Shortlist: The Ten Bars In Cary (NC) That Locals Always Recommend!

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Last updated on December 10, 2022 by Wandering our World

North Carolina is home to Cary, a city filled with entertainment, shopping, and sports lots of fun. Among all these activities, gastronomy remains one of Cary’s strong points, with over two hundred spots to visit and enjoy – including some fantastic must-try restaurants as we’ve written about before.

This city’s bar scene is therefore outstanding, and it’s nightlife fascinating. In fact because there are so many options, it is necessary to shortlist the best ones, and that’s exactly what we did!

An Eastern European restaurant bar, an elegant cocktail bar with live music, award-winning breweries, and a sports bar with arcade games are just a few examples that showcase the diversity of Cary’s evening scene.

So let us make things easy and show you the best bars in Cary, NC. Let’s get started!


  1. The Best Cocktail Bar
  2. The Three Best Bars For Food
  3. The Three Best Bars For Beer
  4. The Three Best Sports Bars
bartender making cocktail
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The Best Cocktail Bar In Cary

1. SideBar

Upscale bar with an outdoor patio that serves unique cocktails of the highest quality, has an extensive spirits menu, and hosts live music on the weekends.

This bar is rightfully considered the best spot in Cary for craft cocktails. Not only are the drinks carefully curated by experienced—and friendly—mixologists and bartenders, but they also contain fresh top-shelf ingredients and garnishes.

When visiting SideBar, you can go for your usual Old Fashioned or Margarita. However, we recommend expanding your horizons and checking out the extensive House Cocktails list, which bursts with creativity and flavor. The Bruleed Greyhound is a best-seller—it has the least ingredients out of all the signature recipes, but its taste makes it a customer’s favorite.

If someone in your group is not a fan of cocktails, SideBar also offers an incredibly vast spirits selection, rotating draft beers, and wine, so everyone will find their perfect drink.

The beverages are the best part of the SideBar experience, but the ambiance is another excellent attribute too.

The upscale, modern speakeasy-style interiors with sofas, chandeliers, and wrap-around bar, add so much to this bar’s attractiveness. Apart from being elegant, the venue is also comfortable in terms of seating options and space—you can choose from the bar stools, the dining and coffee tables, and an outdoor patio.

The only thing missing at SideBar is food, but you can always order from the restaurant next door, so that’s not a problem. However, note that this place is a better fit for pre or post-meal cocktails than for dining.

Hours of operation are from 4 pm to 11 pm Tuesday through Thursday, 4 pm to midnight on Fridays, 3 pm to midnight on Saturdays, and 3 pm to 10 pm on Sundays.

If you visit on a Sunday, anytime from 4 pm to 7 pm, you will likely catch a live music show!

Address: 215 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

Expert barman is making cocktail at a bar.
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The Three Best Bars In Cary For Food

1. Sophie’s Grill & Bar

Friendly restaurant/bar that specializes in Eastern European cuisine, serves cocktails and Georgian wine, and offers several forms of entertainment.

This restaurant bar presents a different gastronomic proposal, offering more than just burgers and finger food. The menu features Eastern European dishes, mostly Bulgarian—and encourages American customers to expand their palate by trying foreign flavors while making European visitors feel right at home.

Desi, Sophie’s owner, and the rest of the staff are native to the Old World and are in charge of bringing Europe to your table. The stuffed cabbage rolls, goulash, and Armenian figs are some of their best creations. Authentic and incredibly flavorful, these dishes are excellent exponents of European cuisine and culture.

Regarding the bar and the drinks, the wine stands out since it is a family wine brought directly from the country of Georgia. It comes in four varieties: Dry Red, Semi-Sweet Red, Dry White, and Semi-Sweet White.

You can also order beer, whiskey, or a cocktail—whilst the cocktail selection is not that varied, their quality is impressive, and they perfectly complement the food.

Adding to its excellent gastronomy, Sophie’s provides entertainment such as karaoke nights on Fridays and Saturdays, live music, and Latin dance nights! You can keep updated on when these events take place through the bar’s socials.

Hours of operation are from 11 am to midnight on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, whereas on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this bar opens from 11 am to 2 am.

Address: 2734 NC-55, Cary, NC 27519

wine glasses
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2. Spirits Pub & Grub

Welcoming bar that offers homemade, freshly cooked bar food, monthly rotating specials, and a long draft beer menu.

This bar takes bar food to a whole new level. You can expect abundant portions, scratch cooking, and classic recipes with creative twists.

