For years after the Fayetteville Street revitalization, most of the bars and restaurants that opened were focused on putting craft beers in front of Downtown Raleigh residents and patrons. But, in the past few years, this trend has seemingly shifted towards crafted cocktails. From Foundation, Fai Thai, (which served great cocktails in their few months open) to Capital Club 16, Neptune's Parlour, Poole's Diner and now Fox's Liquor Bar, cocktails have become a larger focus of the downtown crowd's drinking habits.
Behind each of these bars is an owner or bartender that is constantly tweaking recipes and creating new combination based on drink trends, new ingredients, seasons and more. Cheetie Kumar, the co-owner of Neptune's Parlour, Kings Barcade and the upcoming Garland Restaurant on Martin Street is one of the best at this drink detailing in downtown. Kumar's constant attention to detail in each of her cocktails has made the drinks at Neptune's as much of a hit as the video games and the late night dance parties that have become staples of the underground den. As Fall arrives, Kumar has crafted a new cocktail menu (which includes an autumnal sagria, honeycrisp apples and pickled figs) to usher in the chilly weather. (See full cocktail menu below)
Through talking with Kumar about her new drinks selection for the underground, we were able to talk a bit more about the street level venture that she has also been carefully crafting. We've talked a lot about The Garland in the past and have been waiting for the restuarant to fill the spot left vacant by the previous tenant Martin Street Pizza, which kinda had a bit of a meltdown. The crew are close to applying for building permits to do renovations to the dining room and the exterior of the building.
Kumar told New Raleigh that The Garland will "have a heavy Indian lean (but not exclusively Indian)" and will focus on "North Carolina, seasonal ingredients". The first phase will feature a walk-up window with portable eats and will be open late nights. The dining room and outdoor seating will follow shortly thereafter. It's exciting to see an Indian-inspired restaurant coming to the downtown grid (a gap that needs filling, even if Mantra did just open over off Glenwood South). As well, it's great to see a restaurant think outside of the Downtown Raleigh box and serve food through a sidewalk window as well as in a dining room. If only we could get a few more of these (pizza please?) in downtown.
Below is the new Fall drink menu down at Neptune's Parlour. All drinks are $8 except the beer based Golden Monkey which is $5.
Captain Applejack, Knob Creek bourbon, thyme syrup, Carpano Antica vermouth, orange bitters, Absinthe, Honeycrisp apple chip.
Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Tito’s vodka, Aperol, lemon, pickled fig and its brine
El Dorado 3 yr light rum, El Dorado 12 yr, Goslings dark, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, Orgeat, Demerera sugar
Sandeman’s Port, Hennessy Cognac, orange, egg white... basically an autumnal sangria
Return of King Nong
Plymouth gin, juice of local Scuppernongs, St. Germain, lemon, club soda
Leblon Cachaca, muddled grape tomatoes, lime, hot pepper and sugarcane syrup
Mother Earth Endless River Kolsch, Dolin red vermouth, lemon, Sidral Mundet apple soda, brandied cherry. On the rocks