WHERE TO FIND OUR WRITERSDRINKING OUTSIDE
ARTICLE AND PHOTOS MADE WITH LOVE
When city government officials invite young professionals to weigh in on ways to attract people and businesses to the area, common suggestions include more fun things to do. According to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, a reoccurring specific complaint is that there aren’t enough bars.
“They said that there are a lot of clubs, but they wanted to see more bars,” said Vaughan.
Here at YES! Weekly we also really like bars. After a long week of reporting, we especially like to find a nice patio where we can enjoy a cold glass of craft or local beer. There is nothing like washing the stress of the week away, sip by golden sip, as you watch the evening unfold in front of you.
There is no perfect recipe for what makes a great patio bar, but good people and great brews definitely help. For us, our favorite haunts simply have a certain je ne sais quoi that can’t be explained by science – or maybe it can be – we aren’t exactly biomedical engineers over here.
We choose our beers as carefully as we choose our words, but everyone has
their own opinion. Whether the beers are fruity, hoppy, nutty or skunky, we all have our favorites. Some of us keep track of our own internal beer calendars as we anticipate the release of certain seasonal brews. When I see spring beers appear I know that patio drinking weather can’t be far behind.
As fall approaches many people have pumpkin beer on the brain, but others are appreciating the last few afternoons of warm summer haze. There’s no way around it – the combination of hot sunshine and icy cool brews just cannot be beat.
So in celebration of drinking pints on the patio, we’d like to highlight what the Triad has to offer. If you are one of the people looking for a great summer bar that combines your passions for drinking and being outside, we have some personal recommendations. The bars on this list range from casual neighborhood dives to trendy local brewpubs.
Let’s now raise a glass to our favorite spots to gather with friends and strangers as we savor the summer harvest while simultaneously working on our tan. Cheers!
Address: 840 Mill Works St, Winston-Salem Website: www.hootspublic.com Times: 2pm to 2am
In the back corner of West End Mills, you’ll find a small microbrewery that describes itself as “a mysterious brotherhood which concocts blue collar brews of unmatched character.”
The bar was opened nearly a year ago by three friends, Eric Swaim, Eric Weyer, and Ralph Pritts, who knew each other from playing in different local bands. They took a DIY approach to raising enough money to build the bar themselves, and took the name from the building’s history as a flour mill owned by the Hoots family. It’s really that straightforward.
The floors are concrete and the beers aren’t branded with catchy names, but Hoots has unmistakable character. It’s a place where tattooed hipsters and preppy young professionals can bring their dog and all enjoy some easy beers around a picnic table. Instead of blasting music at a deafening decibel, the calm and casual atmosphere fosters conversation among close friends, strangers and acquaintances.
The summer wheat saison has mild notes of grapefruit, but is mostly just a great smooth beer for a hot afternoon. Other beers range from hoppy to syrupy to slightly skunky in a good way. It’s easy to want to stick around Hoots long enough to try the whole menu.
Bartender Timothy Nolan’s choice: Hoot’s Mild Session Ale Whitney’s Choice: Summer Wheat Saison
Address: 627 N. Trade St, Winston-Salem Website: www.singlebrothersbar.com Times: 4pm to 2am
This cozy joint is beloved by patrons for its cocktails, but outside near the back of the patio is a chilly and magical place known as “the Beer Cave.”
It is basically just an outdoor walk-in cooler where the cases of beer are kept. Patrons are allowed to choose a can or bottle themselves before bringing it back to the bartender. There is something about picking your beer as if it were a berry in the field. The craft beer selection is pretty reflective of current trends and seasonal favorites with a few local offerings.
Single Brothers offers optimal flexibility in seating. The outdoor area is more of a beer garden than a patio with most of the tables protected by shade for the heat-sensitive drinkers while avid sunbathers can enjoy the direct sunlight that shines on the other side of the space. If you are tempted to hang around long enough you can enjoy the sunset before the string lights are lit like bacchanal fireflies.
Bartender/Manager Drew Byer’s Choice: Sweet Josie Brown Ale Whitney’s Choice: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer
Address: 3300 High Point Rd, Greensboro Website: www.darrylswoodfiregrill.com Times: 11am to 10pm
When you talk about beer patios, we would be remiss if we did not mention the one our readers have chosen as the Triad’s Best for the last three years in a row.
Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill is a standout. You can sit outside and look at the stars and a roaring fire, or if the elements seem to go the wrong way, there is a covered section that is even heated. Staff can enclose the patio in winter behind plexiglass.
Darryl’s has 26 beers on tap and advertises 33 wines by the glass. They focus on North Carolina beers, with a total beer list clocking in at more than 130 selections.
The patio area at Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill has an outdoor bar with a large beer and wine selection, in addition to a television. Order a flight of beers or margaritas and sit back with friends and enjoy a special night.
Bartender Ralph Singleton’s Choice: Hoofenweizen Charles’s Choice: Snout Stout
Address: 118 E. Main St, Jamestown Website: thedeckatrivertwist.com Times: 1pm to 2am
The Deck in Jamestown at least makes up in uniqueness for what it lacks in swankiness.
