Asheville, NC
Pub Crawl for Great Beer

Text by Mark Stoffan - reprinted with permission from

Photos by Owen Ogletree

Latest update January 24 : The pubcrawl has been expanded to include three tasting rooms at area breweries and the new downtown location of ED Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ, home of one of the best beer menus in western North Carolina!

Asheville has a wonderful selection of bars, brewpubs, and restaurants for a city of its size. Visitors and newcomers often have difficulty picking out the better ones. This pub crawl, while not taking in every watering hole worthy of a visit, will introduce you some of the better quality beer bars in town. You will be able to sample some very good beers, eat some great food, and meet a very interesting bunch of folks in the process. Let's get started!

In addition to the one brewpub on this tour, Asheville also has three excellent craft breweries: Highland Brewing, French Broad River Brewing, and Green Man Ales. Look for their excellent products at the establishments listed here. Each brewery offers tours at certain times. Contact the breweries for details.

Finally, the Asheville Wine Market across the street from Barley's Taproom offers a great selection of bottled beers from around the world, as does the Weinhaus on Patton Avenue across from Jack of the Wood. The Weinhaus also offers kegs and tap rental for private parties. With advance notice they can supply kegs of any beer available in Asheville.

This pub crawl, or tour of Asheville bars serving quality beers, begins with visits to three establishments located to the north and west of the downtown area. I recommend visiting these first, then finishing with a tour of the several downtown establishments. This is merely for reasons of convenience in describing a continuous route, and there is no real reason not to visit these establishments in any order that one may prefer. 

As with many fine things in life, moderation is the key. The locations on this crawl except for the first three are easily reachable on foot in the downtown area, and most of them are also located on bus routes. Unfortunately, buses in Asheville quit running at 7 p.m., negating any value as an alternative means of transportation for those who have enjoyed a night out on the town.. Above all, do not drink and drive. Use a taxi to get back to your place of origin if necessary. There are also several hotels in downtown Asheville including a Day's Inn across from the end point of this tour. If you have a larger group, consider renting Asheville's 360 Party Bus for a night on the town.

I have no stake in any of these businesses and offer this guide solely as a public service to others who enjoy quality beer.

Happy beer travels!
Last updated January 24, 2006 . 

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Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company

No beer lover's visit to Asheville is complete without a stop at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, located about a mile and a half north of the downtown area. From Pack Square (marked by a tall, granite monument at the junction of Biltmore Avenue, Broadway, and Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville,) head north on Broadway and keep going straight at all lights. Broadway transparently changes to Merrimon Avenue just before I-240. Follow signs for Route 25 North. You'll pass a Wendy's and a First Citizens Bank. APB is on the right about half a block beyond the bank, marked by a large yellow sign.

This is one of the most unique brewpubs anywhere (and I've been to more than a few). Several well-crafted brews are usually on, including an awesome ESP and an excellent porter. In addition to brewer Doug Riley's own offerings, other regional craft beers are often available including such quality selections as Old Hickory and Highlands. The pizza and other food are great, too. A full range of specialty sandwiches and pub appetizers make this more than a pizza place. A unique feature is the movie theater showing $2.00 movies. There is a second bar in the theater so customers don't need to miss any of the movie to get another beer or to pick up a food order. The theater seats are very comfortable, and tables between each row make eating and drinking a non-messy affair. Another back room opposite the theater has a large-screen TV and several pool tables and video games. The place is a popular hangout for students from nearby UNC-Asheville and has a funky, laid-back atmosphere. Staff are friendly and the beers are among the best in the southeast. Don't miss this one!

Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company
675 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC  28804
(828) 254-5339

Ruby's Tap House

This neighborhood bar in the residential Haw Creek area is worth the difficulty in locating it. From downtown Asheville take I-240 East to Exit 7 Tunnel Road. Follow the signs for US 70 East. You want to be in the right of the two left-turn lanes at the second light. At the second light turn left and stay in the center lane (the left lane takes you back onto I-240 West). Go straight at the light. Stay in the left lane.You will need to merge into heavy traffic and immediately get into the left lane. Turn left at the first light andd bear right in about 50 feet at the yield sign onto Haw Creek Road. Go about a mile and watch for Beverly Road on the right which is a y-shaped intersection on a bad curve. Turn right on Beverly and Ruby's Taproom will be immediately on the left.

