#60 of 17 Asheville Restaurants

Little Jumbo

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Little Jumbo - The best new place for a cocktail in Asheville
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Simply put, Little Jumbo should be at the top of your list of places for cocktails in Asheville. The drinks and service are both top-notch, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a relaxed speakeasy, without a trace of the prevention that can sometimes be found in such places.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Residents of every neighborhood dream of having a place like Little Jumbo near them. Now, the denizens of Montford/Five Points in Asheville have a place with the relaxed familiarity of a great neighborhood bar combined with the sophistication and creative cocktails of a major city speakeasy.

However, this hot new bar isn’t just for residents of the immediate area. In just a few short months, Little Jumbo has become a drinking destination for Ashevillians throughout the city, as well as visitors looking to bask in the burgeoning cocktail culture of the area.

Great cocktail bars have to start with great cocktails, and indeed it is the area where Little jumbo shines the brightest. The establishment offers a curated list of 20 craft cocktails, all made with a combination of care, knowledge, and high-quality ingredients that makes for truly exceptional drinks.

Whatever style of cocktail you’re looking for, they are guaranteed to have something that will quench your thirst, whether you want a spirit-forward concoction perfect for sipping, or vibrant drink that’s lower in alcohol.

Some of the notable cocktails you’re likely to find on the list include:

  • Aperol Spritz—the Italian classic gets new life thanks to this fresh interpretation
  • Hello Friday— a riff on a traditional highball made with Angostura bitters, bourbon, and ginger ale
  • Inglorious—smoky mezcal and medicinal Jagermeister may sound like an odd combination, but this drink with herbs, honey, and a touch of salt is perfectly balanced
  • Fancy Screwdriver—it’s ok to pretend you’re in college again, because this grown-up version of many people’s first cocktail brings sophisticated flavors and just enough bite

The cocktails at Little Jumbo certainly steal the show, but you’ll find something to  sip on even if spirits aren’t your thing. The wine list is small, but offers worthy selections across several different varietals. There is also a standout bottled beer list, as well as a few selections on draft.

Memorable cocktail bars also need an atmosphere worthy of that moniker, and Little Jumbo delivers in spades. Many people hear the term speakeasy and instantly get nervous, stalled by notions of bartenders who are too cool for school and surroundings that look like they exist to get featured in design magazines, rather than provide a comfortable place for patrons to drink.

One look inside Little Jumbo should put your fears to rest. It has all the elements you look for in a relaxed neighborhood bar, with style touches that evoke the excitement of the prohibition era. It’s designed to make you feel like you’re in a place for those in the know, yet approachable enough for anyone to come in and enjoy a drink.

Lest you think it’s all about the drinks, Little Jumbo has a limited menu of small plates for you to nosh on as well. Most of the options are well thought-out and executed, such as local trout dip and crackers, house-made salt and pepper potato chips, and cheese and charcuterie boards. You definitely don’t have to go hungry while savoring your libations.

With inventive cocktails that pay homage to classic flavors, friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, and an atmosphere that will make you want to linger for hours, it’s clear that Little Jumbo is destined to be a mecca for imbibers in Asheville in the coming months and years. If you love creative drinks and thoughtful small plates, don’t wait to see what all the hype is about. Make Little Jumbo a priority the next time you have an evening out in Asheville.

Insider Tip:

  • If you want to impress your date or significant other, spring for the Manhattan service for two. Served on a silver tray and kept on ice with the proper accoutrements, it’s an elegant presentation of one of the most enduring cocktails in the world.