The Deck opened in April 2012 on Main Street in downtown Jamestown, and was designed to look like a large backyard of someone who loves to throw deck parties. There is an open air bar with AstroTurf covering the ground in order to create a relaxed environment. The deck chairs and benches let you know that this is not your college/young professionals bar.
“The crowd that we attract is that 30- 35 and up crowd that’s not the downtown crowd,” owner Wade Gabel said.
“We don’t desire the downtown crowd. We desire the suburbs, the folks with the expendable income that are beyond those partying years.”
Gabel said many of The Deck’s patrons feel like they are in Key West when they come. He said some people like the relaxed atmosphere.
“I think a lot of folks have gotten to the point where it’s not attractive to go downtown,” he said. “They don’t feel safe downtown.”
The Deck hosts open mic night every Thursday from 7-10 pm and holds a variety of benefit nights for organizations like the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Gabel also has a cab partner who provides rides home at night that are subsidized by the bar.
When asked about the stereotype that the Triad lacks hip bars, Gabel shrugged.
“I’m 50 years old,” he said. “I don’t know what’s cool and hip. For the crowd that I’m trying to attract, this is the cool, hip place.”
Bartender Wade Gabel’s Choice: Sweetwater 420 Daniel’s Choice: PBR
Address: 508 Guilford Ave, Greensboro Website: @WesterwoodGSO Times: 3pm to 2am
Have a kitty that you can’t stand to leave behind on a Saturday night? Bring him to Westerwood Tavern! Bring your dog! Bring your best drag queen friend! Bring anyone!
Lots of bars try to achieve a neighborhood feel, but few of them do it as well as Westerwood Tavern. When you go to this bar for the first time, you will get the feeling that everyone knows each other. Everyone seems to be laughing, telling animated stories and generally just having a lot of fun.
Regulars can head to Westerwood Tavern alone knowing that they will probably spot five friends before they can make it from one side of the patio to the other. For over four years it has been the kind of place that ends up on every weekend’s bar hopping list while seducing guests to linger amidst the buzz of the patio a little longer than intended.
Westerwood Tavern is a friendly place with a lot of energy. The bar hosts a charming potluck every Sunday, and trivia and karaoke nights are absolutely silly. This is also one of my favorite local spots for people watching. This is a place where the local academics and creative professionals like to let their hair down. I once saw a man dressed as a wizard playing a clarinet on the patio. No one else seemed to notice. It was beautifully surreal.
Bartender’s choice: Seasonal Whitney’s Choice: Well’s Banana Bread Beer/Sam Adam’s Cold Snap
This patio is one of my favorite spots in Greensboro. It is incredibly intimate despite being just steps from the street. The overgrown railing provides just enough separation to muffle the outside world, while the trees provide a sylvan escape from the urban environment. Sometimes birds will visit, giving the patio a magical sense, or friends will pop their head in, such as the time I was eating lunch with the venerable Ed Cone and the musician Bruce Piephoff hailed us between the railings and passed us a copy of his newest recording.
I tend to go during off hours, dining alfresco about 2 p.m. suits my schedule, and the service is always top notch. I met Elon law Professor Eric Fink there for lunch once and we discussed everything from European history to political activism to fatherhood in the course of a sultry summer day. I recently spent an enjoyable Happy Hour catching up with my high school classmate and emerging Greensboro visual artist James Williams prior to last month’s City Market
The indoor scene at M’Coul’s is great as well, with their wide booths and high-back dividers amplifying that sense of privacy. The writer Steve Mitchell and I have paired up there a few times recently, for a dinner break from his work or a recent late-night stop to continue our dialogue about the craft of fiction.
As you can tell by my name dropping, I love to meet creative and talented people at M’Coul’s.
Jeff’s choice: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Address: 638 W. 4th St, Winston-Salem Website: www.foothillsbrewing.com Times: 11am to 2am
Walk into Foothills Brewing on 4th Street in downtown Winston-Salem, and you get the sense that this is a local favorite. There are two floors packed with people of all ages, ranging from young professionals to families with small children. There is no shortage of energy here between the people and the extensive craft beer selection.
For $7.99 you can get a flight of six beer samplers that will give you an introduction to the art of becoming a beer critic. Last week, the selections included the People’s Porter–a smooth dark beer similar in consistency to Guinness but with a chocolate flavor and hints of mocha sprinkled in. Server Lucy Freiberger said her favorite beer is the Jade IPA–a beer that is lighter in color and rich in fruitiness but packs a punch when it comes to the alcohol content, at 7.4 percent. In addition to the yearround selections, Foothills always offers a beer of the month.
The food portion of the menu is quite satisfying, with a large selection of burgers, sandwiches, and other large entrees that are sure to fill you up as you are enjoying a couple of cold ones after a long day at work.
Foothills hosts a variety of events that include movie nights, trivia and live music. In addition, they offer “Beer School,” one Saturday each month where you can take a tour of the brewery and taste the beers, while becoming a beer connoisseur.
Server Lucy Freiberger’s Choice: Jade IPA Daniel’s Choice: People’s Porter