Planning to visit the Port City for the Azalea Festival?
There will be a lot for your to do and see while you are here in the Port City! And if you are of age, Wilmington has a host of Bars and Breweries for you to sample from.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival brings people from far and wide to the City of Wilmington, for a fun packed week of concerts and events. Wilmington wasn’t voted one of the best places to live in North Carolina for nothing. Our bars and breweries can be found from the heart of downtown Wilmington all the way out to Carolina and Wrightsville beaches.
These Port City establishments make great places to visit during the Azalea Festival, especially once you get tired of all the hullabaloo and just want a good drink. Some bars in Wilmington, like the Barbary Coast, have been around since the days Pirates roamed the Port City. We even have a haunted pub crawl for those looking for a spooky story to go along with their pint, and we highly recommend it.
This is in no way going to be an exhaustive list. We’d need a lot more space and time to cover all the amazing establishments we have here in Wilmington. So in the meantime, enjoy this sampling of our favorites that we recommend you go to while you are here for Azalea festival. Cheers to an awesome visit, and don’t forget to tip your bartender!
Address: 9 N Front St, Wilmington, NC
Specialty Brew to try: World Beer Cup Gold Award-Winning Spring Brew
Specialty Cocktail to try: Buffalo Crush
Located in the heart of Downtown Wilmington, Front Street Brewery, Wilmington’s Original Brewery, has been operating here in the Port City for 21 years. Their World Beer Cup Gold award winning brews, 5 flagship beers and other seasonal selections are sure to tickle your fancy, while taking a break from the Azalea Festivities. If you consider yourself a Whiskey aficionado, Front Street is home to North Carolina’s Largest Whiskey selection, with over 340 premium whiskeys, bourbons and scotches for you to chose from. Enjoy a fantastic lunch, dinner, or late night snack with their full menu available until midnight, and don’t forget to go on the free brewery tours from 3-5 pm. Come celebrate 21 years of brewing excellence at Front Street Brewery this Azalea Festival, you don’t want to miss it.
Address: 109 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC
Specialty Cocktail to try: The Penny Pear Mule
Located in historic downtown Wilmington, the Copper Penny is a must go-to establishment while you are here for Azalea Fest. If you aren’t looking to dine on street food at the River Front, the Copper Penny has some of the best affordable food in Wilmington, and boasts an extensive selection of cocktails and beers. Their rotating taps feature Breweries from all over North Carolina, including Good Hops Brewing which we featured down below. Voted Wilmington’s Best Lunch, Best Sports Bar, and Best Waitstaff for seven straight years, the folks down at Copper Penny will take great care of you.
Address: 103 Market St, Wilmington, NC
Special Feature: Their Bingo Thursdays 😉
Take the stairs on the corner of Market and Front street, and grab a glass of the downtown-underground at one of Wilmington’s subterranean bars, the Pour House. The Pour House is very laid back, and they like it that way. This is the place you’ll want to hang out after the concerts let out. This basement dive bar has something going on every night, and is home to sex toy bingo Thursdays. The staff is awesome and so are their drinks. They run different specials pretty much daily, so check out their twitter feed. You might get lucky with some $3 Fireball shots, just don’t get too crazy. If you are looking for a cool, laid back place to hangout for the night, head on down to the Pour House.
Address: 115 N 2nd St, Wilmington, NC
Specialty Brew to try: Mango Pineapple Pale Wheat
Take a walk up to North 2nd Street, just around the corner from Chop’s Deli, to try some of Wilmington’s Hand Forged Craft Beer at Ironclad Brewery. Ironclad is a brewery & full bar, serving up craft beer, wine, & spirits in downtown Wilmington. The Ironclad hosts live music and events in its 10,000 square feet historic building, that was built in 1925. They painstakingly worked to restore the space, and kept the interior brick walls and roof intact. Their Mango Pineapple Pale Wheat beer was brewed by all the women that work at Ironclad, as part of International Women’s Day and the Pink Boots Society Big Boots Brew Day. $1 of each pint sold will go to benefit the Pink Boots Society. So if you want to experience some of how Wilmington’s historic district is being renewed, and want to grab a pint of local craft beer, head on down to Ironclad Brewery.
