#159 of 109 Asheville Things To Do

Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge

Enjoy a Favorite Local Hangout at the Rankin Vault
Written by: Jasmin Diaz
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Whether you want to sit at the beautiful walnut bar or would rather enjoy its pleasant outdoor patio dining, the Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge in Asheville, NC, is a must-visit establishment. This local favorite is a great place to hang out and enjoy a drink or some delicious award-winning dishes. 

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Situated within the Imperial Life Insurance Building near Rankin Avenue on the corner of College Street in Asheville, NC, is the locally owned and operated Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge. Opening its doors for the first time in July 2008, the Vault quickly became a favorite local hangout thanks to its cutting-edge approach to its cocktail menu that proudly features fresh and unique ingredients.

The Vault’s drink list rotates seasonally, ensuring only the freshest drinks and most unique concoctions. They are well known and beloved for their Specialty Martinis as well as their house Margaritas. The food menu is also worth noting at the Vault as it features farm-fresh, local products, including hormone-free meat, as well as a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and nachos. However, the award-winning guest-favorite Vault Burger is one of their must-try items to be sure.

The Rankin Vault proudly took home the title for Best Burger in Asheville when they won the WNC Battle of the Burger in 2012. They kept their title the following year and added the People’s Choice award as well at the 2015 Battle of the Burger. The Vault has continued to claim its People’s Choice Award title as the Best Burger by winning again in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The Vault is so named thanks to the building’s origin being a bank vault built by Mosler Safe Company. Today, the Vault features a custom walnut bar and offers both bar and patio seating where you can enjoy food, local beer, custom cocktails, and more, nightly. The location is the perfect spot for either a few friends to grab a drink or to host a group!

The overall atmosphere of the Vault is casual and comfortable. Their counter-service style restaurant and bar is specifically designed for the 21+ crowd after dark. Guests state that the Vault staff is super friendly and mention the location of the bar as being extremely convenient as it is near Historic Downtown Asheville.

When visiting the Rankin Vault, you have to make sure and try some of the guest favorite and award-winning choices listed below:

The Vault Burger
When visiting the Vault, trying their specialty burger, which is voted Asheville’s best, is a must. The beef is locally sourced from HNG Farm and the burger is served with white cheddar, bacon, red onion, arugula, and spicy mayo. All burgers are served with a side of either kettle chips, tater tots, or fingerling potatoes.

Bowl of Tots
Another often-mentioned item on the menu that you must try either on its own or with the award-winning burger is the bowl of tots served with spicy mayo. This makes a great snack to go with your drink if you aren’t that hungry but want a quick pick-me-up.

Thankfully, if you want to save calories for your drinks, there are some lighter options to enjoy at the Vault as well including Caesar and Arugula salads. The Caesar features hearts of romaine lettuce, croutons, romaine, and house-made Caesar dressing. The Arugula salad is served with baby arugula, onion, cucumber, carrot, walnuts, granny smith apple, avocado & house-made sherry vinaigrette.

Draft Beer
The Vault also features some of the best draft beers as well as those served in cans and bottles. Draft beer options include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hire-Wire Old North Lager, Pisgah Pale Ale, and more.

Signature Cocktails
Another must-try item is one of the featured Vault Lounge signature cocktails. Options include The Vault Bloody Mary served with Smimmoff-infused Pepper Vodka and Charleston Bloody Mary Mix. The Vault Old Fashioned served with Blanco Tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup, and lime juice

Insider Tips:
-The Vault features daily specials on drinks that change each day, ensuring that every day has something to offer every guest.
-The Rankin Vault features online ordering and pickup as well as delivery but does not take reservations.
-In addition to winning Asheville’s Best Burger, The Vault also placed 15th in the World Food Championships Burger Competition.