The star of Spirits Pub & Grub has always been the Mac & Cheese. While it is a simple dish, the cooks mix their own flare into it by adding different ingredient combinations and sauces. In this way, they present a different variation monthly, which they call the Mac & Cheese of the Month.

Spirits’ burgers and chicken wings are highly acclaimed as well. So much so that many customers claim that this bar has the best buffalo wings in the area, so it might be worth giving them a try. However, make sure to check the rest of the menu, as every dish is carefully prepared and mouthwatering, even if it’s just as simple as a salad.

All the meals that Spirits Pub & Grub offers goes well with beer, which is good news since this bar has an extensive selection of rotating draft beers of all varieties. You can enjoy your ice-cold brew inside or take it to their outdoor patio.

This bar stays closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but opens from 11:30 am to 9 pm Wednesday through Saturday. On Sundays, it opens at the same time but closes at 8 pm.

Address: 701 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

Eating a bite of cheesy macaroni and cheese

3. Crosstown Pub & Grill

Relaxed award-winning pub that offers outstanding food and drinks, vegan dishes, variety, and an outdoor patio.

This bar‘s great food, friendly service, and laid-back atmosphere has earned it the Best Neighborhood Bar title on multiple occasions over the years.

Crosstown’s dishes are not unique, but their quality is. This bar takes meals like fish and chips, soup, and sandwiches and makes them the best ones you’ve ever had. Variety is another of Crosstown’s strengths, as every menu section has something for everyone, including vegan and kids options.

To drink, you can choose from a long and changing list of craft beers that are either on tap, canned, or bottled. Wines are also an option, and numerous, and you can order them by the bottle or glass.

Bradford Margarita and Midtown Manhattan are a couple of examples of the few delicious cocktail options made with top-shelf spirits. Forget about beers and enjoy carefully crafted delights instead!

Hours of operation are from 11:30 am to midnight on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Crosstown Pub & Grill opens at 11:30 am and closes at 2 am.

Address: 154 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

Fish and chips with beer
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The Three Best Bars In Cary For Beer

1. Bond Brothers Beer Company

Famous award-winning brewery that offers numerous and varied tap beers, wines, and ciders, is pet-friendly, and has an outdoor garden!

Bond Brothers was the first winner in USA Today’s Best New Brewery list, meaning that the majority of the voters considered it the best rising brewery in the country. No wonder why!

Their taproom in Cary offers fourteen beers on tap and a wide variety—from simple lagers to sweet specialty brews. Bond Brothers’ beers are some of the best in the area, and you can taste the craft in each one of them. You can pair them with peanuts and chips from the bar, bring your food, or buy something to eat at one of their food trucks.

Although beer is the reason why everyone visits Bond Brothers, many customers want to try something different, which is why the brewery offers a couple of wine and cider options as well. Ciders at Bond Brother are varied, too—some are sweet, some are spicy, and others are flavored.

The taproom’s interiors match the quality of the beer: the garage-like venue is well-decorated, has many seating options, and has a gorgeous garden. You can also bring your pet! As the place is spacious, you, your dog, and the rest of the customers are guaranteed to be comfortable.

Hours of operation are from 2 pm to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, from noon to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 10 pm on Sundays. When it comes to beer, this is definitely one of the bars in Cary, NC, you’ve got to check out.

Address: 202 E Cedar St, Cary, NC 27511

Selection of beer
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2. Triangle Beer Co.

Fun brewery that offers international craft beers, craft cocktails, diverse street food, live music on the weekends, and an outdoor patio.

Triangle Beer Co. offers ten beers on tap, both local and international. You can expect barrel-aged, IPAs, lagers, sours, and many other kinds of brews.

Their beer list is updated frequently, so there is always a new beer to try. And if you are new to the beer world and feel overwhelmed, the attentive bartenders will guide you and help you find the best match for you.

However, there is much more to this brewery than just beer. It has a full bar where cocktails are meticulously crafted. The recipes are highly original and creative, something you would not usually expect from a taproom.

Regarding the food, Triangle Beer Co. has partnered up with different food trucks to provide fantastic street food to its customers. Will it be tacos, hotdogs, or cajun food? You can check the food truck schedule on the brewery’s website so you know what to expect. You can find the trucks on the outdoor, pet-friendly patio.

Last but not least, weekends at Triangle are for music! Local bands perform live every Friday and Saturday. These shows usually start at 8 or 9 pm and lighten the mood every time.

As you can see, the staff put their all into making customers feel relaxed and entertained and delivering the best service possible, so it is no surprise that Triangle Beer Co. is one of the most popular bars in Cary.