The rustic atmosphere includes board floors, plywood partitions, and a long bar. Pool tables, video games, and dart boards take up space at the rear. About 15 draft selections include Pisgah, Highland, and French Broad River offerings. The excellent bottle choices include Rogue and other American craft beers, bottle-conditioned English ales, and German wheats. On the horizon are cask ales which should be available soon. Patrons are mostly from the Haw Creek neighborhood and include a variety of folks. The owner and staff are friendly and welcoming. Live music is featured some nights. The food selections includes excellent BBQ and is highly recommended.

Ruby's Tap House
8 Beverly Road
Asheville, NC 28805
(828) 299-3511

The Westville Pub
This neighborhood bar in West Asheville is a bit off the tourist path but well worth a visit. It is in a formerly run-down section of West Asheville that in recent years has seen a rebirth of sorts with a coffee house, bakery, and several small shops. To reach the Westville Pub, get on I-240 West to Exit 2 (West Asheville/Haywood Road.) Turn right at the end of the ramp, and go a bit over half a mile to the intersection of Sand Hill Road and Haywood Road (traffic light). The pub is on the right-hand side, in a large, brick building housing a food co-op and other businesses. Free parking is available in the lot just before the building, between it and a bakery, and just BEFORE the Sand Hill Road traffic light. The  Westville Pub has about a dozen taps pouring a frequently-changing variety of local and regional craft beers. On a recent visit, draft choices included French Broad River Octoberfest, Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale, and Cottonwood Low Down Brown. It also offers sixty or so bottle selections which included Brooklyn Lager, Abita Turbodog, Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale, and Samuel Smith Organic. A highlight was Shipyard Fuggles IPA, a Maine product this reviewer has not seen elsewhere in North Carolina, but remembers well from his earlier years in New England. The bottle selection also changes frequently. An excellent and reasonably-priced menu offers a variety of appetizers, wraps, and quesedillas along with specials. The pub is entirely smoke-free and offers live music many nights. Wednesday is all-you-can-eat lasagna night. Clientele reflect the neighborhood and range from students to suits, hippies to tourists, all of whom are made to feel very welcome by a friendly staff.

Westville Pub
777 Haywood Road
Asheville, NC
(828) 225-9782

Now head back into the downtown area. At the intersection of Patton Avenue, Broadway and Biltmore Avenue (Route 25)  is Pack Square, in which stands a tall, gray granite shaft called the Vance Monument. This is the start and finish point for the foot portion of the crawl. Parking is available in metered (M-S, before 6 p.m.) street spaces and nearby parking decks. From the Vance Monument, walk south on Biltmore Avenue passing the Fine Arts theatre on the left and the Mast General Store across the street on the right. Just a couple doors past the theatre is the entrance to  Barley's Taproom. Two doors beyond is ED Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ, home of one of the best beer menus in Asheville.

ED Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ

This classic Southern BBQ house also has a full bar with an excellent selection of beer. Many brews are not available in other Asheville-area bars. Recent selections included offerings from Corsendonk, Terrapin, Dogfish Head, Mash House, Duck Rabbit, and Avery along with many other choices.

The barbeque is outstanding as well. A unique feature of ED Boudreaux's is the "sauce bar" offering a dozen different barbeque sauces ranging from sweet to spicy, mild to hot. The atmosphere is inviting and informal with a large bar along one side of the room. Be sure to give this new establishment a try.

ED Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ
48 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 253-5812

From the Westville Pub, head back to the downtown area. At the intersection of Patton Avenue, Broadway and Biltmore Avenue (Route 25)  is Pack Square, in which stands a tall, gray granite shaft called the Vance Monument. This is the starting and finishing point for the foot portion of the crawl. Parking is available in metered (M-S, before 6 p.m.) street spaces and nearby parking decks. From the Vance Monument, walk south on Biltmore Avenue passing the Fine Arts theatre on the left and the Mast General Store across the street on the right. Just a couple doors past the theatre is the entrance to Barley's Taproom.

