A trip to Raleigh, North Carolina over Labor Day weekend 2017 landed me in a new brewery (among many that we tried that weekend) that I had never visited before. This brewery, my family member warned, was unlike any other. It was also a dim sum restaurant. And sold flowers. And had BOOKS (for sale and browsing). She knew it was a surprise I would love, and she was right. I really could not imagine a better combination of tastes, smells, and feels.
My senses were so overwhelmed that my family member had to call me back to reality. "Melanie," she encouraged while handing me the menu, "order a drink." I proceeded to read over the descriptions of wildly crafty cocktails when I saw the word "vermouth," and my eyes read no further. I love any concoction that incorporates the smoothness of vermouth, especially if fruit is involved. I decided on a gin and vermouth cocktail that finished with an orange twist. And while waiting on my drink, I gave myself permission to start at the perimeter of the brewery and work my way around it.
The books (over the flowers) called my name. I got lost in one (or two or three or four) books while waiting for family and friends to join me with our beverages. When they arrived, I had already acquainted myself with the various genres of the in-brewery library that consumed an entire wall standing between the brewery and the dim sum restaurant (everything is connected and flows together). They handed me my drink, which was delicious yet strong. While my beverage choice may be different next time, the mix of tasting a sweet vermouth, being surrounded by dear family and friends, and reading positive affirmations from the many self-care books lining the shelves reminded me that there are places in the world and times in life where you really can have it all.
While we did not have the opportunity to eat at this restaurant, taste the beer, or purchase any flowers, my favorite things about it were:
(1) The ambiance. The brightness (both natural light and warm light fixtures) of the space is both charming and inviting.
(2) The eclectic cocktail drink menu. The variety of pours is tempting -- I had a hard time making a decision to pick just one drink.
(3) The smells. The dim sum selections made me want to stay for dinner!
(4) The books. The books (for browsing) are categorized by genre and are in alphabetical order by author last name. The variety is also impressive. And, it's a great way to meet people in a more relaxed environment where talking out loud about shared interests via books is appropriate (versus a library or book store).
Overall, I would encourage any curious reader / cocktail connoisseur / Asian food consumer / flower enthusiast to check out this place for its character and entertainment value. There are many reasons to return to explore the food, beer, cocktails, books, and flower arrangements. In my view, it is the perfect multi-purpose downtown Raleigh stop, whether you happen to be out and about on a Saturday searching for a fresh bouquet of flowers, or enjoying a mid-afternoon date with a dear one. You won't be disappointed!
© 2017 Melanie Glover. All rights reserved.