Asheville really hits the spot when it comes to healthy food, funky beers, street art, flying freak flags, beautiful handmade goods, and world-famous breweries.
I am quite lucky to have a big “framily” in Asheville and always look forward to seeing them, discovering new places, and settling into old haunts.
Here is a collection of my favourite cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops that are currently in business, and this one goes out to my buddy Jim:
Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar is the best place to let your yellow smoke rub its muzzle on the window-panes. Stop in for a latte and a huge slice of cake, a chicken salad croissant and a beer, or a mid-morning glass of champagne if you prefer.
BPBE has a huge book selection for sale that spans two floors with all sorts of seating areas, nooks, tables, and quiet areas. There is a bar on each floor though upstairs service is limited.
Be sure to check out Downtown Books & News afterwards. They don’t sell booze but they have a delightful collection of zines and magazines.
Cafes / Tea Houses
Finding an authentic tea house is sadly not easy anymore, and even the good coffee houses tend to be minimalistic and sterile. This is why I always make it a point to stop into Dobra when I’m downtown.
Dobra offers tea service, small bites, and regular classes/events. I prefer the floor seating with pillows but there are some great window seats for people watching near the entrance. We took the Moroccan mint tea service with cheddar biscuits, miso, and a cookie.
Just a few steps down Lexington is Izzy’s Cafe, but both businesses have secondary franchise locations in town.
The Owl (Old World Levain) Bakery is ran by an acquaintance and it is a lovely little yellow building full of delicate, imaginative, European-style treats. We loved the coffee, orange spice croissant-muffins, rosemary caramel tarte, and chocolate cookie.
World Coffee in Battery Park was the perfect place to catch up with a sweet friend over a spicy Mayan Mocha.
There is a room in the back that overlooks the park through giant, billowing, lime green sheer curtains and it gives the room so much healing light.
Haywood Common became an immediate favourite the first time I went. I am not even embarrassed to say that I have been four more times in the last month.
We have loved everything we ordered; the kimchi Bloody Mary, Old Fashioned with charred oranges, a rosemary fizz cocktail, Thai buffalo chicken sandwich, chicken & pear Banh mi, Korean pulled pork, brunch burger, chicken & waffles, and a breakfast wrap with loads of cheesy lemon crema and Benton’s bacon.
We have interacted with about a dozen staff members and each person was absolutely lovely. It did not look like much from the outside but inside it is welcoming, the interior is cozy and intimate without any pretense, and I am hooked.
Speaking of hooked, The Whale shares a building and side patio with Haywood Common and serves up local and imported craft beers.
They have a sweet tooth for German beers, so obviously I like this place too.
Inside there is a full-scale whale skeleton that hovers gracefully across the entire ceiling, but the best part is Bear.
This cutie has a super long tongue that perpetually sticks out no matter what he does. I have seen him three times now and it would likely break my heart if I ever go and he is not there.
Jargon is a handsome place in West Asheville near the Mothlight that has a fantastic jazz brunch and lots of gold mirrors, which reminded me of home.
Another theme is refurbished wooden objects and art. The tables here are made of repurposed bowling alley flooring panels; something I have not seen done before.
The bathroom walls are made of wooden Scrabble pieces and pretty rustic lights.
We took on a few different items from the menu- the pork belly omelet with crispy string onions and potatoes, the eggs benny with lox and hollandaise, and sun-dried tomato quiche. Everything was delicious!
Jargon offers luxury cocktails, Surf ‘n Turf, burgers, casseroles, french toast, and some lighter fare for brunch on Sundays.
I anticipate returning during regular lunch or dinner hours to see what additional items they have outside of brunch.
Over Easy Cafe is the perfect place to get breakfast before a big day walking around downtown. I went solo and sat at the bar, had some coffee and the seasonal hash bowl.
They sauteed squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, bacon, and served it with cheese over salad greens.
They have a lot of cool bird art too.
If you have time, I suggest visiting Asheville Chocolate and European Cafe across the street for some take home goodies.
Other breakfast/brunch places I recommend are Early Girl, Mayfels, and Sovereign Remedies.
Crow & Quill
C&Q hosts live music (my band included), theme parties, craft+maker nights, and serves all the fancy cocktails that dreams are made of; dreams of Gorey, Poe, and Lovecraft in a sea of over four hundred whiskeys.
Let’s just say that when I’m there, I have so much fun that I have consistently failed to take any photos of the interior. Thus I will share one from the internet for now:
Fleetwood’s on Haywood is a bar, vintage shop, chapel, and more. Don’t believe me?
We blessed the Lemmy Kilmister shrine on Dia de los Muertos.
Fleetwood’s is just the kind of place to see rowdy rock and roll and sideshow acts.
But there is plenty of seating to carry on conversations with friends.
Dirty Jack’s is the original tasting room for Green Man. I was thrilled to find ESB and porter-style beers among the scores of sour, gose, and IPAs.
They have a spacious covered patio, and the most impressive mascot. Possibly difficult to judge in this photo but his head is larger than a soccer ball and his nose reached my hip (I am 6′ tall).
My new friend who works there was kind enough to give me a tour and a few souvenirs for the road. What an awesome place!
I love this mural outside the building:
One World Brewing is a funky spaceship themed brewery in West Ashe but there is a downtown location as well. I tried the fascinating indigo Slumbeer seen below:
They were hosting a traveling pop-up sale event with some witchy vendors, live djs, lots of dancing and silliness.
Odditorium is an old standby for most of my friends. It has always been an anything-goes type of place with some killer bands, low key crowd, alternative events, rad murals, etc.
Raven & Crone is a metaphysical/spiritual shop and bookstore where I have purchased a significant amount of herbs, essential oils, teas, and candles. This is one of my favourite #treatyourself places in town. They offer tarot readings and various classes too.
Earth Magick is another #treatyourself store, particularly if you are into crystals, stones, and affordable decor. They have the most reasonable prices in Asheville that I have seen, and I would stop there before visiting the super overpriced Cornerstone Minerals.
Bee Charmer is a sweet shop with an astounding amount of honey varieties and honey-based products. Buzz up to the bar and they will let you try anything you like.
This list will surely grow as I continue to visit. Did I miss anything? ❤