Nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Durham stands as a cultural epicenter, renowned for its blend of history, innovation, and southern hospitality. While the city’s vibrant academic and entrepreneurial scenes thrive by day, Durham’s nightlife reveals a different kind of brilliance as the sun sets. From unassuming neighborhood dives to sleek cocktail lounges and music-filled pubs, the bars in Durham cater to a wide spectrum of tastes. In this exploration of the best bars in Durham, we invite you to embark on a journey through a city where artisanal spirits, craft beers, and a palpable sense of community converge to create unforgettable evenings. Whether you’re a local seeking new haunts or a visitor eager to savor the Bull City’s unique charm, Durham’s bars offer an authentic taste of the city’s character. Join us as we uncover the gems that define the essence of Durham’s dynamic and burgeoning bar scene.
Bull City Ciderworks is the best place for you if you’re a fan of locally-made cider. The bar offers over a dozen different ciders on tap, all made from North Carolina apples. They also have a small selection of beer and wine. But it’s not just about the drinks at Bull City Ciderworks – the bar also offers a delicious menu of bar snacks and meals, including their famous cider donuts. The atmosphere at Bull City Ciderworks is casual and laid-back, with outdoor seating and live music on the weekends.
If you’re looking for a trendy, upscale bar experience, The Roof at The Durham is the best option. Located on the rooftop of the Durham Hotel, this bar offers sweeping views of downtown Durham. The Roof at The Durham serves delicious cocktails and small plates in a chic atmosphere. It’s an excellent spot for a romantic evening or a special occasion.
West End Billiards is a unique option. It’s both a bar and a billiard hall. The bar offers a large selection of beer, cocktails, and wine. West End Billiards have dartboards, shuffleboard tables, and they also offer reservable space to host private events. In addition to its spacious bar area, West End Billiards has several pool tables for customers. West End Billiards is the perfect spot for a casual night with friends.
Kingfisher is an excellent choice for people looking for a bar in Durham that sells amazing craft cocktails. The bar offers a rotating menu of creative concoctions made with locally-sourced ingredients. In addition to its stellar cocktail menu, Kingfisher also has an impressive selection of beer and wine. The bar also serves small plates and charcuterie boards. The atmosphere at Kingfisher is cozy and intimate, with dim lighting and wooden accents.
Located in a former garage, Alley Twenty Six is an industrial-chic bar focused on bourbon and whiskey. The bar offers over 100 types of bourbon and whiskey, including rare selections. In addition to its impressive selection of spirits, Alley Twenty Six also serves craft cocktails and beer. The bar has an upbeat atmosphere with artistic lighting and an excellent bar. You won’t want to miss the food at Alley Twenty Six either. It is some of the best food in Durham.
Ponysaurus Brewing Company is the best bar in Durham for locally-made beer. The bar offers a rotating selection of its craft beers, as well as some guest taps. In addition to its delicious beer selection, Ponysaurus has a fun atmosphere with outdoor seating and games like cornhole and giant Jenga. The bar also offers a small menu of snacks and sandwiches.
Bar Virgile is a French-inspired bar and restaurant offering an extensive wine list and craft cocktails. The bar also serves small plates and charcuterie boards. The atmosphere at Bar Virgile is elegant and sophisticated, with velvet couches and chandeliers. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic evening or a special occasion.
The Accordion Club is a fantastic bar in Durham, North Carolina. It also has one of the best names. The bar offers a rotating selection of craft beers, cocktails, and wine. In addition to its drinks, The Accordion Club has live music performances and weekly trivia nights. The atmosphere at the bar is fun and relaxed. The menu features hot dogs and burritos that are to die for.
In Downtown Durham, Green Room is an intimate bar with pool tables and craft beer. The bar has an extensive selection of craft beer from all over the world. On any given night, they have a choice of over 100 different beers. The atmosphere at the bar is down-to-earth and comfortable. The Green Room is the perfect place for a couple of drinks and a round of pool with your best friends.
Pour Taproom is the best bar in Durham for beer lovers. The bar has over 60 different beers on tap, with a rotating selection that changes daily. But the best part about Pour Taproom is that customers pour their drinks using RFID bracelets. You pay a flat fee for the amount of time you want to spend at the bar and then can try as many different beers as you like.
Fullsteam Brewery is the best bar for locally-made brews in Durham’s vibrant Central Park district. The bar offers a rotating selection of beers, including seasonal selections and experimental versions. In addition to its delicious beer selection, Fullsteam Brewery has a fun atmosphere with outdoor seating and games. The bar also offers a menu of Southern-inspired food, like BBQ sandwiches and shrimp and grits.
Boxcar Bar & Arcade is the best bar in Durham if you’re looking for a fun night out. The bar has an extensive selection of craft beers, cocktails, and arcade games like skeeball and pinball. The atmosphere at Boxcar is casual and relaxed, perfect for hanging out with friends and enjoying a few drinks and some friendly competition. The bar also offers a menu of snacks and sandwiches.
The Kotuku Surf Club is one of Durham’s more unique and eclectic bars. The bar has a variety of vintage neon signs and memorabilia from decades past. There are also some fun bar games like bocce ball and darts. This bar specializes in beer specials and has some of the cheapest beer in the city.
Clouds Brewing Brightleaf Square is the best bar in Durham for a delicious meal and craft beer. The bar offers a rotating selection of beers from other local breweries. The food at Clouds Brewing is fantastic, with a menu featuring elevated pub favorites like gourmet burgers and loaded fries. The casual atmosphere is inviting, making it the perfect spot for a satisfying meal and refreshing beer.
Parts & Labor is a unique Durham bar focused on local ingredients and flavors. The bar offers craft cocktails, beer, and wine, all made with ingredients sourced from local farms and producers. The atmosphere at Parts & Labor is chic and trendy, making it an excellent spot for a night out. The bar also offers a small menu of delicious, locally-sourced bites.
Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub is a Durham staple. Locals have been coming to this bar for decades, and it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive bars in Durham, North Carolina. The pub has your typical fare and exciting items like a loaded salad with more meat and french fries than leafy greens.
The Tobacco Road Sports Cafe is the best place to catch the big game if you are a sports fan. This bar offers a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails, plus an extensive menu with everything from burgers to seafood. The atmosphere at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe is energetic and fun, with plenty of TVs to watch the game. It’s a great spot for sports fans in Durham.
If you are in the mood for a classy night out, the Bull Durham Bar at the Washington Duke Inn is the place to be. The Washington Duke is on Duke’s Campus and is probably the fanciest bar in Durham. The bar offers a variety of craft cocktails, beer, and wine, as well as light bites.
The Patio at Unscripted is one of the best outdoor bars in Durham, with a beautiful patio overlooking downtown. The bar offers craft cocktails and a small menu of bar favorites like sliders and nachos. The best time to visit The Patio at Unscripted is during the warmer months when you can enjoy the beautiful views while sipping a refreshing drink.
While Ramblers Beer & Wine has a chill vibe and a fantastic selection of craft beer and wine, one of this bar’s unique features is an attached bottle shop. You can take home a six-pack of your favorite beer on your way out the door.
Urban Axes – Axe Throwing is a unique and fun bar experience in Durham. The bar offers craft beer, wine, and cocktails, plus the bonus of axe-throwing lanes. If you are looking for a different kind of happy hour spot, Urban Axes – Axe Throwing is worth a visit. Just wear closed-toe shoes and follow the safety rules before throwing axes!
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including discoverdurham.com, tripadvisor.com, bestofthebull.com, nctriangledining.com, barvirgile.com and downtowndurham.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.