The Ultimate Durham Bar Crawl Guide: 9 Kickass Crawl Ideas (Food Included!)
With Trolley Pub

The Ultimate Durham Bar Crawl Guide: 9 Kickass Crawl Ideas (Food Included!)

By Avivah Furman
Monday, Apr 16 2018

Get ready to drink your way through Durham! You're gonna party while you pedal your way through the city, exploring the best of downtown Durham on the Trolley Pub. We've taken the guesswork out of where to go with 9 kickass food and bar crawls that'll have you and your squad lit and lovin' Durham. From dive bars to oysters, local brews to rooftop patios, we've got everything you need for the most epically memorable pub crawl—ever. 

Keep scrolling for: Sky High: Rooftop Bars + Bites · Local Brews Cruise · Game On! · Shucked and Shaken: Oysters + Cocktails Crawl · Durham Bulls Pregame · Frill-Free Dive Bars · Crafted Cocktails · Pizza Par-tay · Wine Tasting

Check 'em out, grab your crew and buckle up—it's gonna be a wild ride! 

Oh and PS: Offline users get 10% off their Trolley Pub ride with code 'OFFLINE'.

ALL ABOARD

Party While You Pedal on the Trolley Pub at Trolley Pub Durham

Party While You Pedal on the Trolley Pub

Get ready to pedal and party on the Triangle’s booziest bike. On the Trolley Pub, getting there is half the fun: BYOB + 2 hours + anywhere you wanna go (see our kickass suggestions below!)—oh, and Offline users get 10% off with the code: 'OFFLINE'. Score!

On board, you can explore the best of the downtown Durham scene—and there’s never a dip in the fun! Between stops, you and your crew keep the party going with full control of the music, the funnest DDs in town, and a cooler full of drinks to keep you going strong. Electric assist pedals mean you’ll get just enough exercise to get those endorphins pumping—but not so much that you’ll roll up to the bar smelling like a locker room.

If you’ve got a big crew, rent the bike out so you and 13 of your closest friends can enjoy exclusive use of your own tavern on wheels. Or, snag single tickets and prepare to make some new besties on a mixer tour. Armed with this killer list of bar crawl ideas, you’re sure to impress the squad.

Party While You Pedal on the Trolley Pub
$30+   .  Trolley Pub Durham   .  Durham
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SKY HIGH: ROOFTOP BARS + BITES

Enjoy the Neighborhood Vibe at The Lakewood at The Lakewood Restaurant
Photo by @datgirlhosey

#1 The Lakewood

Start off at The Lakewood, a restaurant and rooftop bar owned by James Beard-nominated baker, Phoebe Lawless. Head up to the roof for drinks and small plates with Southern flair (our fave is the Smoked NC Bluefish Dip that comes with fresh potato chips) and savor 'em as your look out onto the burgeoning Lakewood neighborhood.

Enjoy the Neighborhood Vibe at The Lakewood
$$   .  The Lakewood Restaurant   .  Durham
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Check Out Durham's Swankiest New Hotel at Unscripted Durham
Photo by @matagonia

#2 Unscripted Hotel

Disclaimer You've got a bit of a trek to this next spot (~2 miles), located in the heart of downtown Durham BUT it's a 2-for-1 since you'll be hanging in this area for a bit. And also, these views, bites and dranks are soo worth it.

Head up to the roof of the Unscripted Hotel for playfully nostalgic vibes with instagram-y AF details. There's a pool, should you want to let your feet soak (much needed after your haul over here!) while you sip on a black Charcoal Margarita or Frosé. Pair it with a sushi cone and you're golden.

Check Out Durham's Swankiest New Hotel
$$$   .  Unscripted Durham   .  Durham
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Do a Night at The Durham  at The Durham Hotel
Photo by @thedurhamhotel

#3 The Durham

Right across the street, you'll find The Durham. Spanning over 3,000 sq ft, this breezy rooftop offers picturesque views of Bull City and offers a killer selection of local brews, wine and handcrafted cocktails. Go all out with 'The Durham Oysters', which come with caviar and crème fraîche. With an indoor bar, open-air lounge area and plenty of tables, it's the ideal spot to cheers as you watch the sun set over Durham

Do a Night at The Durham
$$   .  The Durham Hotel   .  Durham
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LOCAL BREWS CRUISE

Giddyup at Ponysaurus at Ponysaurus Brewing Company
Photo by @ponysaurusbrewing

#1 Ponysaurus

It’s no secret that Durham’s beer scene is taking off—and quickly! Start your one-of-a-kind brewery tour on the edge of downtown Durham at Ponysaurus. It's quickly become a local favorite thanks to their unique brews, rotating food truck lineup and double-decker patio. And before you leave, be sure to snag some snacks served up by the scoopful—gummy worms are just the fuel you need for to get to your next spot, about a mile away.

