Train station turned coffee shop and creperie, Arsagas at the Depot is the brunch and WiFi hotspot of downtown. Nestled just off the bike trail south of the Old Main lawn, Arsagas makes the top of the list due to its close proximity, great food, and the best drip coffee in town. Arsagas boasts "social mover" energy that melds business meetings, brunch, and a chill culture that will keep you there long after your meeting's adjourned. If you are bringing the "Rents" to town stop here and make sure someone orders the Brezenski.
2. Petra Cafe
If I catch myself eating lunch between 10:30am - 2:00pm there is a high chance you'll find me at Petra. This Jordanian gem lies just of the Square and offers Mediterranean cuisine that I could literally die for. Daily specials Monday - Friday and Turkish Coffee + Baklava (think sweet honey treat) and call it the best first date ever.
3. Smoke and Barrel
My favorite bar, hands down. That's right. The winner for more than seven solid years of way too much of my money (Thanks, Phil!) is Smoke and Barrel. S&B brings the right crowd, random ass music, and a staff that, Travi$ Scott might say, is "Upper Echelon". Besides having the best staff on Dickson, the "purveyors of fine Whiskey" have dollar beers every night, a huge outdoor patio, pool, and assorted music from DJs to folk and everything in between. Stop by, say hi, and tell them George sent you.
I normally can't stand a place that allows smoking inside. But Brewskis pulls it off. Full-service bar with more taps than anywhere on Dickson (think more than 70). Brewskis good vibes and even better music make it a popular stop for most all of the seasoned Fayettevillians. Check out the sale beer because it changes every night and most of the time it's the best drink special on the strip.
5. The Nines
With two locations near downtown (The Nines or The Nines Alley), the Nines melds classy dive bar and just enough light to thread the line between “friendly-laidback” and sensual “date-mosphere”. Select wine and beer for $5 a glass and damn good cocktails combined with candles, flowers, and cushions on the floor make this place both unique and appealing.
6. West Mountain
Two words: happy hour. 4-6pm means $2.50 beer and half off all of the house made brews. And did I mention local Tim's Razorback Pizza is attached?! This Fayetteville classic is located just off the square so is the perfect stop when in the area. West Mountain draws crowds of true Fayettevillians, university professors, the outdoor community, and many more. Give it a try!
Not only is Puritan attached to the coolest shop on Dickson (cough..cough.. Fayettechill Basecamp, obviously) but the owner, Kevin, makes this establishment feel truly out of the ordinary. With white brick walls, street art, and modern coffee shop flare, Puritan will keep you coming back. A rotating tap of about twenty craft brews supplemented with a full-service coffee bar, makes studying morph right into social hour without even trying. Get there before sunset as the patio overlooking Old Main is to die for.
8. Maxine's Tap Room
Dim. Darts. Daisies. Those were the first things that came mind when thinking of Maxine's Tap Room on Block St. Followed next by great snacks (popcorn & candied almonds) and the best cocktails in town. If you want a dive bar feel with some notable class then Maxine's will not disappoint. The crowd usually seems a bit more mature, drawing an array of local young professionals. If you are like me and tend towards frugality then check out their happy hour, pint options, and shots specials. P.S. Best Moscow mules in town.
9. Cork and Keg
Not many people would think of putting Cork and Keg on this list but I think it is a great fit. Located just off Skull Creek Trail the Cork and Keg has a great selection of pints and wines at reasonable prices. What makes them so special? Well, the crackers... I know you might think Fayetteville is full of them but hear me out. These saltines covered in some sort of parmesan cheese and sprinkled with just enough red pepper flakes will have your gorging on their flaky goodness all night. Rarely will you have to wait in line for a drink and the crowd is always laid back. Another reason the Cork and Keg made it on my list of favorite places? They have had "Whichever" labeled on their restroom doors long before it was the cool thing to do. Stop in, grab a beer, some crackers, and show them some love.
10. Dickson Street Book Store
Okay, while DSB doesn't fit into the food or drink theme, this Fayetteville gem should make it onto every top ten list ever. Located right on Dickson Street this used book store will have you lost in the bowels of its majesty for hours. A perfect spot to take a first date, best friend, or really anyone even if they don't read. The aisles seem to go on forever and once you thought you saw it all you will discover another nook filled with that lovely smell of aged paper. Need I say more?
Words by George Bieker | Photos by Rush Urschel + Heno Head
George Bieker is a Fayettechill athlete & an avid rock climber, mountain guide, and traveler. He is currently working for theAmerican Alpine Institute in Bellingham, WA. For more information or to follow his adventures visit georgebieker.com or@george_bieker.