at the bar

by Lisa Ellisor

Elizabeth’s Pizza on Lawndale

2116 Lawndale Dr.; 336.370.0800

Just when you assume that bartenders don’t know about a restaurant’s menu, Elizabeth’s wows you with excellent menu knowledge, delicious food preparation and presentation, a gorgeous view of the kitchen, and top notch service. I love April, whose sparkling eyes and laughter always set me at ease, and Emily, whose edgy sense of humor always makes me giggle. Great service, carb overload, could you ask for more?

223 South Elm

223 South Elm St.; 336.272.3331

When a restaurant packs enough power to be known only by their address, that alone is impressive. Hand polished barware, an exquisite wine list and some of the best food to ever cross my palate qualify 223 as one of the ten best. The copper-topped bar is beautiful and the easy going staff knows their stuff. In a place where you would expect stuffy staff, Clinton, Justin, and the rest of the bar gang are ready to crack a naughtier-than-nice joke, then extoll the virtues of the crème fraiche nestled under some sublime dessert prepared that day. This juxtaposition of a friendly environment (with the best maitre’d in town; Reed we love you) and unusual, quality, food preparations, create an experience well worth checking out.

Natty Greene’s

345 S. Elm St.; 336.274.1373

Flanked by enough quality Scotch to intoxicate an entire country club, flat-screen TVs, and a dumbwaiter to bring food upstairs, Natty Greene’s bar has a quirkyness that is both upscale and comfortable. Where else in town do they have an indoor shuffleboard table? Simple preparation on bar standards like wings and burgers please the mouth while the bartenders make pleasant conversation and keep the tasty, homebrewed beer flowing. Big ups Phil and Peacock for always making me feel at home.

Red Oak Brewpub

714 Francis King St.; 336.299.3649

Yes, Red Oak (or Battlefield Black) is my favorite beer. It somehow reminds me of sweet tea (or a chocolate shake), and affects a pleasant giggly buzz in me after just one pint. More striking is how proud they are of their beer, how the clean process of beermaking creates the taste, and how wonderfully the air is permeated by the smell of yeast. Fast moving barkeeps who know their menu, quality Angus beef, and the beer give Red Oak its appeal.

Bert’s Seafood

4608 W. Market St.; 336.297.4881

The gorgeous long bar, and smoke free environment give Bert’s bar it’s distinction. Paired with their friendly staff, fine scotch, bourbon, and wine selection and unique menu items like the corn fries (halfway between Fritos and hushpuppies) with their spicy jalapeno ketchup, and the ahi spring rolls with a crispy fried outside and the fish still cold and raw inside, Bert’s is a unique experience.

Asahi Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar

4520-B W. Market St. 336.855.8883

I love the peaceful nuances of Japanese styled interiors, and with the tall booths, tatami tables and rice paper screens Asahi’s bar has a great Zen garden feel. Topped with glass cases of gleaming, fresh fish that almost looks like candy, sushi chefs quickly wrap some of the best sushi in town. I love that the tuna is so good they give it to you sitting daintily on a block of ice, with just a dab of wasabi on the side, and that the big bottles of Japanese beer are perfect to share with a friend. The staff is friendly and polite and I love the smell of the hibachi tables wafting gently into the bar.

New York Pizza

337 Tate St.; 336.272.8953

Fancy it ain’t, but tasty and authentic it is. Raucous, loud music blares from the juke, while whorls of smoke curl ghostlike overhead. Shout at your barkeep with a big grin to order sandwiches, pizza, and drinks strong enough to curl hair. These are good guys, slinging drinks at breakneck speed to an eclectic mix of college kids, indie rockers, trendsetters, artists, geeks and general barflies. This Greensboro landmark has taken care of late night cravings and provided a haven for ‘tater tots,’ since 1977, and it has the prettiest lights and nifty local artwork in the bar.

Poblanos

5710 High Point Road; 336.316.1212

I argue that Poblano’s has the best Mexican Food in town, from the fresh, cilantro-filled salsa, to that mysteriously delicious white cheese sauce that angels could have made. I love the bar area’s serene southwest colors, big flat screens, and that on Monday nights margaritas are just 99 cents. Jenny always takes good care of me, and since I always order the same thing, I get my food super fast. Poblanos has very different Mexican food, fresh bright flavors, and not those ‘“puddle of red sauce and cheese’” Mexican platters.

Green Valley Grill

624 Green Valley Road; 336.854.2015

While I still have nightmares about working there, the service and food at Green Valley Grill are both impeccable. An award-winning wine list flanked by an ever changing and seasonally coherent menu, an unmatched level of cleanliness and an unsurpassed level of consistency in service give the bar its character. I argue that you get better, more intimate service from the bartenders, and that unless you are looking for privacy with a dining companion, the bartop is prime seating there. Keith, we’re gonna miss you. Neils and Mark, we’re glad you’re there.

Stamey’s

206 High Point Road; 336.299.9888

While not a bar, the lunch counter at Stamey’s slings homemade, slow-smoked pork and chicken BBQ with unheard of speed and efficiency. Through the window you see the line cooks haulin it through tons of tickets and then suddenly, your food appears, hot and homey. It’s cheap too: a hot plate lunch for around five bucks, a little over six if you indulge in the cobbler.

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