Giddyup at Ponysaurus
$   .  Ponysaurus Brewing Company   .  Durham
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Sip on NC Plow-to-Pint Craft Brews at Fullsteam at Fullsteam Brewery
Photo by @cabiczz

#2 Fullsteam Brewery

You can't go on a beer crawl in Durham and NOT stop at Fullsteam. It's Durham's most iconic brewery, serving up 'pint-to-plow' brews that rely on Southern ingredients. Order up a flight to sample as many as you can and settle into their massive, communal warehouse space. Filled with long picnic tables and packed with board games, it's THE spot to drink like a true Durhamite.

Sip on NC Plow-to-Pint Craft Brews at Fullsteam
$   .  Fullsteam Brewery   .  Durham
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Experience the Downpour at Clouds Brewing Durham at Clouds Brewing
Photo by @cloudsbrewery

#3 Clouds Brewing Durham

Less than a mile away, you'll find Clouds Brewing in Brightleaf Square. They've got 40+ rotating craft brews available plus 10 pour-your-own taps (affectionately deemed "The Downpour Wall"). They specialize in German-style ales, but also offer a full-bar if you're tapped out on brewskis by now. They've also got a menu of small bar bites and more substantial eats if your stomach is growling.

Experience the Downpour at Clouds Brewing Durham
$   .  Clouds Brewing   .  Durham
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GAME ON!

Game at Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade at Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade
Photo by @webloreart

#1 Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade

Start things off with old-school arcade games at Quarter Horse, tucked into the basement of the Kress building on Mangum Street. They're fully stocked with an assortment of 30+ classic pinball, video and arcade games—most from the rad 80's era. The bartenders are constantly dreaming up game-themed cocktails and offering up killer drink specials.

Game at Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade
$   .  Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade   .  Durham
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Sip Socially at the Atomic Fern at The Atomic Fern
Photo by @sheli1014

#2 Atomic Fern

Head to Atomic Fern, less than two blocks away, for board games and low-key neighborhood vibes. Sip a cocktail (most will run you just six bucks) and challenge your crew to a rousing game with high stakes—loser buys the next round!

Sip Socially at the Atomic Fern
$   .  The Atomic Fern   .  Durham
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Get Ballin' at the Bar at West End Billiards
Photo by @betsyklein

#3 West End Billiards

You thought Pac-Man was old school? Try your hand at indoor bocce, shuffleboard or pool for fun that's truly stood the test of time. West End Billiards' also has basketball and foosball, plus a full bar amid industrial-chic vibes.

Get Ballin' at the Bar
$   .  West End Billiards   .  Durham
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SHUCKED AND SHAKEN: OYSTERS + COCKTAIL CRAWL

Wine & Cocktails in an Unassuming French Bistro at Vin Rouge
Photo by @coffeeandchampagne

#1 Vin Rouge

Start fancy at Vin Rouge. This authentic French bistro is consistently ranked in Durham's top tier, and for good reason. Snag a seat on the patio, order up a dozen on the half-shell (or indulge with a luxe seafood tower) and get yourself an expertly made French 75. Made with champagne, gin and lemon, it's a perfectly light and celebratory way to start your night.

Wine & Cocktails in an Unassuming French Bistro
$$   .  Vin Rouge   .  Durham
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Take a Bite Out of Burger Bach at Burger Bach
Photo by @burgerbach

#2 Burger Bach

Across the street, you'll spot Burger Bach. Now, we get that with a name like that, it's the last place you'd expect to find oysters on the half shell—but don't be fooled! This New Zealand inspired gastropub boasts an impressive raw bar with oysters flown in on the daily. Pair a dozen with one of their signature, pre-prohibition era "elixirs" (we're partial to 'The Kiwi', with elderflower liqueur and fresh kiwi)—it's clearly the nicest burger joint in town.

