Asheville, NC: Beauty & The Beer

Cross posted at The Next Great Generation

Paris of the South, San Francisco of the East, Beer City, and one of GMA’s Most Beautiful Places in America. Asheville is known for great beer, great food, a bustling live music and arts scene and an abundance of outdoor activities. The only “Blue” district in Western North Carolina, this is not your typical southern city.

Plenty of Beer

Asheville loves to put it’s money where it’s heart is, which has led to a huge selection of local options on almost every front. The downtown district has done an excellent job keeping corporate America out. It’s easy to go a week without stepping foot in a national chain. Around just about every corner, you will find local beer, food, art, music, and mountain views.

Ten local craft breweries offer a never-ending supply of draughts and you can find them on tap at almost any bar downtown. Local restaurants offer local and organic ingredients and vegetarian and vegan friendly establishments are the norm.  Whether it’s in a gallery downtown or a studio in the River Arts District, artists are everywhere. The music scene in Asheville continues to grow with a variety of venues, recording studios hosting chart topping artists, and the annual electronic festival Moogfest.

A Little Tough for the Young Profesh

With a laid back lifestyle, an economy dependent on tourism and a lack of professional opportunities, Asheville can be a hard place to find yourself as a young professional. Just as with the rest of the country, millennials are finding themselves in the hospitality and restaurant industries. Unfortunately, that means the off-season (mainly Winter) can be extremely rough on the piggy bank, especially if the establishment doesn’t have enough of a local draw to make it through.

Many of the local offerings have comparable price tags to national brands but it can still be hard to ball on a budget (on a local salary). Those accustomed to the prices of bigger cities will likely find the beers to be a steal and wonder how it’s possible to serve such a delicious meal at such a low price tag.  The average cover (if there is one) is $5 and the average local brew can be found for about the same. Of course there is always PBR for a respectable $2.

Unfortunately, due to the strict liquor laws in NC, many bars are forced to operate as “private clubs.” The law applies to bars that serve liquor and don’t receive 30% of their profits from food sales. For most bars, this means a $1-$5 lifetime membership fee where anyone is welcome, but some establishment discriminate against tourists with required wait time after joining.

It’s like Disneyland with Less Kids!

People you don’t know will smile and wave, you’ll be offered a sweet tea when you sit down to dine, and you can count on not being able to decipher at least one local’s accent. The city is full of transplants, accepting of all and becoming an ever more popular destination and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. So get here while the gettin’s good and before corporate America catches on to how much this small town’s got to offer.

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