The Foundation – Subterranian Cocktails in Downtown Raleigh

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The Foundation is a relatively new bar that opened up on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh early last summer.  This unique bar is located in what was once the crawl space of an older building . The owners spent several months “digging out” the  crawl space space area to create enough living space to establish the bar. I beleive much of this excavation was done the old fashioned way, by hand.  The entrance to the bar is a set of stairs leading down from the street level sidewalk along Fayetteville Street. There is a small window on the wall facing the stairs that kind of reminds me of the window from the bar in Cheers were you can see a view of the ankles and knees of everyone coming and going.

The bar area itself is not huge but could comfortably fit between 40-50 people. The atmosphere is somewhat dark but at the same time inviting with a rich wood bar and exposed brick walls with a glimer of natural light coming in from the small windows by the stairs. They sell only NC beers and have various wines from NC, VA, and a few from Washington state. They have all kinds of bourbon and make some fantastice mixed drinks. The last time Iwas there I had a Sangria that included in its recipe some Junior Johnson moonshine.

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They don’t serve food so they are considered a “private club” but membership only costs $1 and you can bring any number of guests. The bar was smoke free even before the recent statewide ban, but I they do have a few tables outside up on the sidewalk level where smoking is allowed if that is your thing. To keep tabs on what they have on tap and any new arrivals or drink specials you can check out their facebook fan page for regular updates.  

I hear they can get pretty busy in the early evening when folks are just getting out of work from the nearby office buildings and they draw quite crowd on weekend nights as well. If you are checking it out for the first time I recommend dropping by early on the weekend when it is a  less likely to be busy so you can take in the subtleness of the design of the unique interior and strike up a converation with the friendly bartenders there. If you are lucky, they may even show you the earthen tunnel where they store the beer kegs to keep them cold. You can my other photos of the bar on flickr. Check it out!

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