5 Raleigh Bars + Restaurants With Unique Sake Offerings

Looking to switch up your next drinking sesh? As one of the oldest and most consumed alcoholic beverages a la Japan, sake is having a moment—and we are here for it, ya know, for the sake of it (see what we did there…). Here’s where you can sip—or grab a juice box!—around town.

Aunty Betty’s Gin & Absinthe Bar

Sake by the juice box? Yes, please! In addition to a stellar gin, vermouth and absinthe collection, this hidden Morgan Street Food Hall gem also boasts a Lucky Dog Sake juice box. … But don’t be fooled by the packaging. This light sake with hints of ripe apple and honeydew melon is not too sweet, nor too dry, and packed with plenty of flavor—and, of course, character. Why should kids have all the fun?!

Waraji Sake & Sushi Bar

Waraji is home to the largest selection of sake on the East Coast, with 100+ varieties from which to choose. Order it hot or sparkling, go for the lightly filtered sake, or sip on one brewed with traditional Japanese techniques. Can’t choose? Opt for the sake flight to taste your way through all the ops. Additionally, each month, the chef handpicks four sakes that differ in both taste and style—so you’ll always get to experience something new.

Heirloom Brewshop

This aesthetically pleasing modern Laotian and Taiwanese restaurant boasts a sake menu that reads like a four-star wine list, with intriguing names that are guaranteed to pull you in—think Golden Treasure, Dancing Gold Flakes, Drunken Whale and more. Pair your sake pick with one of Heirloom’s delicious Asian-inspired dishes to elevate your next happy hour.

David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar

At this longtime Hillsborough Street resto, sake stars in a variety of tasty sake cocktails—see the Fizzy Apple (Fuji apple sake with Moscato d’Asti), Sunset Jewel (Living Jewel sake, blood orange syrup and lemonade) and Blood Orange Sunrise (pear sake and orange juice with blood orange syrup and cherry juice). David’s also carries a robust list of standard sakes and sake flights—NTM those stellar dumplings that make great pairings. 

Pink Boot

It might seem odd that Jason Howard’s country music-blaring honky-tonk would have sake on its menu—and well, it sort of is. But, still—don’t sleep on it. If you’re not feeling a beer, shooter or cocktail, go for a shot of cold or hot sake (pro tip: Add a flavor to the hot sake to jazz things up!).

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.