I would like to start by making the embarrassing admission that we never got around to going to Raleigh Times (14 E Hargett St Raleigh, NC 27601) for the first 2 years that we lived here. I have no idea why as I had always heard great things about Raleigh Times, and I think I had been there at least once for a cup of coffee shortly after we arrived in Raleigh. However, it took my little sister coming to visit from Illinois in July for us to truly indulge in the awesome that is Raleigh Times.
Upon entering Raleigh Times on that fateful night in July, I was immediately struck by the fact that we were playing just the kind of somewhat pretentious indie rock I enjoy. The clientele of Raleigh Times is mostly college students as well as a good mix of other slightly older (yah I’m 30 ok?) hipsterish clientele. One thing I will say is what is with all the young Republican types hanging out at Raleigh Times? They just seemed so out of place in their little suits and ties and their random hip swinging attempts at dancing. Overall the thing I appreciate most is that I don’t really feel like I have to try to hard to feel comfortable at Raleigh Times.
As for the food, we have only really consumed appetizers at a time when we were trying to cushion ourselves from the alcohol we had just sucked down. They have a great beer selection and several very interesting cocktails, my favorite being the Dark and Stormy which is a mixture of rum and ginger beer. I made the mistake of drinking this a bit too fast the first time around and it hit me with a resounding wallop. I highly recommend the guacamole as it always has a fresh smooth taste and the pico de gallo that is on top adds a nice acidity to the avocado. I also love the barbecue pork nachos which are the ingenious combination of sweet vinigery barbecue to nachos cheese and jalapenos. I have also heard that the burgers there are great, so I’m almost definitely going to go there for just the food sometime.
The service there is always great and the waitstaff is always very attentive and helpful even when the bar is full and loud. It is also very refreshing to go to bar (I’m looking at you Flying Saucer) where the waitresses are not in tiny short skirts and low cut shirts. The bar itself has a cool retro feel as if it is modeled after the prohibition era speakeasies. The setup there includes a smoking bar, a non-smoking bar and a non-smoking dining area as well. Additionally there are a lot of seats outside for those warmer Raleigh months. I think this abundance of different spaces to chose from makes it very easy to find someplace you are comfortable in provided that you come at a time that are actually seats that are open.
Raleigh times is sure to be a place where you can sit back and have an interesting cocktail on a weekend or just enjoy the atmosphere with a cold brew and some bbq nachos.