artisanal ice, craft cocktails + locally-sourced, seafood-focused fare

written by Avivah with Offline | photos by @foodieteee

The Need-to-Know

What: A stylish new craft cocktail and raw bar restaurant located in North Hills with Raleigh’s only “artisanal ice” offerings. 

Where: Bank of America Building, 4242 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609

When: Mon-Thur 11a – 12a; Fri 11a – 1a; Sat 10:30a – 1a; Sun 10:30am – 12a; Brunch Sat + Sun 10:30a – 2:30p.

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Why we love ‘em:

  • Because where else can you find crystal clear ice, specifically hand-cut for your drink of choice, that magically becomes invisible in your cocktail?
  • They’ve got an uber-fresh, seafood-focused menu that includes a dedicated raw bar and ceviche options.
  • The majority of their ingredients come from farmers and vendors within a 100-mile radius.
  • Their weekend Brunch is boozy (dollar mimosas FTW) and extra filling thanks to the addition of their “brunch bar,” AKA a sprawling buffet of extra goodies. 

STIR 101

STIR got its start in Chattanooga, and quickly became known for their inventive craft cocktails, super fresh ingredients (their recently-opened Raleigh location boasts a scratch-made menu full of hyper-local items from farmers and bakers all within 100 miles), and—wait for it—ARTISANAL ICE. Yep, all their ice is hand-cut and made with purified water, making it so crystal clear, that it’s nearly invisible in your glass. They’ve got an A+ cocktail and raw bar game, plus elevated American fare served with style.  

Located across from the AC hotel in North Hills, STIR boasts an expansive space with high ceilings, giant windows (read: amazing natural light), exposed wooden beams, and a massive wraparound patio. On warm days, they open their garage door walls so you can get that al fresco feeling while sitting pretty indoors. 

It’s an obviously picture-perfect date night spot, but we’re also big fans of their weekend brunch, which features one dollar mimosas and access to a sprawling brunch buffet that you get in addition to your entree. STIR is pretty bomb for whatever meal you sit down for, but admittedly, brunch has our heart. 

What to order

Serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, STIR’s seafood-focused menu is all scratch-made and local as hell. But no worries if seafood isn’t your thing, you’re still guaranteed a solid meal since they’ve also got plenty of delish options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Have an upscale lunch that doesn’t break the bank

Pick up all the panache of STIR’s food and vibe, while keeping your wallet happy by hitting them up for lunch. Offering a lighter menu, including salads, sandwiches, and entrees, it’s the perfect spot to grab a quick (and impressive) bite with colleagues. The Veggie Chop Salad and Tillamook Cheeseburger are solid go-to’s, as is their Tuna Poke Bowl.

If you’re looking to step it up a notch, their whole raw bar, ceviche, and cocktail offerings are also still up for grabs

Share something with your tablemates

Between a full raw bar, ceviche menu and diverse list of shareable apps, there’s no shortage of options to decorate your table with. The Hummus & Pimento Trio gets you three adorable mason jars of dip, complete with crispy crostini and fluffy pita for you to scoop your heart out. 

And considering they have an entire menu section dedicated to ceviche, you’d be a damn fool not to try at least one of these tangy small plates. Feeling indecisive? Opt for the Ceviche Sampler to try ’em all.  

Indulge in their most popular entrees

The dish that perhaps best demonstrates STIR’s mastery in the kitchen is their Scallops & Shrimp White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. Al dente cavatappi pasta and crisp asparagus swim in gooey white cheddar and truffle oil sauce, topped with perfectly pan-seared scallops and sweet shrimp. 

Their Shrimp & Grits is another unmissable dish, made with fresh mushrooms, green onions and white cheddar stone-ground grits. Their steaks (be it the Center Cut FiletSteak Frites, or Filet & House Crab Ravioli) are all tender and juicy, and vegetarians will delight in their flavorful Roasted Vegetables & Farro, made with an orange kale emulsion and fresh kale chips.  

Slurp some oysters

STIR takes its oysters seriously. They’ve got a dedicated raw bar where their expert shuckers serve fresh bivalves six different ways. Whether you get ‘em Rockefeller or raw, you’re in for a salty good time. 

Cocktails might as well be mandatory

With 300+ spirits (many of them local), a massive handcrafted cocktail menu, and booze that’s barrel-aged in house, it’s almost hard to believe that frozen water is the real shining star of the show here, but it is. 

They start with a 300 lb block of purified, frozen-to-the-core water, which they painstakingly hand-cut into one of seven styles, each one perfectly suited to melt at the exact rate you’d sip your specific cocktail. Saying these guys have got cocktails down to an actual science is an understatement. These crystal clear cubes disappear in your drink like magic. Don’t believe us? See the photo below (we swear there’s ice in that vodka). 

Boozy. Brunch. Buffet.

Weekends at STIR are no joke. They’ve got three—count ‘em—three kinds of eggs benedict plus a life-changingly delicious Waffle Crusted Chicken that’s served with sriracha butter and extra happiness.  

There’s live jazz on Sundays, all of the entrees include access to their “Brunch Bar” (AKA an overflowing buffet of extra goodies), and you can get a massive mason jar of mimosas made with fresh agua fresca. Especially on a sunny day, it’s literal heaven.

Pro Tips

  • Ask for the “Ice Show” and they’ll create a perfect sphere of crystal clear ice right at your table.
  • There’s always *free* valet parking. 
  • Boogie down at brunch with their live jazz on Sundays and brace yourself for cocktail specials: $1 mimosas ($2 for a double) or $10 for a jar, which holds over an entire bottle of bubbly. They’ve also got fresh bloodies for five bucks.
  • On Monday and Tuesday you can score a specialty cocktail for $7 and on Wednesday bottles of wine are half-price.