Nightlife Diaries: Landmark Tavern

Published Tue, Aug 28, 2012 08:00 AM
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Submitted by Red Rover — Correspondent

There are plenty of landmarks in downtown Raleigh but there's only one "landmark" where you can take a load off while you get, well, loaded.

Anchoring the East side of the Fayetteville Street District in the Heilig Levine Building on Hargett (between Wilmington and Blount) is Landmark Tavern — a lovable little off-the-beaten-path drink spot. No food, just right (since 2008), the true-to-form, unassuming pub nails the true neighborhood bar concept.

A nod to the Irish public house in look, concept and feel (think small pubs that dot Ireland, not Americanized Irish pubs), the bar is accented in beautiful woodwork and just has that homey feel. Quaint (capacity is less than 100), the pour house has a lived-in, warm west-euro appeal, without the kitsch of fiddles and sorostitutes dancing a drunken jig. Just an authentic wooden bar with a large outdoor beer garden/patio that lends itself as a local spot with a local feel. Like a modern day Cheers without the Sam and Diane subtext (as far as we can tell). But we can't promise no Norm. Jury's still out.

That's the thing about Landmark though. It's kitsch-free. The familiar blessing that spans their Facebook page "May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fallout" is about as big of an obvious nod to Irish pub-iness as you'll get. And once you go, you know it's more a nod to the friendly, easy vibe than to a soaked and sloppy drunk spot doling out shepherd's pie with a side of gimmick.

Landmark, true to its name, is distinctive. Authentic. Down to "The Landmark iPod" that's popular enough to get named, and Facebook shout outs. And the locals love it. It's never dead. But it's never obnoxiously crowded. It just feels like home. Except with stellar service and without the need to clean up your friend's beer bottles on a hangover the morning after.

If you want a beloved hipster haven, head to Times. If you wanna fiddle or two, Tir na nOg's your go-to. If you want a crafty cocktail a la big city trends, Foundation and Fox Liquor Bar will be happy to 'craft' one right up for you. And of course there are a handful of clubs to shake what your mama gave you.

But if you're looking for a chill spot to just kick it with your peeps, Landmark's where to park it. Not clubby. Not fussy. Not trendy. It just is.

RATING: 4 out of 4

Landmark Tavern

117 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

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Who is Red Rover?

I'm a late 20-something female living in and living up the Triangle since 2005. When I'm out, you can find me almost anywhere — pubs to clubs, lounges to music halls.

If you spot me, chances are I'm rocking some heels, though when the occasion arises I won't argue with something more comfortable. I'm no stranger to cocktails and wine, but a tall pint of local brew is where my compass usually points.

Where should I go next?
If you know a place that I should check out, tell me on Twitter @trianglerover.

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