You can live the Triangle experience from 4 pm to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, from noon to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 8 pm on Sundays.

Address: 320 E Durham Rd, Cary, NC 27513

guitar player at a live music show
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3. Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage

Brewery with over 15 beers on tap, an even wider bottle and can selection, excellent wines, and outdoor seating.

With over 15 rotating beers on tap, this brewery has some of the most variety in Cary. However, if draft beer is not your cup of tea, Pharmacy is still an excellent option for you as they have stocked fridges with uncountable bottled and canned specialty beer varieties, which you can also buy and take home.

If you are more of a wine drinker, you will be surprised to know that this brewery sells high-end wines by the glass, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, by renowned international brands.

The venue has an industrial feel and a relaxed vibe. There are plenty of places to sit during the day, but as one of the most popular bars in Cary it can become quite crowded when the sun goes down. No need to worry, though, as there are outdoor picnic tables at the front and back of the venue where you will surely find a spot to relax.

Hours of operation are from 2 pm to 9 pm Monday through Wednesday, to 10 pm on Thursdays, from 1 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 pm to 8 pm on Sundays.

Address: 120 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

tasty craft beer on bar table
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The Three Best Sports Bars In Cary

1. The Neighborhood Sports Bar and Arcade

Relaxed sports bar that offers arcade and bar games, well-distributed TVs to watch matches, a pleasant atmosphere, and a simple food and drinks menu.

Although it is always quite busy as this place is one of the most popular bars in Cary, especially on game days, this bar‘s atmosphere is laid-back, comfortable, and not too loud.

There are many seating options—most are tall tables and stools, surrounded by numerous TVs where you can watch whatever sport is playing.

While enjoying the match you can play darts, pool, or air hockey, while sipping a cold pint or a cocktail. There are also many arcade games and pinball tables where you can win cash prizes. Entertainment plays a big part at The Neighborhood, which is excellent for group outings since it makes for a fun night and more relaxed, lively sports-watching.

This place is also one of the few bars in Cary that has daily deals on beer, cocktails, and shots. You can check which drinks are on offer during the week on their website.

The Neighborhood Sports Bar and Arcade operates from 3 pm to 2 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 10 am on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and from 11:30 am to 2 am on Sundays.

Address: 301 N Harrison Ave, Cary, NC 27513

Photo for illustrative purposes only: Rudenko

2. Break Time Billiards & Sports Bar

Sports bar that offers several TVs, ten pool tables, and other games, hosts league tournaments, and serves homemade bar food paired with beer or specialty cocktails.

This bar, which functions inside the Wellington Park Shopping Center, truly has it all! Expect entertainment, sports, good drinks, and even better food.

Let’s start with the fun. Honoring its name, Break Time has no less than ten well-maintained pool tables. It also offers four dart boards and some arcade machines. This bar hosts league tournaments with all these games, and you can participate! You just have to sign up, and you are ready to go.

In terms of gastronomy, both the food and drink menus are extensive. You can have flatbreads, salads, rice bowls, wings, desserts, or one of the options on the seemingly endless entrees list, which are served with homemade chips.

Drinks consist of a wide selection of cold bottled beers and many specialty cocktails and margaritas to choose from.

If you are visiting just to watch a game, we can assure you that you will be able to do it comfortably, as this bar offers seventeen TVs and many seating options!

Hours of operation are from 3 pm to 2 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, this bar opens at noon and closes at 2 am.

Address: 6442 Tryon Rd, Cary, NC 27518

Racked and ready billiards balls.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Finkelsen

3. Mac’s Tavern

Small sports bar with TVs indoors and outdoors, a nice patio, quality food, beer, cocktail options, and two stages for live music performances.

Mac’s Tavern is the result of the fusion between a sports bar and a live music venue.

It has an outdoor and indoor stage for bands to carry out their live shows, which tends to always be excellent. However, live music performances are not an every-weekend occurrence, which is why this bar operates as a sports tavern most of the time.

It offers over four TVs indoors, and there are even more on the outdoor patio which customers usually prefer as its ambiance and decoration make it the best part of the venue. Each TV plays a different game, so you won’t miss any results.

The food is always good at Mac’s too, with a menu that features quality bar food and comfort dishes, the burgers and fries being the locals’ favorite. The drinks consist of a good selection of bottled, canned, and draft beer, as well as some rail drinks.

You can visit Mac’s Tavern, watch your sport of choice, and play a pool game or two from 11:30 am to 2 am every day.

Address: 1014 Ryan Rd, Cary, NC 27511


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