What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Raleigh bourbon bar, scratch kitchen celebrates grand opening Saturday

Posted June 23, 2014
Updated June 24, 2014

A look at the cuisine at The Oak off of Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh. (Courtesy of The Oak)

— Oak barrels sit above a concrete bar hold aging bourbon. Those are the first of many barrels The Oak hopes to grow old with. 

This new scratch kitchen and bourbon bar is hoping to have a longer life than 618 Bistro, which previously occupied the space on Lake Boone Trail. 

Open for two months, this neighborhood bar is celebrating its grand opening Saturday with a cook-out. (Details on that below!)

Although it is from the same man who brought you Taste in Raleigh, Ryan Riek, the two restaurants are different. 

Riek said he envisions The Oak as a great neighborhood bar that also has great scratch made food. With 99 percent of the items scratch made - they can't make their own bread yet - Riek said they are hitting grocery stores every day to pick up essentials. And they are determined to buy as much locally as possible. That includes Heritage Farms pork, bacon and pork belly. Staff purchases what is available, so sometimes entrees like smoked salmon will run out. 

The menu is expected to shift every two months or so, Riek said. 

As for the bar, the bourbon barrels will be a main attraction. Riek is planning to display the larger ones prominently next to the bar.

Right now, smaller barrels are placed around the concrete bar. They hold a mid-grade bourbon being aged with a Tahitian vanilla bean - just one of the house-aged bourbons available now. There will be a second house bourbon without the vanilla tapped on Saturday. These house bourbons are being served alongside Maker's Mark, Blantons and 1792. The growing bourbon collection is expected to reach upwards of 30.

The idea to start a bourbon bar actually came from The Oak general manager Hali Haught. While talking with some friends, she discovered that it was a concept that was lacking in the industry. With a background in fine dining, Haught actually came to the Triangle from Chicago, just to start up The Oak with Riek. 

The Oak's Grand Opening Cookout includes a whole hog, burgers, hot dogs, chicken and a 16-foot buffet table of sides and desserts. Entertainment includes live music, face painting and a bounce house for the children. There will be a cash bar and they are planning to open their new house aged bourbon. Tickets are limited. You can get them at the restaurant or online. It is $15 a ticket for adults and children ages 12 and under eat for free with an adult ticket purchase. To sweeten the deal, if you mention that you found out about the party on WRAL's Out and About you can get your tickets for $10 each! 


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  • Fenway O'Donnell Jun 23, 2014
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    30 different bourbons? I will soon be at the bar. I love bourbon!

  • Phil Larson Jun 23, 2014
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    I think I was in Raleigh the couple times I've eaten at Taste, unless of course Cary covertly annexed the Dixie Trail area.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jun 23, 2014

    That steak looks just the way I like it, charred on the outside, red but warm in the middle, with just a bit of salt and pepper to enhance the taste, and nothing more. Yum!!!

  • davidgnews Jun 23, 2014

    The filet photo has to be from Taste. It's not even on the menu for The Oak.

  • Todd Jenkins Jun 23, 2014
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    That stuff looks like it's been cooked to death. Green beans are not even the right color and then the taters look like they've been roasted forever.