In the Spotlight: Foundation Bar

In the Spotlight: Foundation Bar

Peach Crush

July, 07, 2009, by Christian

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For the inaugural edition of a new feature series In the Spotlight, designed to highlight local destinations that stand out among the crowd, I decided to shine the spotlight on Foundation Bar because of their inventive seasonal cocktails, commitment to North Carolina draft beers, stunning architectural design, and of course, their new Summer drink menu. The history and story behind Foundation has been well-documented by New Raleigh in previous articles so I won’t dwell on those details again here. But I did recently sit down with Foundation’s owners and head bartender, Drew, to sample several drinks from the new menu and can say without hesitation that these are the best cocktails I have ever tasted. There is even a “recession proof” menu featuring a broad selection of $5 cocktails on Sunday nights. Foundation does not publish their drink menu online (or anything else besides basic contact info for that matter) so that each patron may enjoy the “Foundation experience” without any preconceptions. Thankfully they were generous enough to allow me to share some pictures:

Whiskey Sour
This is a classic cocktail, skillfully prepared, and featured on the $5 “recession proof” menu Sunday nights.

Cucumber and Vine
You can really taste the essence of cucumber and mint in this light and effervescent Gin cocktail.

Peach Crush
Intense peach flavor without any pulp. Cruzan rum. It wouldn’t be summer without fresh local peaches.

Rum Old Fashioned
Bold twist on another all-time favorite cocktail.

Basil Smash
Aromatic, herbal cocktail with Bourbon and lemon. Simply delicious.

A recycled photo that provides the view from the inside stairway leading back up to Fayetteville Street. The exposed pipework and steel beams, raw stone and brick walls, and glossy wooden bar and tables combine to exude a natural yet hip vibe.

If you prefer a more primitive libation, choose your favorite spirit from Foundation’s extensive list and mix one of their homemade colas or tonic water. Even the ice cubes get special attention at Foundation: perfectly cubical and super dense so as to best combat melting. Beer from Highland, Duck Rabbit, and French Broad, among others, round out the all-NC draft list. Wines are preserved from the elements in state of the art wine dispensers. They even have two varieties of moonshine made right here in North Carolina (where else?) The art hanging on the walls is also North Carolina related, heck even the tables and chairs were custom made by the owners, who both are involved in the architecture and design fields. No other bar in Raleigh pays this much attention to every minor detail, and Foundation manages to do so by utilizing local products produced in-state. For all these reasons and more Foundation is worthy of repeated recognition here on New Raleigh.

Know a place you feel is worthy of special attention in future In the Spotlight posts? It need not be located downtown as this series will seek to highlight the best that Raleigh has to offer, wherever that may be. Everything is fair game. I simply want to shine the spotlight on places that make Raleigh great. You can expect a new In the Spotlight every other week or so. You’re comments are welcome, as always.

See the Foundation {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.

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BeerBarsFayetteville StreetDowntownInside the BeltlineCocktailsBartenders


  • Marcus
    07/07 01:57 AM

    Great place.  The bartenders are as great as the drinks.  Drew runs a good show.

  • Todd H
    07/07 10:10 AM

    Quite the Bourbon selection too..Highly recommend!

  • BFSac
    07/07 12:07 PM

    One of my favorites in Raleigh.  Hope the Copperhead is still on the Summer menu.

  • Annette W
    07/07 01:14 PM

    Awesome!  Congrats Vince, Will, & Drew! I can’t wait to come in August for a few cocktails.

  • Critter
    07/07 02:21 PM

    Nice place. Was just there for the first time Sunday evening.

    Would have passed it right by had my mate not known where he was going.

  • GD
    07/07 02:36 PM

    Definitely my favorite bar in Raleigh.  Great place.  This is one of the places that I will be sure to visit each time I come back to Raleigh after I move at the end of the year.

  • David
    07/07 04:40 PM

    A heads up that off topic comments from users that are unwilling to use valid email addresses and like to impersonate many different people - will be removed.

  • Karen
    07/07 07:02 PM

    I hate to be the spoilsport, but I just can’t get into this place. The underground location and the fact that it’s standing room only whenever I go make me feel totally claustrophobic. But I am glad to see they have Highland on tap. Maybe I’ll give it another chance and sit at the street-level tables.

  • ChiefJoJo
    07/07 11:06 PM

    I love basement bars!  Foundation is a great addition to the growing downtown & Fayetteville St scene.

  • adam
    07/08 12:17 AM

    what is it with hyperbole and newraleigh? stunning architecture? the place is a cave below fayetteville street with quite dim lighting.

    that said, delicious, albeit pricey cocktails.

  • Micah
    07/08 10:28 AM

    I have to second Karen.  I have been three or four times, and only one time was that enjoyable because we went on a Wednesday night and it wasn’t packed.  One time we went and couldn’t get in because they were at capacity.  It just gets too crowded down there.

  • rdugirl
    07/08 12:37 PM

    Seems like the secret is out..the foundation is by far the best bar in Raleigh for a cocktail. Only place in town you get a killer Moscow Mule.

  • Betsy
    07/08 02:14 PM

    I like that they are totally dead serious about their mission as a bar.  In a culture overwhelmed by the half-assed and provisional, there is nothing sloppy or ironic about this place.

  • messocollards
    07/08 03:57 PM

    Best bar- hands down.  Like Betsy said, I love their focus, and I appreciate that they feature regional brews and wine, and only American spirits.

  • Clyde
    07/08 04:10 PM

    Great place and enjoyable drinks!  Only drawback is the Thurs, Fri, Sat crowds that supersaturate places that are chic in Raleigh.  Go on a Sunday thru Wednesday night and have a great midweek cocktail!

  • daisy123
    07/09 12:51 AM

    I love the place too, but for goodness sake, break down and get a 21st century cola, tonic and general selection of mixers.  The bourbon selection is killer, but old school cola blows with bourbon.

  • old social worker
    07/14 02:47 PM

    Wife and I went early Saturday evening. Not too crowded, comfy rustic decor, best whiskey sour of my life.

  • Jason
    07/31 08:26 AM

    Agreed, daisy—the cola was absolutely undrinkable.  Everyone in our party and others at the table next to us agreed on that.  The waiter seemed genuinely surprised when we told him.

    But I love the location and the ambience.  Stick to beer, and it’s a great place!

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