NIGHTlife Abounds

NIGHTlife Abounds

The downside of living in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year is that the days are so short. The upside is that the nights are so long.


Fortunately for folks in the High Country, nightlife is in no short supply. There are dozens of businesses who are ready, willing and able to provide you with ample entertainment after the sun has set.

A number of area restaurants feature stages for live music, karaoke and comedy acts. Other entertainment includes video and trivia games, darts, dancing, TV sports, and billiards.

Sports fans are everywhere up here and many of the nightspots feature big screen TVs for watching our favorite local teams such as the Panthers, Hurricanes, Tarheels, Blue Devils, Demon Deacons, Wolfpack and, of course, the NCAA Division 1-AA national champion Appalachian State Mountaineers. If you’re from out of town and want to find out how your hometown team is doing, just ask your bartender or waitress to turn on the game of your choice. Chances are you’ll be rooting for your team in no time.

Live music is another tradition up here and between the bluegrass picking of the local musicians and the rock and roll and jazz by ASU music majors, there is always lots of good acts to choose from. Several restaurants in the area feature regional and national touring bands, making it impossible to see and hear all the bands playing in our area.

Just a short note to visitors unfamiliar with the alcohol laws of North Carolina: The fine men and women of our various law enforcement agencies take drunk driving very seriously, as well they should. All High Country watering holes have access to taxi services and will be more than happy to call one for you should the need arise.

Availability of libations varies from community to community. Some areas such as Deep Gap are totally dry. In Boone you can purchase beer and wine in a restaurant but can only buy liquor in state-run ABC stores. Some restaurants have “brown bag” permits allowing you to bring your own liquor and have drinks made by restaurant staff.

Banner Elk and Blowing Rock restaurants have beer, wine and liquor by-the-drink available for purchase. The selection available is up to the individual restaurant.



Making an early evening of it? Enjoy the sunset from the deck at Angelica’s Vegetarian Restaurant & Juice Bar on King Street. The restaurant features occasional live music and the finest in organic eats in the High Country. Call (828) 265-0809. Visit

Baxter’s Blues and Barbecue

Looking for a way to lose the blues? Well, walk on into Baxter’s Smokehouse Blues and Barbecue in Boone, a new restaurant located across Hwy 321 from the Holiday Inn. Great food, a bar with big screen sports and casual dining is the name of the game at Baxter’s. Currently the restaurant is scheduling live blues musicians and other entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, call Baxter’s at (828) 262-0002.

The Bistro

Located in the New Market Center, the Bistro is your one-stop shopping headquarters for the finest in food, beer and wine. The restaurant has just added an outdoor seating area and is conveniently located across from Regal Cinemas for that post-movie drink. Call (828) 265-0500. Visit

Black Cat Burrito

For the finest in fresh burritos, nachos, salads and other food. The downtown Boone eatery has scaled back its late night entertainment but still features occasional live music in the jazz, bluegrass, reggae and folk veins. Call (828) 263-9511.

Boone Bowling Center

You don’t have to be a league bowler looking for your first perfect game to enjoy the Boone Bowling Center, located on Boone Heights Drive. The center features plenty of lanes, electronic scoring, one of the High Country’s most diverse jukeboxes, electronic games, and other fun stuff. Check out Cosmic Bowling on the weekends! For more information, call (828) 264-3166.

Boone Saloon

Located in the building that formerly housed the Caribbean Café, the Boone Saloon is the newest member of the downtown nightlife family. The restaurant features pool tables, occasional live music, draft beer, sports on TV and a jukebox. Grab a beer and prop your elbows up on the beautiful handcrafted hardwood bar. Call (828) 264-1811.

Café Portofino

Located on the site of the old Boone Railroad Depot on Rivers Street, Café Portofino is home to some good food plus sports on TV, darts, billiards, a rockin’ jukebox, occasional live music and plenty of downtown Boone-style fun. Right now the Tap Room at Café Portofino features Karaoke on Thursday and Aloha Fridays. Call (828) 264-7772.


Located at the High Country Inn on Hwy 105 in Boone, Geno’s has everything imaginable to keep you fully entertained. Walk downstairs for live music and stand-up comedy in the spacious Red Room. Or stay upstairs in Geno’s Lounge for big screen sports, video and electronic trivia games, and karaoke. A favorite destination for the college crowd. Call (828) 264-1000.

The Library Restaurant & Pub

When this new nightspot first opened, everyone was talking about the waitresses’ school-girl uniforms. Now, everyone is talking about the great food, fun times, and live entertainment at the Library. The restaurant features live bands, darts, more televisions and big screens than you can shake a stick at, and one of the largest selections of beer and wine in the High Country. For more information, call the Library at (828) 262-5772.


Late night munchies, games and fun make Macado’s a required stop while visiting downtown Boone. The atmosphere is casual and the walls, booths and ceilings feature rock & roll and movie memorabilia. Call (828) 264-1375.