Take a Bite Out of Burger Bach
$$   .  Burger Bach   .  Durham
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NOW OPEN: Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar at Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar
Photo by @stjamesseasfood

#3 Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar

Before you go home, you've gotta go BIG. So for your last stop, you're trekking over to Saint James (it's about a mile but we promise it'll be worth it). Splurge on a flaming (!) tiki bowl and shellfish tower for the ultimate grand finale to your night.

NOW OPEN: Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar
$$   .  Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar   .  Durham
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DURHAM BULLS PREGAME

Drink Up at Devines Sports Bar at Devine's Restaurant & Sports Bar
Photo by @beerandracing

#1 Devines Sports Bar

There are a few hours 'till the big home game but the fun starts now. It wouldn’t be a true Durham sports pregame without a stop at Durham’s unofficial official sports bar, so that's where you've gotta start. Wear your Bulls gear and kick off your crawl here for a heavy dose of team spirit and a budget brew out on the patio.

Drink Up at Devines Sports Bar
$   .  Devine's Restaurant & Sports Bar   .  Durham
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Drink Like You're Irish at Bull McCabes at Bull McCabe's Irish Pub
Photo by @bullmccabesdnc

#2 Bull McCabes

Continue down Main St. to hit up Bull McCabes for perfectly poured pints of Guinness (when in an Irish bar!) and people watching on the patio. Their massive courtyard, situated right at the 5-corners intersection of downtown Durham, is ideal kicking back, drinking up and taking in the scene.

Drink Like You're Irish at Bull McCabes
$   .  Bull McCabe's Irish Pub   .  Durham
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Sip and Snack at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe
Photo by @tobaccoroadnc

#3 Tobacco Road Sports Cafe

Finish up the pregame back on the American Tobacco Campus, right next to the action at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Don’t worry if you’re having too much fun to wrap things up before the game starts—you can catch the beginning from the enormous outdoor terrace overlooking the field.

Sip and Snack at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe
$   .  Tobacco Road Sports Cafe   .  Durham
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FRILL-FREE DIVE BARS

Snack on Hot Dogs & Sip in Secret at Accordion Club at Accordion Club
Photo by @accordionclub

#1 Accordion Club

Accordion Club, Durham's newest dive bar in the Rigsbee neighborhood, offers a cozy environment for drinking—plus hot dogs, Frito pies, plenty of nostalgic games. Snag beers for as little as a buck, and be sure to restock on take-home bottles on the way out.

Snack on Hot Dogs & Sip in Secret at Accordion Club
$   .  Accordion Club   .  Durham
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Drink Like a Local at 106 Main at 106 W Main St
Photo by @carolineps

#2 106 Main

A mile or so away, you'll find a hidden gem of a dive, beloved by local working stiffs, longtime residents and newcomers alike. 106 Main offers a full-bar in an unpretentious setting—with friendly bartenders, daily specials and super chill vibes, you'll feel part of the fam in no time.

Drink Like a Local at 106 Main
$   .  106 W Main St   .  Durham
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Play a Classic Game of 9-Ball  at Green Room
Photo by @mickaleer

#3 The Green Room

If you're still looking for a no-frills, come-as-you-are spot, you've come to the right place. The Green Room is a classic pool hall and dive that doesn't pretend to be anything but that—and that's why we love it.

Play a Classic Game of 9-Ball
$   .  Green Room   .  Durham
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CRAFTED COCKTAILS

Relish a Cocktail at Alley Twenty Six at Alley Twenty Six
Photo by @kris_newt

#1 Alley Twenty Six

This isn't your college bar cocktail. At Alley Twenty Six, they take spirits seriously and craft them with care. If you're looking to refine your drinking palate, this is definitely the place to start.

Relish a Cocktail at Alley Twenty Six
$$   .  Alley Twenty Six   .  Durham
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Treat Yourself to Good Drinks & Good Eats at Bar Virgile  at Bar Virgile
Photo by @lakellyramos

#2 Bar Virgile

Head a couple blocks over to Mangum Street and find yourself at Bar Virgile for another round of supremely well-executed cocktails. They've got modern and classic offerings, as well a full menu of shareable plates so you can start soaking up some of those deliciously dangerous dranks.