Address: 15 S Water St, Wilmington, NC
Special Feature: Awesome Game Room
The inside of this Port City bar has been seen on both TV and Silver Screens, as part of the sets of One Tree Hill and Tammy. Blue Post Billiards is hands down Wilmington’s favorite bar and pool hall. Enjoy a beer or cocktail while you shoot some pool, play some skee-ball, air hockey, darts, and old school video games in the Blue Post’s game room, or why not just hang out with some friend over drinks in the “ally way” that connects the bar from the game room! You can even get your name on the wall by finishing the extensive Beer Club list, it takes a while to complete so you’ll be coming back for more. The Blue Post has something for everyone, and that’s why we locals love it!
Address: 31 S Front St, Wilmington, NC
Special Feature: Outside Patio Bar
Front street hosts a slue of bars and restaurants, and you’ll find The Husk right on the corner of Front and Dock across from City Limits Saloon. The Husk is pretty popular spot to go to after the Azalea Parade on Saturday. You can even bring your dog inside if they aren’t too busy, or hang out on the outside patio around the back. With a decent selection of craft beer and bar food, The Husk is a place to stop by for a quick beer. Be forewarned, The Husk get’s packed fast, so get there early.
Address: 22 N Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Specialty Cocktail to try: Berry Blossom Martini
If Wrightsville Beach is more your style, 22 North is the place for you. This bar and restaurant is a bit more upscale compared to some of downtown’s local dive bars. 22 North is home to the Official Drink of the 2007 North Carolina Azalea Festival, the Berry Blossom Martini. 22 North also features 20 signature martinis on their newly expanded drink menu, and a daily menu of eclectic Southern Comfort food. Be sure to give their Moscow Mule a try when you are there, you can’t go wrong with vodka and ginger beer. It’s no wonder the “best kept secret on the beach” has been awarded so many accolades over the years. If you are staying in Wrightsville beach during the Azalea festival, put this spot on your map. Your taste buds will thank you.
Address: 811 Harper Avenue, Carolina Beach, NC
Specialty Brew to try: Black Wheat
Special Feature: Disc Golf Course
Take a drive down to Pleasure Island, to sample some drafts from Carolina Beach’s only Craft Brewery. This newest brewery on the block supplies many of Wilmington and Carolina Beach’s bars and restaurants. Their last stout of the year will be an Imperial Russian stout, which is coming out April 15th. Love disc golf? Thanks to the help of the Pleasure Island Disc Golf Club, Good Hops has a 9-hole disc golf course on the brewery property. Good times and great beer are just a couple of minutes from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk at Good Hops Brewing.
Address: 38 N Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Specialty Cocktail to try: Wrightsville beach tea
Started by UNCW student Jerry Allen in 1995, Jerry Allen’s Sports Bar is a popular spot on Wrightville Beach’s main drag. Jerry Allen’s has an outdoor patio, where you can bring your canine best friend, and sports both Foosball and skee ball machines inside. Anyone up for some Margaritas and Pina Coladas? This beach bar wouldn’t be complete without its frozen drink machines! Famous for their $3 cheeseburgers, their menu is full of sandwiches, Katy’s wings, burgers and other goodies to munch on. They have an assortment of craft beers on tap, and are open until 2 am for all of you night owls. If you want to grab a bite and a drink after coming off the beach, check out Jerry Allen’s.
Address: 8 S Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC
Special Feature: Large Walk In Cooler
Right near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, you’ll find the Fat Pelican, Carolina Beach’s favorite dive bar. Ranked one of the top 25 dive bars in America, over the years the Fat Pelican has become a favorite of island locals and vacation goers from all over the country! This establishment lives by the motto ‘Beer is Love,’ with their massive walk in cooler, that sports 350 beers and a selection of wines and non-alcoholic drinks. Come out around back and be a beach bum at ‘Pelican beach,’ where you can enjoy your brew outside with music, fun, and a fire pit. Be sure to check out this unique bar while you are here.
There is a lot of merriment to be had in the Port City during Azalea Festival, and we are glad you are here. Keep in mind you can drink smarter and party better by drink responsibly: Assign a designated driver or grab a cab (we have a lot of them here & Uber is available), and always practice drink safety.
We hope you enjoy your trip to our fair city, and come see us again soon.