Here's what you need to know:
- It will open right next to The Durham Hotel and across the street from Alley Twenty Six, creating a cocktail-lover's paradise on E. Chapel Hill Street.
- Their unique twist will be a celebration of NC produce year-round. Think: strawberry daiquiris served all year thanks to locally sourced and preserved strawberries.
Read the full release:
SEAN UMSTEAD ANNOUNCES CRAFT COCKTAIL BAR, KINGFISHER,DESIGNED BY DURHAM ARTIST MICHELLE VANDERWALKER
[Durham, June 14, 2018] - Sean Umstead announced today that he will open Kingfisher in downtown Durham with his wife and business partner, Michelle Vanderwalker in late 2018. Kingfisher – an intimate cocktail bar, located next to The Durham Hotel at 321 East Chapel Hill Street – will highlight fresh and skillfully preserved fruits and produce from North Carolina farms in craft cocktails and small plates. The basement space will reflect the couple's honed sensibility and Vanderwalker's artistic background.
Umstead, one of the area's respected bar experts, recently received high praise from James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Ashley Christensen who said, "...[St. Roch] packs a secret weapon: general manager Sean Umstead is making some of the most creative cocktails in the area." At St. Roch Fine Oysters & Bar in Raleigh, Umstead is responsible for all aspects of service and bar. His experience in the food and beverage industry also includes The Umstead Hotel & Spa and as beverage manager at Counting House inside the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham. Umstead's reputation extends beyond the Triangle as well; he won the regional Copper & Kings' "Mixt8pe Cocktail Competition" with his Carrot & Fennel Sazerac - and he'll compete for the national title in Louisville, Kentucky this July.=
Kingfisher's interior design will be led by Vanderwalker of Vanderwalker Design, who works as an artist specializing in handmade ceramics. The cozy, warmly lit interior will feature Vanderwalker's ceramic dishes exclusively; her craftsmanship and creativity will be evident throughout, including on the custom tiled bar. Kingfisher's convivial bar, relaxed lounge seating and semi-private booths will provide a unique space for any type of evening. Vanderwalker is also tapping into the talents of other North Carolina makers for signature items such as handcrafted leather menu covers by Margaret Hennessey.
Umstead will serve craft cocktails celebrating the seasonal nature of North Carolina's harvest. Kingfisher will celebrate NC produce year-round: with in-season stars as well as preserved specialties. Umstead's work with North Carolina strawberries is already underway, thanks to 75 pounds purchased this spring from Lil' Farm. These strawberries, preserved in various ways, will find their way into cocktails throughout the year. This preparedness helps Umstead offer drinks like a local strawberry daiquiri year-round, whether with strawberry vinegar in the fall or strawberry preserves in the winter. Kingfisher will also offer a selection of small plates and a sophisticated wine and beer list.
Kingfisher is named after the unique birds who live along the banks of North Carolina's rivers, including the nearby Eno River. Like its namesake, Kingfisher aims to be a unique, fascinating presence in Durham. Kingfisher is slated to open in 2018.