Makoto’s Seafood & Steakhouse of Japan in Boone features a restaurant where you can see the chefs prepare your meal, a bar with television sports and a sushi bar. Check out their beautiful new building in Boone! Call (828) 264-7976.

Moonshine Café & Lounge

Located on Water St. in Boone, the Moonshine Café & Lounge features great international cuisine, patio and porch dining, and occasional live music by some of the great acoustic bands of the area. Always an experience to cherish, this is the new place folks are talking about. (828) 262-5000.


Located on King Street in downtown Boone, Murphy’s has been a tradition for folks looking for late night fun for over 15 years. The bar features big screen and other televisions for the latest sports, video games and live music just about every night. The game room has four full size pool tables, jukebox, and regulation size shuffleboard. Look for live music on the deck during Friday afternoons! Call (828) 264-5117.

Blowing Rock

Bistro Roca

Antler’s Bar at Bistro Roca Restaurant in Blowing Rock is a name that many longtime residents and visitors are familiar with. Unlike the Antlers of old, this bar is cozy and upscale with all ABC permits and occasional live music. It also features a large flat-screen TV for sports viewing. Open until midnight. For more information, call (828) 295-4008.

Canyons of the Blue Ridge

Featuring one of the most spectacular views you’ll see in the High Country, Canyons is located just south of downtown Blowing Rock on Hwy 321. The nightlife is always terrific and you can enjoy free live music by some of the best in regional and touring acts four nights a week.

Banner Elk

Bayou Smokehouse & Grill

Located in the Center of the Village Shops in downtown Banner Elk, the Bayou Smokehouse & Grille specializes in Texas and Louisiana cuisine including the tastiest ribs this side of the Mississippi River. Open late on Friday and Saturday, the fully stocked bar features a pool table and video games. Look for live music this summer. Call (828) 898-8952.

The Blackboard Restaurant

Gourmet cuisine is what brings folks to the Blackboard Restaurant in Banner Elk. Live entertainment is what keeps them there after they’ve devoured the last crumb on their plate. The restaurant, located in The Great Train Robbery, features live music Thursday through Sunday. Reservations are suggested. Call (828) 898-2321.

The Corner Palate

A Banner Elk institution for years, the Corner Palate is known for its friendly atmosphere, covered deck and convenient downtown Banner Elk location. Open until 2 a.m., the bar plans to have frequent live music this summer and also features sports on TV plus a pool table. Try the Sunday brunch with live music and Bloody Mary Bar. The sushi is a must. Call (828) 898-8668.

Jackalope’s View

Jackalope’s View at Archer’s Inn provides intimate dining and plenty of fun. The wine list has been voted “One of the 200 Best” by Wine Spectator Magazine and Jackalope’s also features outside dining and live music upstairs. Call (828) 898-9004.

Louisiana Purchase

Featuring over 20 wines by the glass and one of the only Cruvinets in the High Country, Louisiana Purchase is one of those places where romantic memories are made. Join the friendly mix of locals and visitors at the upstairs bar for drinks and mingling. And don’t forget about the live jazz! Call (828) 5656.

The Mountain Tavern & Grille

Located on Hwy 105 in front of the Lowes Foods Shopping Plaza, the Mountain Tavern & Grille opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The fully-stocked bar features TVs and a casual yet classy atmosphere. The restaurant hosts special wine dinners twice a month during the summer. Look for occasional live music on the weekend. Call (828) 898-8887.

Nick’s Restaurant & Pub

Located at the Shoppes of Tynecastle on the corner of Hwy 105 and Tynecastle Hwy, Nick’s is open seven days a week and features smoking and non-smoking dining areas. Entertainment at Nicks includes live music, karaoke, and plenty of big screen plasma televisions for your favorite sports action. The bar features all ABC permits. Call (828)898-9613.

Club Z at Zuzda

Zuzda Tapas Restaurant and Club Z Bar are Banner Elk’s newest offerings for nightlife. The restaurant features a huge selection of appetizers and the bar has all ABC permits. Club Z is a “Miami-style” upscale nightclub featuring live jazz and dance music. Look for martini and cigar night specials. Live entertainment starts at 7 p.m. and club night entertainment starts between 9 and 10 p.m. For more information, call (828) 898-4166.


Foscoe Family Billiards

Just the idea of a smoke-free, alcohol-free pool parlor is enticing for family fun. Add to that the vintage and new video games, jukebox, big screen televisions and one of the best hamburgers in the High Country, and you have a recipe for a great time. (828) 963-6260.

Other High Country Locales

The Dawg Star Bar at Sirius

Now in its second full season, the Dawg Star Bar at Sirius Restaurant is located on Shulls Mill Road one-half mile past Poplar Grove Road. The establishment hosts live music events and is always ready to cater special parties and receptions. Call (828) 963-6646.

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