For a relatively small city, Durham has a solid reputation for being a foodie town, and many of the buzzed-about restaurants are in the downtown neighborhood. One of the most talked about restaurants in town, Revolution, offers contemporary global cuisine in an upscale, modern atmosphere. Prepared by a renowned chef, the eclectic menu includes dishes such as charred octopus salad, pumpkin ravioli and spinach tagliatelle with braised beef cheeks. There’s also several tasting menus that range from three to seven courses.
For more casual fare, Dame’s Chicken and Waffles combines a classic Southern favorite with a modern, European twist. The menu consists of several creative chicken and waffle dishes, such as the Carolina Cockerel, which includes three chicken wings on top of a blueberry waffle. All of the dishes are served with the restaurant’s famous flavored butters, known as schmears.
At Mateo Bar de Tapas, the menu combines Spanish tapas with classic Southern flavors and ingredients. Menu items at this stylish restaurant include morcilla, a blood sausage with sweet potatoes and North Carolina apples, and bollo de cerdo, which are steamed dumplings topped with sherry ponzu and N.C. peanuts.
Nightlife options in downtown Durham
are spread throughout the various districts in the neighborhood. In the City Center district, Pinhook is the place to go to hear live local bands and attend themed parties and special events. Regular events at Pinhook include open-mic, karaoke and trivia nights. It also has several classic video game machines.
Listen to live jazz at Beyu Caffe, also in the City Center district. A combination of a coffee shop, restaurant, bar and jazz club, Beyu Caffe brings in both local and national jazz performers from across the country nearly every night of the week. In the American Brightleaf district, cheer on the area college basketball teams with a craft beer at casual and cozy Federal bar, which offers a wide range of locally made beers and gourmet pub eats.