Yesterday I had an illuminating exchange with a colleague of mine. Turns out we’re both from the Blue Ridge. I asked him what part and he said, “Virginia.” He asked me the same and I told him Asheville.
“Oh,” he said, “The cool part.”
And he’s right. Asheville is the cool part. With a visit to Asheville, you don’t just get natural beauty. You get a vibrant city like no other, full of spectacular things to do. Downtown. The River Arts District. And most relevant to this article: the South Slope brewing district.
I spend a lot of words hyping up the South Slope, but I realize I’ve only written one post on it. Well, there’s a heck of a lot more than just five things to do on the South Slope. So without further ado, let's take it to ten.
Holeman + Finch prides itself on unpretentious food and drinks, inspired by WNC agriculture. That means local brews, beer-battered NC catfish, and a daily rotation of spectacular pies.
But that’s just where it begins. This eclectic restaurant layers on charcuterie boards, whiskey flights, madeira by the glass, boozy shakes, and weekend brunch starring buttermilk waffles, sourdough griddle cakes, and build-your-own bloody mary’s.
They bill themselves as an “any time, any occasion,” kind of place, and after analyzing their operation, I have to agree. So if you’re on the South Slope and don’t want anything more than some good food and drink, start here.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 4pm to 10pm. Saturday 10am-10pm. Sunday 10am-8pm.
Up on the north end of the South Slope, pressing into downtown proper, this offshoot of the Curate tapas bar combines the best of parts of an Iberian café and a wine market. Here you can enjoy house-made pastries, bocadillos, Catalan flatbreads, pintxos, and handpicked Spanish wine.
For additional incentives, visit between four-thirty and six-thirty, Wednesday through Sunday, for their “Hora del Vermut,” with a free pinxto with the purchase of a beverage, or on a Tuesday for Spanish-style grilled cheese and $5 sparkling wine.
Hours: 4:30pm-10pm Tuesdays. 9am to 10pm Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m getting brews with the boys (or girls, or extended family, whatever floats your boat), I usually end up with a hankering for some barbecue. It’s just a law of nutritional physics. Or maybe it’s growing up in the South.
Either way, Bear’s Smokehouse lies just a couple blocks north of the Funkatorium, and on the same street as Well Played, making it easy to work into a visit to these other South Slope staples.
Their menu thrives in the most decadent of barbecue delicacies. Bacon wrapped meatballs, BBQ nachos, loaded baked potatoes, poutine, and fried chicken sandwiches. Just what you need to survive your night on the town.
Hours: 11am-9pm Monday through Thursday. 11am-10pm Friday and Saturday. 12pm-9pm Sundays.
If you think about it, doughnuts really are the perfect foodstuff. High in calories. Sweet. Shelf-stable. And transporting them is as easy as grabbing a stick, lining them up, and skewering them right through the doughnut hole.
All that’s to say I don’t feel I have to lay out an elaborate argument for visiting Vortex Doughnuts. They’ve got espresso, hot tea courtesy of Dobra, sparkling local kombucha, and of course, all the doughnuts you can shake a stick out.
They might not be open late, but if you find yourself on the South Slope on a breezy Sunday morning, perhaps, or as part of a larger journey downtown, its well worth a stop.
Hours: 7am-2pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
Patton Avenue’s Thirsty Monk taproom might be right on the upper edge of the South Slope, but for my money, it's still worth considering for your brewery expedition. They’re a local favorite, with an expansive tap list ranging from mulled cider cocktails, to botanical IPAs.
Their second story “Top of the Monk” bar might have limited seating, but if you time it right, it’s the perfect place to catch up with a small group of friends and family. Watch the city from comfortable elevation. Visit the patio out back for a little fresh air. It may be a lesser-known corner of the South Slope, but its one of my favorites.
Hours: 4pm-10pm Wednesday and Thursday. 12pm-12:30am Friday and Saturday. 2pm-9pm Sunday. 4pm-9pm Monday.
Holeman + Finch Asheville
77 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
La Bodega by Curate
32 S Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Bear's Smokehouse Barbecue
135 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
32 Banks Ave #106, Asheville, NC 28801
92 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801