Barley's Taproom

 From Boudreaux's retrace your steps to Barley's Taproom. An Asheville landmark, Barley's  has over 40 taps divided between upstairs and downstairs bars. All dispense quality brews. No mass-produced ricewater is served here, and the bartenders have been known to roll their eyes or worse when tourists ask the question "What do you have that resembles Budweiser?" Draft offerings include a changing selection of regional brews along with such standards as Anchor Steam, Newcastle, and Guinness. The pizza is excellent, as are the other food choices. Try a Beefalo Wrap with a side of potato salad, washed down with a selection from the "Brewery of the Month." The downstairs restaurant has a long mirrored bar and lots of tables, and is non-smoking before 10 p.m. Children are welcome in this section. Live entertainment is offered on many nights. Upstairs is another room featuring a second bar along with four pool tables and several dart boards. No food is served upstairs, smoking is always permitted, and customers must be at least 21 to enter. Draft selections are not always duplicated on each floor, so the beer aficionado is well-advised to check out both levels. Barley's also sponsors the annual  Brewgrass Festival  which brings in brewers from across the southeast. Underneath Barley's is the  Highland Brewing Company whose excellent brews are available on draft and in bottles at many area restaurants and bars, including Barley's. Be sure to try their Gaelic Ale and the St. Therese's Pale, along with their superb Kashmir IPA.

Barleys Taproom and Pizzeria
42 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC  28801
(828) 255-0504

Hannah Flanagan's Irish Pub

Leave Barley's, cross the street, and turn right. About 75 feet ahead on the left is Hannah Flanagan's, an Irish-theme pub (how'd you guess?) featuring 40 taps and a large bottle selection. Hannah's has a long, narrow room with a bar along one side and booths along the opposite wall, and a second room  toward the back. In season, the large open courtyard features outside seating and often has a live band on warm summer nights. The beer includes several regional products, including those from the  French Broad River Brewing Company of Asheville. The menu offers traditional Irish pub fare at reasonable prices including fish and chips, shepherds pie, bangers and mash, and corned beef and cabbage. A very popular spot and frequently crowded late and on summer weekends.

Hannah Flanagan's Irish Pub
27 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801 
(828) 252-1922

The Mellow Mushroom

Leave Hannah's, turn left, and walk uphill on Biltmore Avenue back through Pack Square, passing several upscale restaurants. Continue walking north on Broadway to the intersection of Walnut Street (Biltmore Avenue becomes Broadway at Pack Square). On the opposite side of the street is the Mellow Mushroom, the local incarnation of an Atlanta-based chain. The decor is funky with lots of 50's memorabilia. This location features over 50 taps making it the Asheville bar with the highest number of draft selections. The 'Shroom also offers outside seating on the front patio in warm weather. The location attracts a varied crowd, including students, professionals and families who bring the kids for the pizza. The atmosphere inside is that of a pizza joint but merits inclusion on this crawl due to the wide choice of beer selections. It's also a very popular spot late at night.

Mellow Mushroom
50 Broadway
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 236-9800


The Bier Garden

Leave the Mellow Mushroom, go back across Broadway, and walk down Walnut Street. Cross Lexington Avenue and climb the hill to Haywood Street. Directly in front of you is the Bier Garden. If a bottled beer is available in this area, the BG probably has it. Over 200 bottle selections are available along with almost thirty draft choices. The bottled beer list is particularly strong in German weissbiers and includes other selections not commonly available in this area. Adjacent space is occupied by pool tables and pinball. The front windows facing Haywood Street open up in warm weather, and a fireplace adds warmth and atmosphere on chilly evenings. The menu has recently been updated to include some more upscale offerings but still includes the pub burgers and appetizers for which the BG is famous. The brass nameplates on the bar recognize customers  who have consumed 125 different beer brands over a 12-month period.

The Bier Garden
46 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC  28801
(828) 285-0002

Jack of the Wood

Leave the Bier Garden by the same door you came in (there are several ways out of the building and you've been to six pubs by now. I don't want you getting lost this close to the finish). Turn right, following Haywood Street across Battery Park Avenue to College Street. Bear right on College and follow it to where it joins Patton Avenue and becomes two-way. On the right just past the traffic lights is  Jack of The Wood. Another Irish-themed pub, this one is about as authentic as it gets and features Celtic or bluegrass music many nights. The bar is completely smoke-free and offers a selection of theor own Green Man Ales on draft along with a choice of malt whiskies. Try the porter. Jack's used to be a brewpub but as the brewery has been relocated to a nearby location the pub technically no longer qualifies for the label though it is still the main outlet for the beers produced. The food is excellent and includes some traditional Irish choices like corned beef and cabbage and shepherds pie. Upstairs under the same ownership is the Laughing Seed, one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the South (so good that your guide often eats there even though he's not a vegetarian).

