Minutes away from swanky Biltmore Estate is a friendly neighborhood bar, a welcome station for all who visit. THE BLOCK off Biltmore was opened by native North Carolinian Cam MacQueen, intended to be a quiet, comfortable place for community activists, organizers, musicians, artists, educators, scholars, progressives, students, and dreamers to gather. As an activist and organizer herself, MacQueen recognizes the importance of coming together to create a better world. In the case of THE BLOCK off Biltmore, that better world begins within it’s four walls and the people who congregate there.
In a world of cookie cutter pubs and restaurants, THE BLOCK off Biltmore is in a league of its own. And as Asheville’s only cruelty-free vegan bar, it is likely to be different than anyplace you have ever visited before. It’s part bar, part restaurant, and part community gathering. In short, it is an experience unto itself.
Whether you live in the area or are visiting for the first time, you are immediately welcomed into the establishment. You are free to sip a cool drink and people watch or take place in a discussion about social justice. You can meet new friends and/or take the opportunity to hear the thoughts of people unlike yourself.
From the brick exterior to the hardwood floors, oak bar, high ceilings, and large plate glass windows – the décor is as warm and welcoming as the staff. Ultimately though, the reason to visit any bar is for the drinks. THE BLOCK off Biltmore does not disappoint, although their drinks do come with a twist – they’re made and served in the most socially responsible way possible. For example:
- Gin and whiskey are made in a solar-powered distillery
- Cathead Vodka donates $1.00 for every bottle sold to a foundation that support live music and musicians
- Coffees are locally-roasted, shade-grown, and Free Trade
- Many wines –like Latue Blanco, St. Christopher Riesling, and Bellula Cabernet Sauvignon – are vegan
- Beers like Skull Camp – Jack’s Beard, Blind Squirrel – Belgian Tripel, and Unity Vibration Kombucha Beer are also vegan.
Fun fact: no matter which drink you decide on, THE BLOCK off Biltmore will “spiff it up” with locally crafted enhancements such as: chlorophyll, CBD + hemp extract, NOHM wildcrafted tinctures, and others. Be sure to ask your bartender for a recommendation.
The vegan snack bar is tasty and reasonably priced. Regular menu items include vegan tuna and chicken salads and chocolate chip cookies that will make you glad to be a vegan (at least for the day).
THE BLOCK’s pop-up Sunday vegan brunches have become quite popular, and the establishment’s online calendar announces which Sundays will feature brunch. They also announce who’s serving and what will be on the menu. Generally, they like to offer both savory and sweet menu options, meaning there’s usually something for everyone in your party.
-Be prepared for a political discussion, even if you did not ask for it. One recent customer commented on an unexpected debate with his waiter. The same patron says he would gladly visit the establishment again. Just remember, it’s discourse that’s encouraged, even if no one in the room agrees with you.
-Before you go, check for show times for the live music
-With non-alcoholic beverages that will satisfy, children are welcome at THE BLOCK off Biltmore.