The STANDARD H Travel pages are our version of city guides presented by our founder, Wesley Smith. These are places he's traveled, enjoyed, and recommends, so they're all vetted and what we refer to as STANDARD H verified. These lists will evolve, so check back often and travel safe!
I lived in Asheville for two years while attending high school, and even though it's grown a ton, it still hasn't lost its charm - thank God. In another ten years, it will for sure continue on its upward and outward growth to continue feeling like the East Coast's Portland, Oregon, but it could be worse. The beer scene is insane while the outdoor activities are still present in spades. I love Asheville.
168 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
One of the most pleasant experiences I've ever had at a doughnut shop. This place is apparently huge with Japanese tourists, so you know it's good. We tried one of each of the four made to order doughnuts offered that day and all were so, so good. Granted their original glazed may still be my favorite, but that's great news as it'll always be there. The staff is incredibly warm as in they will most likely greet you by your first name by the third time you go there. SO great.
12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
Up until 2008, Tupelo Honey was Asheville's secret. Now with nearly 20 locations, it's no less good, it's just more available. They have one of my favorite Chicken & Waffles offerings of anywhere in the United States (Roscoe's no need to apply), and even their own roasted coffee is good! I always drink coffee black, so I feel the comparisons are far more fair than if I were to put cream and sugar in it.
Battery Park Book Exchange
1 Page Ave #101, Asheville, NC 28801
Located on a corner and perfect for a pre-dinner charcuterie board, their extensive wine list was impressive. Though many go for the bubbles, it was an absolute bonus that Battery Park offers my favorite rose from Willamette Valley made by Stoller. My wife and I even tried to go back it was so good, but sadly it was closed that day.
400 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
I received several inquiries when posting a photo of the steak tartare from the Admiral, and the taste exceeded any perception of flavor in the photo. My wife and I stopped here for a quick happy hour with a couple small plates. The tartare was the star, hands down. Topped with a 60-degree Celcius egg (which changes the consistency of the yolk allowing it to far better bind to the ingredients), this is in my top 5 tartare's that I've had. The old fashioned was delicious, as well.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza
50 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801
This is what I like to call American Pizza because it shouldn't be compared to anything from Italy. I kind of feel like everyone has a version of not-the-best-but-not-the-worst pizza they grew up on, and that is exactly what Mellow Mushroom represents for me. With several locations in NC, I always enjoy a pie and some beers with friends &/or family when in my home state. They always have outdoor seating and with a trippy, Grateful Dead vibe, the servers always seem to be in a good mood. Imagine that.
Old Europe Pastries
13 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801
Thankfully open fairly late, Old Europe offers cakes and deserts that will more than likely exceed whatever the restaurant you're dining in offers. Famous for their Tiramisu and their French Creamy, my wife and I ended up trying 4 different desserts - all were great. I will say, however, the Tiramisu takes the cake.
Pick a brewery, any brewery, and you're bound to taste something you love. Asheville has been expanding their beer scene over the last 10 years to an impressive collection of mostly IPA-centric breweries. If you're a lager person, this isn't your town. And because there are so many breweries, here's a list of my favorites.
Wedge Brewing Company
37 Paynes Way, Asheville, NC 28801
This place has perhaps my favorite Pale Ale I've ever had. It's called the Payne's Pale Ale. It's in my top two at worst. It's a very open air format with many picnic tables under an awning and has a few unique stores beside it. Just down the street within a mile are tons of galleries as it's in the heart of the River Arts District.
Wicked Weed Brewing Pub
91 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
I thoroughly enjoy Wicked Weed - arguably one of the better-known brewers in the area. They have 25 beers to their label including the deliciously smooth Pernicious IPA. Sit out front on their patio, inside in the bar area/dining room, or head downstairs into their beer garden. They have bar service downstairs, as well, so know that if the bar when you walk in is hoppin'.
Essentially "behind" Wicked Weed is Bhramari, and if it weren't for us being in somewhat of a rush, I would've tried more beers...however, I ordered the Hecka Gnar IPA and it was delicious. Bhramari also serves some tasty fries with cajun seasoning, so if you want a great IPA and Bojangle's level cajun fries, this is the place for you.
Innovation Brewing Company
414 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779
If you're out hiking in Pisgah National Forest, you may want to head towards Sylva on your way back to stop at Innovation. Their Soulvation Tropical IPA is a beer I'd stand up against many other IPAs, hands down. If you don't have the time to get there, stop by Mellow Mushroom Pizza, grab a delicious pie and get a Soulvation there.
Green Man Brewery
27 Buxton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Located in the South Slope area of Asheville, this is somewhat of a hub for breweries. There are no fewer than 5 in the immediate area, but Green Man's English style IPA hits the spot for me. People rave about Burial Brewing, but Innovation and Green Man have my IPA vote.
Pisgah Brewing Company
2948 US-70, Black Mountain, NC 28711
40 minutes or so east of downtown Asheville is Pisgah Brewing. Their Pale Ale is fairly easy to find in stores in the area but extremely difficult to find in California. I love their Pale Ale, but their other beers are quite good as well if you have the time for the commute.
197 Hilliard Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Also located in the South Slope, I thoroughly enjoyed the lager here. Perhaps due in part to hardly any other brewery offering a lager, but I'm not convinced that's the reason. It's just good, and on a surprisingly warm Fall day, sometimes a lager is the go-to move. Hi-Wire doesn't disappoint.
Sierra Nevada Brewing
100 Sierra Nevada Way, Fletcher, NC 28732
Though obviously a well known brewery in Chico, California, Sierra Nevada opened this adult Disneyland of a facility in 2015. Replete with a beautiful garden and outdoor amphitheater, beer lovers could easily spend all day here. Tours are available, and the food looked great, though we were here for a couple of drinks post-John Rock Hike. Also cool, just outside of the entrance to Sierra Nevada is Riveter, a bike park with an indoor climbing gym next to it.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Over 100 years old, the Grove Park Inn is an absolute Asheville staple. If you're staying in the main building, the elevators are slow and are operated by an attendant. The rooms are small and the aesthetics are old, but in such a warm way. The bathrooms are tiled with small white tiles often seen at the old drug store counters, and I just love it. I love this place in the Fall/Winter as they have two huge fireplaces in the lobby. If you time it right, you can score a chair right in front and settle in with either a nice red wine or an Old Fashioned. The golf course plays short, the conditions are country club quality while the vistas are priceless. Speaking of views, I'd highly recommend sitting outside on their patio for lunch where their Lobster Cob Salad has existed on their menu for over 30 years with good reason. There is also an ideal spot to wind down with a happy hour cocktail or beer before dinner. Side note: though it may feel removed from town (a good thing) it's only 20-25 minutes to the airport and only 10 minutes to get to 95% of what you'd want to do in the immediate Asheville area (barring some of the breweries listed above).