Durham may be a leader in health and research, but it’s also a bustling city bursting at the seams with hip breweries, sophisticated restaurants and excellent music and arts venues. Here are the best spots to grab some great beer and bites before or after a show.
Bars & Restaurants Near Durham Performing Arts Center
Adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park sits the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), the largest of its kind in the Carolinas, where you can catch the latest touring Broadway production or some of the biggest musicians and comedians to sweep through the East Coast.
- DPAC itself offers a wide selection of drinks and light snacks in its spectacular glass-walled BlueCross BlueShield atrium, but if you’re looking to fill up before the show in elegant fashion, head to the northwest corner of the complex to NanaSteak (345 Blackwell St.) for a satisfying steak or fish dinner.
- For a slightly livelier scene, go just around the corner to Tobacco Road Sports Cafe (280 S. Mangum St. #100) for late-night nachos, ribs or burgers, a handcrafted brew from Tobacco Road Brewing and to catch up on the latest in sports.
- There are several more food and drink options within a five-minute walk toward Main Street. Here, you’ll find the upscale Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas (112 W. Main St.) serving up a contemporary spin on South American-inspired food like arepas and empanadas (check out the mouthwatering things they do with jackfruit).
- If you’re craving more pub-style eats, just head up one more block to Bull City Burger and Brewery (107 E. Parrish St.), where the ales, lagers and ciders are freshly brewed, the beef is pasture-raised — and the fries are to die for.
- One more way to toast the night is with a trip to the hip and cozy Bar Vigile (105 S. Mangum St.) for a cheese or charcuterie plate paired with a refreshing cocktail.
Bars & Restaurants Near Carolina Theatre
The stunning Carolina Theatre screens films upstairs daily, and hosts a number of high-profile concerts in its gorgeous 1920s theater. As the centerpiece of downtown Durham, it’s surrounded by a number of upscale eateries and casual pubs for any budget.
- For an incredible wood-fired pie just a stone’s throw from the theatre, head to Pizzeria Toro (105 E. Chapel Hill St.), which dishes up imaginative antipasti and salads for a fully contemporary pizza experience.
- If the food and wine of Spain is calling you more, just head a little further down Chapel Hill Street to Mateo Bar de Tapas (109 W. Chapel Hill St.) for jamon, queso and a refined selection of Spanish-style tapas fused with Southern flavors.
- Kick back with a more laid-back ambiance on one of downtown Durham’s best outdoor patios at Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub (427 W. Main St.). They’re all about classic pub grub and a wide selection of beers.
- If you love a hip scene, though, swing by The Roof at the Durham (315 E. Chapel Hill St.), a swanky rooftop bar at The Durham Hotel, to get the city’s best views with a fancy cocktail in hand.