Imagine you are thirsty. Very thirsty. You have the kind of thirst that can’t be quenched by a desert oasis, ice water with lemon, or even a cold Coke. It’s the kind of thirst that can be satisfied only by imbibing a delicious adult beverage in downtown Wilmington, NC.

Everyone knows cocktails taste better along the Cape Fear River. Cape Fear cocktails are historic, Southern, with a twist of movie lore. Let’s raise a glass to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, the Riverwalk, the cobblestones!

Here are a few of our favorite places to slake our thirst with a Cape Fear cocktail:

The George

It’s a beautiful day on the river…all that’s missing is you!

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The best seat in the house is out on the dining patio under an umbrella with a glass of Dom Perignon. But inside at the bar with a Pomegranate Tini is pretty good, too. Choose from a dozen martinis and a long wine list—if weather permits, outside overlooking the Cape Fear River.

Pilot House


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We love the Pilot House patio, but there’s a great bar inside when weather is inclement. Ask the bartender to shake up a cocktail like the Woodford Manhattan, Ocean Drive, or Carolina Tea. And the sunset view goes better with a Cape Fear Sunset Martini in your hand.

River Grille


Cruise the Cape Fear River on a Cape Fear Riverboat with a perfect adult beverage from the River Grill. Choose from the wide selection of beer or wine (there’s soda and water for the kids), and step right from the bar to the boat. If you’d rather imbibe dockside, there’s seating with a wide-open view of the Cape Fear. The ticket booth for cruises is on the Riverwalk too!

Le Catalan

Wine and water, sounds great to me. #riverwalk #ilm #wilmington

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A wine bar on the water, Le Catalan celebrates the Cape Fear River. Sip a glass of wine from the extensive list while you watch passersby, boats, and the sunset on the Riverwalk. The wine is the winner at this celebrated spot.

Riverboat Landing

There’s still plenty of warm sunny days left in this beautiful city! Get out here and book your balcony for dinner now!!!

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Sip up history on the banks of the Cape Fear River in a grand building dating back to 1857. There’s a long wooden bar with all adult beverages, but the best views are from the two-person private balconies overlooking downtown Wilmington and the river.

Caprice Bistro

Frenchie ??

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Enter Caprice and steer to the right, up the stairs to our favorite sofa bar, complete with French wines, delicious cocktails, a large bar menu, and the feeling you’ve stepped outside of time. Santé!

Reel Café

Need a rooftop bar from which to view Wilmington and the Cape Fear River? The Reel Café has it, along with a mixologist and a comprehensive list of beers and wines. Look for musicians performing on the outdoor patio.

Book Now! Book your cruise!