If you believe the adage "two is a coincidence, three is a trend," then hybrid cafe-cocktail bars are officially a thing in Raleigh. There's Hummingbird at Dock 1053, 42 & Lawrence downtown, and now Fig, which opened in the Brookside Shopping Center mid-July. Inspired by the growing number of families in Oakwood, the owners of Brookside Market & Pizza opened Fig next door with a menu of artfully crafted lattes, classic cocktails, cafe fare, and eclectic small plates. The menu sates cravings morning, noon, and night, but the biggest reason to while away a day or evening here is the destination-worthy back patio.
Vibe: Three distinct spaces make up Fig: The covered front porch near the entryway offers two-tops that are perfect for people watching or an al fresco tête-à-tête. Inside, you can snag a seat at the marble bar or at a table in the main dining room, preferably one with a velvet booth. The modern-meets-vintage decor includes accents such as gold plates, teal mosaic vases, and a turquoise wall adorned with contemporary paintings and oversize mirrors. But Fig's pièce de résistance is the beautifully renovated (and dog-friendly) back patio, outfitted with plush-cushioned wicker couches and a colorful vintage Indian bus that the owners plan to turn into a wine bar.
Menu: Fig's morning menu is available till 3:00 p.m. and includes solid renditions of the usual suspects—avocado toast, an açai bowl—along with scones and muffins from Yellow Dog Bread Company and a signature quiche. Lunch includes classic sandwiches such as grilled chicken, a BLT, and toasted Brie with apple and honey. Evening cocktails can (and should) be paired with small plates (available after 4:00 p.m.) such as pimento-cheese deviled eggs; a charcuterie-and-cheese board served with crostini, date puree, and olives; or a Mediterranean hummus plate, which also comes with tzatziki, naan, and house-made pickled vegetables.
Price range: Drip coffee starts at $3, espresso drinks go up to $4. Pastries are $3 or less; quiche and toast are $6-$7. Sandwiches and salads are $9-$10; small plates are $7. Cocktails are $9-$11.
What to order: For a breakfast that begs to be savored, you can't do better than pairing a cup of Counter Culture Coffee with Fig's house quiche, where an egg, goat cheese, and Pecorino Romano filling is enveloped in a flaky crust and dolloped with fig preserves. An iced macchiato paired with the house salad, topped with grilled chicken, goat cheese, and house vinaigrette, is the perfect antidote to a sad lunch desk. Feeling more than peckish? The turmeric-based curry chicken salad, served with mango chutney on either bread or a bed of greens, is a solid choice, as is the BLT, served on Yellow Dog Bread Company's rustic loaf (spring for the addition of avocado). The mac 'n' cheese with pimento and smoked sausage is as comforting as the homemade version I indulged in growing up, but just as likely to induce a nap as it is nostalgia. You can't go wrong with any of the classic cocktails on the list, crafted with local liquors—the Gin Rickey is made with Sutler's gin from Winston Salem—and fresh juices made with leftover citrus from the Produce Project next door. Signature libations are seasonally inspired, such as a bourbon tipple crafted with house-made strawberry-ginger shrub, lemon, and soda.
Perfect for: A leisurely breakfast or working lunch; casual catch up with friends; date night at the bar.