WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – October 1. It’s officially spooky season for all you foodies out there or at least that’s what I’ve been told by my neighbor who wouldn’t dare try my Halloween-oriented trail mix until today. Although she did eat a buttercream pumpkin, she wouldn’t touch the candy corn. Oh, the irony.
Regardless, let’s turn away from the withered scarecrow pointing us down the scary good road of wondrous eateries and restaurants and instead take the path less taken – the hidden trail of watering holes which leads to one of the best kept secrets in Wilmington, Earnest Money & Sons.
You won’t find any mouthwatering appetizers or delectable entrees here, but you will find a City of Oz worth of expertly crafted cocktails.
Formulated as an offshoot of manna, this exclusive, members-only bar (roughly $25 a year, but don’t let that scare you) is not for the faint of heart.
A small, dimly-lit bar area is perfect for small gatherings of those who want an Instagram-worthy drink and a lengthy chat with friends. The décor is undeniably speakeasy, but not gaudy or cheap. The room is comprised with deer heads on the wall, a piano and lounge music, which strangely creates a cherished spot in the heart of downtown.
Earnest Money & Sons specializes in turn-of-the-century drinks, with a taste for the unique (you thought I was going to say macabre).
Longtime craft bartender Jeff Taylor has taken his years of experiences and gathered a wide array of liquors, various homemade mixers, bitters, and garnishes to create any kind of wicked serum you wish.
The smoked Old Fashioned is always a crowd pleaser, a perfect creation for the Mad Men lovers in the crowd with a touch of spooky smokiness.
Or what about the classic Manhattan? Made with brandy soaked cherries, an out-of-town friend of mine loved them so much we went back two nights in a row. Now I think he haunts the place.
Of course, bourbon isn’t the only thing showcased here, you can order just about any drink. From your classic favorites, to a freaky tiki Mai Tai, the Brazilian-favorite Caipirihana and even a Vieux Carre, whatever your Tell-Tale Heart desires, is here for you.
In fact, Earnest Money prides itself in creating whatever you want. Feel like something vodka based but with a sour tinge? They can do it. Or what about an off-the-wall drink that few people know about? Poof, like magic, it appears. Each visit is akin to repeatedly trick-or-treating at a house that only hands out your favorite candy (unfortunately no one explicitly gave away Reese’s to me).
The options here really are limitless, the prices are right, and the experience is top class. Whether you’re with a group of your favorite haunts, or a lone ghost making your way to the bar, there is sure to be another soul ready to strike up a conversation, and enjoy the diabolical cocktail creations with you.
It’s kind of like a haunted house of cocktails. A bar of wonder, with something different around every corner, a flavor you can’t put your finger on, but eerily satisfying enough that you come back for more. Like a good scare, Earnest Money & Sons gets your heart racing with every sip. What more can you ask for in the spooky season?
1. I mentioned it’s a $25 fee, but pay the price. If you come here twice a month, it’s essentially $2 a month. And if you bring guests, they won’t stop raving about the place. But be sure to set up a reservation once you join, there aren’t many seats and those who are already members often come here.
2. I’m a huge fan of tiki drinks, and any true bartender worth their salt knows a few tiki drinks that they take pride in. Ask for Jeff’s take on a Mai Tai, it’s delicious, and one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.
IF YOU GO:
Earnest Money & Sons is located at 211 Princess St, Unit C, Wilmington, NC 28401
Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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