Happy Hour Test Drive: Little Jumbo

From the exterior Little Jumbo, nestled between Five Points and Montford on Broadway, appears unassuming.  But this upscale version of your favorite neighborhood bar is anything but ordinary.  Named for a bar in Brooklyn whose mission is to serve its patrons with excellent service and cocktails at a fair price, Little Jumbo Asheville is on point.  And that’s why we think Little Jumbo is the ideal place to enjoy a Happy Hour rendezvous for two!

Little Jumbo
Photo Credit: Allie Ellenbogen

The menu is developed as carefully as the concept.  All the cocktails have five ingredients or less, so like any neighborhood bar worth it’s salt, the drinks come out quickly, leaving you just enough time to take in the atmosphere before relaxing into your seat and imbibing that first, delicious sip.

Little Jumbo
Checking out the menu. Photo Credit: Allie Ellenbogen

While in Little Jumbo, time passes and you don’t even realize it.  Multiple seating areas scattered throughout mean there’s a place for everyone to get comfortable.  As you sip your drink, you feel a cozy intimateness, yet there’s a buzz to the atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger… a community, a neighborhood.

Little Jumbo
The crowd sets in for an evening at Little Jumbo. Photo Credit: Allie Ellenbogen

After taking a moment to relish in the décor, I perused the extensive drink menu.  Unsure of what to get, I checked in with the friendly bartender.  He was warm and approachable and used my preferences to guide to me to the right drink.  

Little Jumbo Asheville
Extensive bitters collection at Little Jumbo. Photo Credit: Little Jumbo

Drinks

I started with The Happy Moment a bright, citrusy, and slightly sweet concoction that was refreshing.  While my husband had The Search for Deliciousness, a strong drink meant to be sipped.  It was bitter, but balanced, much like a Negroni, but less sweet and more satisfying.

Little Jumbo
Cocktails. Photo Credit: Allie Ellenbogen

We had to try the Manhattan Service for Two which, in my opinion is the very best way to drink a Manhattan.  Delivered to our table on a beautiful, antique silver platter with two glasses and a carafe on ice it was the cherry on top (with literal cherries!).  You can sip at your own pace and your drink never gets cold – it’s a detail that’s indicative of all aspects of Little Jumbo.  The Manhattan Service for Two is served semi-fancy w/ accoutrements, for $20.

Little Jumbo
Manhattan for Two

Food

The food menu simple and offers delicious pairings to your cocktails.  With a variety of small plates, cheese boards and sandwiches, there is plenty to choose from to suite your fancy.  We enjoyed the trout dip with crackers, which is a great drinking snack because the flavor can standup to the alcohol while its salty crunchiness leaves you wanting another bite.

Little Jumbo
Cocktails and Trout Dip. Photo Credit: Allie Ellenbogen
Little Jumbo
The evening settling in at Little Jumbo. Photo Credit: Little Jumbo

With friendly, knowledgeable staff and most of their craft cocktails $10 or less, Asheville’s Little Jumbo lives up to all of it’s namesake’s principles.  Whether it’s the end of a long Tuesday, or you’re celebrating something special, Little Jumbo is the place you want to be for a cozy cocktail rendezvous.
Looking for more Happy Hour spots?  See our Happy Hour series here.  Want a bar with a view? See our 10 Asheville Bars with a View. 

Contributor: Allie Ellenbogen

I’m Allie Ellenbogen, and I moved to Asheville earlier this year from San Francisco (but am a NC native). I run the home design and DIY blog, The White Apartment. It follows along as my husband and I renovate and decorate our 100-year-old farmhouse in the heart of Asheville. When I’m not knee-deep in a project, I love exploring the area, tackling a new recipe, or playing (self-proclaimed) food critic by trying restaurants and bars around town.

 


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