Carmel is a nice spot downtown. It's embedded into the edge of the Grove Arcade and has a few really nice tables. If you can get something with a view in the winter, you'll have a good time enjoying the people watching up and down the street. Nice wine selection and knowledgeable wait staff. I went to dinner with a vegan and the waiter was able to work with the kitchen to scratch up a really nice little dinner.
Take 5 offers a broad view of what is going on in and around Asheville. However, most of the reviews are unoriginal, and some of the stuff is just blatant pandering to locals. Good round-up, though, of what's going on.
Lots of TVs and nightly specials are the draw here. Call first and check on the special. The food is pretty good (for pub food) and the atmosphere is fine.
Root Bar Number One has one of the best games in town - Root Ball! Go down and learn the game. It's a lot of fun. Kind of a mix of horse shoes and bocce ball, on sand.
This is a popular place for Charlotte St. area locals. Good pub food and a nice big-screen t.v. Good place to share a pitcher of beer with a friend and play a game of pool.
When you think of smoky bar, you are imagining Broadway's. They've got a groovy juke box and interesting Lexington Ave. Rockabilly types. Expect hair gel and white t-shirts.
While it's not usually the first place I look when I go downtown, there is an occasional reason to head to Tressa's. The nice part is that they are right on the street so you can look in and see what's going on.
Usually it's pretty crowded and the music has never been that great. It's one of a couple of places to go for karaoke in town. Because it's downtown, it usually has a younger crowd.
After 10 PM this little joint can get pretty Western. Maybe it's the music, the layout, the mix of people or maybe the name "college" but this joint seems to always bring the crazies out to swing.
This is a race-fans bar. Adult crowd (not college types like downtown) and several pool tables. This is a good place to watch a football game or NASCAR race. Full-bar and great chicken wings (Try the Earl's Sauce!).