Jack of the Wood Brew Pub
95 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC  28801
(828) 252-5445 

Asheville Brewing Company

When you're ready to leave Jack's, cross Patton Avenue and walk down Coxe Avenue past the Buncombe County Social Services Department and the municipal bus terminal. A couple of blocks further on the right is the new Asheville Brewing Company. The owners of Asheville Pizza and Brewing have opened up this new location to serve their expanded brewing operation. Currently the location is essentially a tasting room offering several of APB's fine brews. Future plans include an expanded food menu but presently only pizza slices and limited bar snacks are available.

Asheville Brewing Company
77 Coxe Ave.
Asheville, NC  28801
(828) 255-4077


Green Man Brewing
(a.k.a. "Dirty Jack's")

From Asheville Brewing ...

Green Man originally brewed its beers at the Jack of the Wood pub but all brewing moved to this location in 2004 to increase capacity and to make room for expansion of the pub. A small, cement-floored bar with a half-dozen stools in in the front section with tables located in a former garage bay adjacent to the brewery. The large overhead door is opened in good weather. It's a good place to have a pint of Green Man's latest offering and to observe the brewer at work.

Green Man Brewing Company
23 Buxton Ave.
Asheville, NC  28801
(828) 252-5502

French Broad River Brewing

French Broad River Brewing is a bit hard to find. It's not within walking distance of other area bars and has comparatively limited hours: 1-8 PM Tuesday-Saturday. However, it is worth finding both for the beer and for the live music featured many evenings.

From downtown, take Biltmore Avenue south to Biltmore Village. Turn left at McDonald's onto Lodge St. (25A-S). Turn left at first light onto Fairview Rd. (behind the Polar Bar.)  Cross the railroad tracks and look for the first building on the right, French Broad River Brewing Company.

The tasting room offers 6-7 beers most of the time and features live entertainment many nights with an impressive lineup. The beers may also be found on draft at many of the places listed on this crawl.

French Broad River Brewing Company
101-D Fairview Road.
Asheville, NC  28803
(828) 277-0222

Other good Asheville bars...

Several other Asheville bars are worth visiting, but didn't make the cut for the pub crawl as they don't offer particularly unique beer selections. They might offer more limited beer choices but perhaps have full bars, good wine selections, an exceptionally nice atmosphere or excellent food. You might include some of these places on your visit to Asheville.

Charlotte Street Grill and Pub

This oft-overlooked Asheville institution has been around for a long time. A dark, wood paneled pub downstairs complements the excellent restaurant upstairs  . While the pub has its own menu, the food comes from the same kitchen and items from the restaurant menu can be ordered in the pub when ever the restaurant is open. The food is excellent fare and worth a stop. The draft beer selection is somewhat limited, usually consisting of a Highland brew or two along with Bass, Guinness and one or two others. The pub seating area is somewhat small and is often smoky and crowded, but the rear section offers pool tables and dart boards along with room for socializing. 

Charlotte Street Grill and Pub
157 Charlotte Street
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 253-5348

Northside Grill

The Northside is located on Merrimon Avenue about a half-mile north of the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. Look for it on the right just beyond a shopping plaza with a Papa John's and a True-Value hardware store. A classic sports bar, the Northside is the place to be during winter sports season. Several rooms on two levels offer a variety of seating, and large-screen TV's are located throughout the bar. A good and reasonably-priced menu complements the beers which include several area craft brews along with such sports bar standards as Bud Light and Rolling Rock.

The Northside Grill and Bar
853 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC  28804
(828) 254-2349 

The New French Bar

The New French Bar (or NFB as its regulars called it) was formerly located in the Haywood Park Hotel in space now occupied by the Flying Frog Cafe. It went out of business in 2002 when the Frog took over the location, while retaining many of the NFB traditions. Now, The New French Bar has reopened in space on Biltmore Avenue most recently occupied by Candy's Courtyard Cafe. While the old location had only a modest selection of bottled beers, it was noted for its extensive wine list and a superb Sunday brunch. The new location offers several draft beers including Highland Gaelic, and several by the bottle in addition to a nice wine list. The menu has been expanded to include several entrees (available after 5 p.m.). It's well worth a visit for lunch or dinner, and is open late in the evening.

The New French Bar
12 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-5070

Enjoy your Asheville pub crawl! 

If you have additions, corrections or suggestions please drop me an e-mail.

Created and maintained by Mark Stoffan, . Last updated March 30, 2003.

Click here to visit Mark's home page.

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