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Photo: Keith Isaac Photography
By day, Hummingbird is a cheery, sun-flooded cafe and cozy lunch spot, serving up cups of locally roasted Joe Van Gogh coffee, destination-worthy sticky buns, and po' boys and banh mi. By night, it's a sultry cocktail bar with some of the best bar snacks in town. Chef-Owner Coleen Speaks has an impressive culinary pedigree, having honed her chops in New Orleans under Emeril Lagasse and run sought-after Raleigh catering business PoshNosh Catering, but she could also add "interior designer" to her resume. When you step into Hummingbird, it's hard to imagine that you're in a former A&P grocery warehouse (the trucker bathroom, to be exact). The space juxtaposes contemporary design elements — a gorgeous white-marble bar, canary yellow barstools, a giant hummingbird mural — with existing raw materials like exposed concrete and original 1950s bathroom tiling. Cocktails are served in vintage glassware collected by Speaks, and like the food, are as pretty as they are delicious. The signature hibiscus-tea-and-vodka Hummingbird Fizz makes for a perfect opener, particularly when paired with the brandied chicken liver pâté and a plate of buttery, garlicky charbroiled oysters. Don't miss the airy ricotta fritters for dessert, served with mascarpone cream and seasonal jam. And as long as you're staying for dessert, you might as well order another cocktail.