Rally for Raleigh, North Carolina

Customers stop into Fox Liquor as soon as it opens every afternoon.

In the South, cities tend to expand outward instead of upward. Raleigh surely fell victim to that trend. In the past few years, however, the capital city of North Carolina has seen a welcomed and vibrant rebirth in food and arts culture. Raleigh’s go-to destinations now encompass the areas around the capital building. Fayetteville, Salisbury and Wilmington streets now boast the coolest destinations and tend to be jam-packed full of patrons night after night.

With the influx of new restaurants, a new light has been shed on age-old standards. Mo’s Diner isn’t a diner at all, but a house converted into a high-end and down-home restaurant with service in each of its three dining rooms. Despite the new taste for the gourmet, the surrounding area still offers plenty of inexpensive options. The Mecca Restaurant is a third-generation, family-run mainstay, open since 1930 and serving Southern cooking late into the night. And for a real bargain, head down to Cooper’s BBQ for a local lunch counter experience and a barbecue that has been ranked as one of the top in the country. 

When it comes to bars, Raleigh’s scene is mainly underground — literally. The Foundation Lounge is subterranean, featuring unheard of concoctions and an unmatched selection of whiskeys. For a louder and grittier experience, head to Neptune, whose basement bar features classic arcade games and rock deejays.

Restaurant rebirth

Spearheading the downtown restaurant rebirth is chef/owner Ashley Christensen, who began by revamping Poole’s Diner in 2007. Featuring an ever-changing menu of locally-grown ingredients, this “diner” takes no reservations, has a line out the door and quickly became the standard and redefinition of local flavor. Just last year, Christensen opened three new establishments, all right next to each other on S. Wilmington Street. Beasley’s Chicken + Honey is a sleek chicken and waffles spot. Chuck is a meaty cafeteria-styled restaurant. And Fox Liquor raises the bar on cocktails and mixology in the South. Many of the spirits and cocktails featured were previously unavailable and unheard of down in the area.

If you go

Poole’s Diner
426 S. McDowell St.
Beasley’s Chicken + Honey
237 S. Wilmington St.
237 S. Wilmington St.

Fox Liquor
237 S. Wilmington St.
Mo’s Diner
306 E. Hargett St.
The Mecca Restaurant
13 E. Martin St.

Cooper’s BBQ
109 E. Davie St.
Foundation Lounge

213 Fayetteville St.
14 W. Martin St.

The roots of a cool fest

Raleigh also has grown exponentially in terms of entertainment. New venues have sprouted up and all participate in the yearly Hopscotch Festival. Currently in its third year, national and international acts now join the regional talent that the Hopscotch festival prides itself on. Much like South by Southwest in its infancy, Hopscotch could become the Southeast’s hottest ticket. This year Yo La Tengo, The Roots and The Jesus and Mary Chain headline the festival, while more than 175 other bands fill out the three-day, 15-venue festival. Visit www.hopscotchmusicfest.com for info.


Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.


Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.


Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…


U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…


Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.


Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…