Bar Beat: Ruby’s

When you think “bar,” serene Haw Creek may not be the area of Asheville that first comes to mind. But local institution Ruby’s BBQ Shack has had a full bar since it got a liquor license at the beginning of this year.

Photo by Jonathan Welch

That makes Ruby’s a pretty versatile place, as the instruments—including one of Artimus Pyle’s drum sets (along with a sign for the legendary musician)—on the stage next to the bar will attest. The eatery still has excellent pulled pork, chicken wings and hush puppies, among other offerings.

The menu items all go well with Ruby’s extensive selection of draft beers, including local heavy-hitters like French Broad’s 13 Rebels ESB Ale, Highland’s Gaelic Ale and Catawba’s Firewater IPA. If none of those happen to suit you, there’s a gas-station-size cooler with plentiful bottled reinforcements.

In the liquor department, the selection is more limited, which doesn’t seem to upset the rather lively patrons at all. Between glances at the two televisions above the bar, the conversation can get chaotic. But as long as the toasts come frequently, no one seems to mind.

Here’s the scene during a recent Bar Beat visit: A particularly (and loudly) generous man is insisting on buying everyone shots of Grey Goose poured full to the brim. After the obligatory raise of the glass in thanks, he starts to talk as the star-spangled commercials for the Olympics come on the tube.

“This used to be the greatest country in the f**king world,” he says, shot held high. “We were founded by people fighting against oppression—and what did we do? We just turned around and started oppressing other people—and now they’re fighting for their freedom!” Over the next hour, he will order the entire bar two more shots of vodka.

As the conversations resume, a young woman claims she’s visiting from France (which might be true, though she has no discernible accent). Most of the crowd seems to be sticking to beer or the occasional bourbon. It all goes down perfectly with the old wood floors and the metal signs from a bygone era.

Ruby’s BBQ Shack is located at 8 Beverly Road. No smoking before 10 p.m. For more information, call 299-3511



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