10 Places to Visit in Wake Forest

Wake Forest, North Carolina.

A small town located just north of Raleigh with a history dating back to 1832. The original home to Wake Forest University now occupied by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Surrounded by parks and recreation centers such as Falls Lake and riddled with historical locations that take you back through history. Consisting of four historic districts; the local historic district along N. Main Street, the Glen Royall Mill Village Historic District, Downtown Wake Forest Historic District and the Wake Forest Historic District.

Over the years, Wake Forest has seen a boom and revitalization of sorts from the shops of White Street to the entertainment complex at the Factory and everything in between. Take a stroll down White Street and you’ll be greeted by antique stores, the famous Shorty’s Hot Dogs and a yoga studio that rewards you with wine: Unwined on White. You’ll also find a tea room/music hall promoting the arts: Sugar Magnolia Café and Magnolia Roots Lounge, Tonic cocktail bar and a tapas restaurant. Not to mention the first brewery to call Wake Forest home: White Street Brewing Company.

Here’s a look at 10 places we suggest you visit next time in Wake Forest.



White Street Brewing Company was the first brewery to come to Wake Forest back in 2012. There you can always find its Main Street Series: Kölsch, Hoptimist, Scottish, Emmalynn and Relaxession. They also have something different and new up on the board to try and once a year the brewery releases its Russian stout, Koschei the Deathless. Housed inside a former 1930s car dealership on the town’s main street, this brewery usually brings in locals throughout the week to enjoy a beer or two.

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If you’re looking for a place to experience a café/restaurant as well as an art emporium all in one place, you might want to check out Sugar Magnolia Café. The shop features over 35 artists and artisans you can peruse while waiting for your freshly prepared meals, which include hummus, chicken salad sandwiches and garden salads. You can also order up fresh coffee and tea.

Related Story: Sugar Magnolia Café: A 20-year dream becomes reality

As the evening sets in, and the weekdays come to an end, make your way downstairs to take in a band inside Magnolia Roots Music Lounge. If you’re a fan of genres such as bluegrass and country music, you’ll enjoy the long list of artists that sell out the basement each and every week.

Related Story: Magnolia Roots Music Lounge bring bluegrass, country fans to Wake Forest

Tonic Bar and Social Club on the left, and across the street, Unwined on White.

Tonic Bar and Social Club on the left, and across the street, Unwined on White.


All within steps of one another you can find many different libations other than beer to quench your thirst while walking down White Street. Step inside Tonic Bar and Social Club to find specialty, hand-crafted cocktails and weekly events such as $1 off Mule’s and Gin & Tonics, live music, wine specials and on Thursday nights, $1 off bartender’s choice. At Unwined on White, you can enjoy featured wines from around the world as well as first and third Friday tastings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Unwined also features a yoga studio – what’s better than getting to know your inner Zen and then enjoying a glass of Zinfandel?

Step inside Bodega Tapas, Wine and Rum for an eclectic range of small plates from around the world. Spice rubbed tuna, lamb ribs, grilled octopus and empanadas are just a few of the items on the menu. But we really love Bodega’s rum cocktails – they really hit the spot. Try the rum old fashioned, old Cuban, rum Al Pastor or the strawberry Caipirinha to cool you down on a hot Carolina afternoon.

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Wake Forest is also home to Wine & Beer 101 with its almost “Cheers” like atmosphere, which usually ends up being a happening place most Friday and Saturday nights. Store owner Joe O’Keefe has been catering the community for over 10 years now, and always has a nice selection of beers on draft, wine tastings throughout the week, live music and food trucks.

Related Story: Wine 101 celebrates 10-year anniversary with collaboration beers

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After you leave Wine 101, you might want to head next door for lunch or dinner at bu•ku. The restaurant gets its inspiration from street vendors in cities across the globe. Come in for items such as Peruvian Hokkaido Diver Scallop Tiradito, Empanadas, Indian Aloo Chana Chaat or Poke Bowls. Bu•ku also has a great brunch on Sundays, and a nice selection of wine from around the World.

Related Story: Bu•ku provides all new global possibilities for Wake Forest residents

If you enjoy Mexican food like we do, you’ll want to stop in at Gonza Tacos y Tequila. Gonza has many tacos that will satisfy your craving – fillings such as chicken tinga, slow-roasted or shredded pork, shrimp, braised short ribs or even pork belly – make you want to keep coming back for more. And let’s not forget the tequila!



Raleigh’s Lonerider Brewing Company opened its Hideout earlier this year inside The Factory. Stop by Lonerider and grab a pint of its award-winning beers such as the flagship Shotgun Betty, or others like Sweet Josie Brown, Hoppy Ki-Yay IPA or other specialty beers. Also grab bottles, cans and growlers to go.

In November, Wake Forest will see a third brewery make its debut in town. Norse Brewing Company will be replacing the Italian Café, La Foresta, located on 203 Brooks Street, which closed to the public on June 1, 2019, after 25-years in business. The brewery will feature over 5,000 square feet of space and will feature a 40-seat bar, lunch/dinner menu items and a downstairs bourbon, rum and tequila bar. And with a 7-barrel system, there will be enough unique beer to keep anyone satisfied.

Related Story: Norse Brewing Company comes to Wake Forest

Norse Brewing Company will open in downtown Wake Forest in November, 2019.

Norse Brewing Company will open in downtown Wake Forest in November, 2019.