Olive walls flank White Rabbit Brewing Company's taproom, a simple space with a polished wooden bar and a tabletop supported by kegs instead of traditional human legs. On Friday and Saturday evenings, bartenders pour pints and four-ounce samples of the brewery's ales and lagers, which borrow their titles and labels from Alice in Wonderland characters. There's the Double Trouble Belgian Dubbel, a malty, medium-bodied brew, and the Cheshire's Pumpkin Ale, a spiced, light-bodied brew with an "almost cidery" mouthfeel, according to the brewers.
Railhouse Brewery founders Mike Ratkowski and Brian Evitts both did stints in the armed forces before they met while working the same job. The two shared an interest in the effervescent qualities of a good beer, and in 2009, they turned that passion into a business. Brian, a homebrewer for 20 years, oversees the production of the company's five main beers—oatmeal stout, brown ale, pale ale, honey wheat, and barley wine—and Mike handles operations, sales, and the number of bottles of beer on the wall. Together, they help bring Railhouse brews to 14 restaurants and bars in the Sandhills.
The Railhouse Brewery also frequently hosts concerts and festivals, and holds cornhole tournaments every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, check out the event page or send a pack of investigative hops to visit the brewery.
Executive Chef Doug Triolo takes a modern approach with each dish on his menu to foster an open, contemporary environment at Graffiti’s Bistro. Medallions of pork tenderloins are stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon to complement the citrus sweetness of an orange marmalade. The chefs temper the spicy kick of blackened tilapia with a Grand Marnier sauce and rub filet mignon with traditional Montreal spices. Diners get in on the experimentation by customizing gourmet burgers with eclectic toppings such as coleslaw, applewood bacon, and bermuda onions. In the bistro’s dining rooms, dark wood accents create an elegant atmosphere complemented by cabinets filled with wine bottles and a marble-plated fireplace. On the weekends, local musicians strum guitars and shatter priceless vases to the beats of Motown and contemporary rock, which can be heard on the outdoor patio as patrons dine underneath oversize umbrellas.
At an hour when many bars and restaurants are busy closing up shop, Dream Nightclub lights up as a beacon to nocturnal wanderers from across the city. Custom-designed graffiti murals, pulsing LED lights, and energetic dance beats greet patrons as soon as they enter the after-dark dancehall and performance venue. The 5,000-square-foot club features ample lounge seating for bottle service or dramatically lit staring contests, as well as two bars and a full-service kitchen that churns out plates laden with chicken wings and french fries as late as 2:30 a.m. on most nights. A QSC sound system floods the dance floor with Latin, techno, or hip-hop tunes depending on the day, although the club also hosts occasional DJ sets and regular jazz-band performances.
Squire's Pub attracts patrons with British-style fare and a distinctive pub atmosphere, both of which have helped it win several of The Pilot's Best of Moore County awards, including the All-Around Restaurant and Burger categories. The Squire Pub's owners honor their English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish ancestry with authentic artifacts and antiques throughout the establishment, including a 1719 map of Kent, photos of Trafalgar Square, and William Shakespeare's cherished childhood Nintendo. The stained glass, mirrors, and dark woods of the interior take eyes on a historical journey as patrons sip on cold pints of beer, and hanging dartboards, backgammon, and cribbage games are available from the barkeep to keep hands busy.