Raleigh, N.C. — For Whiskey Kitchen owners Jeff Mickel and Mike Thor, the road to opening one of the most anticipated new restaurants and bars in Raleigh has been rough to say the least. Although most restaurants undergo the usual hang-ups, Whiskey Kitchen’s opening was further postponed after Thor was in a motorcycle accident at the end of last year, which resulted in a severe spinal cord injury.
Since that time, Thor has been in Atlanta receiving treatment. Despite it all, Whiskey Kitchen opened its doors last night to a full house of supporters.
The space is located at 201 W. Martin Street in downtown Raleigh on Nash Square. You enter the building on the Nash Square side after walking through a patio with long tables, strung lights and wood details.
Next to a garage door that connects the indoor space to the patio reads a hand painted sign, “One part neighborhood bar. One part Southern kitchen.”
The patio, with its plentiful seating, is intended to make the “neighborhood bar” piece a reality. On warm nights, the garage door will open, creating a seamless flow into the dining room.
The inside space is much lighter than you would expect from a typical whiskey bar. Although we often associate a dark space and deep oaks with this type of bar, Whiskey Kitchen brings a unique industrial feel coupled with a comfortable Southern flair. A hand painted mural stretches across the back of the bar, further brightening the space. Inside, you will find a number of different seating options. You can choose the large tables in the center of the dining room, a seat at the bar or a big comfy couch in the lounge area tucked away in a corner.
As a whiskey bar, the main focus is, of course, on whiskey. With a menu 18 pages long, there is no shortage of options. The bar stocks a huge variety, including Bourbon, Canadian Whiskey, Scotch, Rye Whiskey and even a Japanese Whiskey.
Classic whiskey cocktails, like a Manhattan and Old Fashioned, are also on the menu.
No worries if you are not a fan of whiskey - the bar features a rotating draft list along with wine and other cocktails.
The menu is designed to compliment the bar, as most of the menu items have a smoky undertone to pair well with the whiskey. The full menu has not been released, but you can find a few staples on the tasting menu, including the lamb burger topped with a cheese blend and fresh aioli and the cracklin’ biscuits, which are made fresh to order.
For dessert, look no further than the smoked peach ice cream sandwich. The peaches are smoked in-house and the cookies are made from scratch.
Whiskey Kitchen is open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Lindsay A. Underwood is a blogger at WelcometoRaleighwood.wordpress.com.