Treat Yourself to Good Drinks & Good Eats at Bar Virgile
$$   .  Bar Virgile   .  Durham
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Contemporary Art & Cuisine at Counting House at Counting House
Photo by @southernbrideandgroom

#3 Counting House at 21c

Counting House is the resident restaurant at Durham's 21c Museum Hotel, a modern art museum and luxury hotel all in one that offers many ways to go all out on a Bull City night out. Saunter up to the bar for a fancy cocktail or fine Kentucky whiskey (they've got a special collection of bourbons and ryes)—BUT DON'T SIT THERE! Sorry to go all-caps on you, but you'll thank us once you go explore the rest of the space. Sneak downstairs to The Vault, a real historic bank vault tucked into the basement of the hotel. The art deco vibes and cash-lined floor provide the perfect photo opp. Or go upstairs to meander through endless galleries, packed to the brim with out-there modern art. Open 24/7, you'll never hit closing time, so it's the perfect place for a lingering end to your night.

Contemporary Art & Cuisine at Counting House
$$   .  Counting House   .  Durham
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PIZZA PAR-TAY

Grab a Slice at Pie Pushers at Pie Pushers Pizza
Photo by @piepushers

#1 Pie Pushers

Kick things off with a classic slice at Pie Pushers. This beloved food truck turned brick-and-mortar is the only spot in downtown Durham where you can order by the slice, making it the perfect spot to whet your whistle. Pair it with a local brew and make sure you save room—you've got a lot more eating to do!

Grab a Slice at Pie Pushers
$   .  Pie Pushers Pizza   .  Durham
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Experience Fresh, Neapolitan Pizza at Pompieri at Pompieri Pizza
Photo by @pompieripizza

#2 Pompieri

Not too far away, you'll roll up to Pompieri. They're slinging fresh, Neopolitan pies that rely on fresh and local ingredients (check out their in-shop hydroponic system if you don't believe it!). Order a few specialty pies to share—the 'Drunken Horse' and 'BC Pie' are popular choices—so you can sample as many kinds as possible. They also specialize in Lambrusco, a sweet and sparkling red wine, which pairs perfectly with their pies. Snag a bottle and cheers!

Experience Fresh, Neapolitan Pizza at Pompieri
$   .  Pompieri Pizza   .  Durham
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Get Fired Up About Pizzeria Toro at Pizzeria Toro
Photo by @btparsons

#3 Pizzeria Toro

After two mini-meals, you'll be glad to know you've got a few blocks between you and the next spot. Pizzeria Toro also often has a wait, so put your name down in the front and saunter to their hip back bar for signature cocktails and some much-needed digestion time. By the time you slide into a table, the smell wafting from the oven should have you ready to chow down again. Enjoy crispy, wood-fired pizzas with scrumptious, seasonal toppings—soft egg, clam, meyer lemon, you name it! And if you've saved room for dessert, their fried-to-order zeppole is to die for.

Get Fired Up About Pizzeria Toro
$$   .  Pizzeria Toro   .  Durham
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WINE TASTING

NOW OPEN: The Wine Feed Durham at The Wine Feed Durham
Photo by @thewinefeed

#1 The Wine Feed

Durham’s newest wine spot offers deliciously affordable sips to enjoy in-store and/or take home with you. They’ve got a range of festively-themed flights, like the “Dark Fruit Damsels” or “California Dreaming”. Score a seat by the cozy fireplace and check out their retail section—they’ve got everything, including wine by the can, so you can enjoy quality vino en route to your next spot.

NOW OPEN: The Wine Feed Durham
$$   .  The Wine Feed Durham   .  Durham
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Sip in Style at Bar Brunello at Bar Brunello
Photo by @barbrunello

#2 Bar Brunello

Back in downtown Durham, you’ll find a little hole-in-the-wall offering a crazy expansive selection, poured by incredibly knowledgeable bartenders. Tell ‘em what you like, and they’ll fix you up a totally customized wine flight.

Sip in Style at Bar Brunello
$$   .  Bar Brunello   .  Durham
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Try Huevos Diablos & Spanish Tapas at Mateo at Mateo Bar de Tapas
Photo by @marieli98

#3 Mateo Bar de Tapas

Head a few blocks down Main Street to the critically-acclaimed Mateo, where they serve incredible Spanish tapas with a Southern twist. Pair a few small plates with a tasting flight of sherry, a fortified wine in dry or sweet varieties, or Cheerwine Sangria for an authentic (and super delicious) end to your night.

Try Huevos Diablos & Spanish Tapas at Mateo
$$   .  Mateo Bar de Tapas   .  Durham
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The Ultimate Durham Bar Crawl Guide: 9 Kickass Crawl Ideas (Food Included!)
The Ultimate Durham Bar Crawl Guide: 9 Kickass Crawl Ideas (Food Included!)