More than once, a recruiter has looked at my resume and the conversation has immediately turned to beer. As co-president of the Fuqua Beer Club, I guess that is to be expected.
I got into craft beer a few years ago by visiting local breweries, going on tours, and sampling as many different styles as I could. You could say I crossed into full-blown beer obsessiveness when I planned an entire vacation around drinking beer in Belgium. In every city I visit, I make a point to stop by a local brewery, and Durham is no different. Luckily, North Carolina has a thriving craft beer culture, so when the recruiters ask for a recommendation, I’m happy to chat.
Here is my top five list of places to get a beer in Durham:
Ponysaurus Brewing Company
219 Hood Street, Durham, NC 27701
Ponysaurus has been one of my favorite local breweries since they were just a nanobrewery housed above The Cookery. Now, they’ve got an incredible taproom with outdoor space, and on a sunny Saturday, you can find more than a few Fuqua students, partners, and pups hanging out on the lawn.
Why you should go: One of the best outdoor drinking spots in Durham. Bonus: Reserve one of their grills and taste Durham’s best bratwurst.
What you should order: I’m a huge fan of the saisons, and I recommend trying something from the seasonal menu.
2501 University Drive, Durham, NC 27701
Beer Study is by far my favorite bottle shop/bar in the triangle. Whether you’re looking to kick back with a pour of the latest hard-to-find bourbon barrel aged stout, or pick up a cold 6-pack to go, there’s something for everyone thanks to the well-curated selection provided by owner, JD.
Why you should go: Go for the selection—order a pint listed on the TV screens and sip while you browse bottles and 6-packs to go, or play the arcade games in the back.
What you should order: Ask for a recommendation. The selection can be a lot to take in, but the bar staff is incredibly knowledgeable.
Fullsteam / Motorco / Surf Club
726 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701
OK, so these are technically three separate places, but trust me, you should visit all three. And, located mere steps from each other, they blend together into a seamless experience in the Durham Central Park District.
Why you should go: Not only is Fullsteam owned by a Fuqua alumnus, but these three beer spots form the trifecta of beer in Durham. Plus, they each have their own draw—at Fullsteam, you can play board games. Motorco is also a live music venue, and Surf Club has several full-sized bocce ball courts.
What you should order: At Fullsteam, sample a flight from a North Carolina-shaped board. At Motorco, look for beer from N.C.-favorite Foothills Brewery, and at Surf Club, check out the specials board.
Tyler’s Restaurant and Taproom
324 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701
Tyler’s is my go-to stop before attending a Durham Bulls baseball game across the street. With 66 beers on tap, there’s something for everyone—but be sure to check out the inside bar for the full selection.
Why you should go: Grab a beer in the Biergarten before a game, enjoy dinner inside, or play pool in the Speakeasy. You can’t go wrong here.
What to order: Look for local N.C. beers from Hi-Wire, Haw River, or Lynnwood. If you’re hungry, pair a pint with some garlic fries.
202 N. Corcoran Street, Durham, NC 27701
Pour is the place every beer nerd dreams of. Swap your tab for an RFID-enabled bracelet that lets you self-pour beer from the wall of taps. You can taste them all, or pour full pints of your favorites.
Why you should go: There’s something great about pouring your own beer. Maybe it’s the freedom to pay by the ounce or the respect for mastering the perfect pint, but the beer selection is also not to be missed.
What you should order: Pour arranges beer by style, so feel free to try something from Belgians down to stouts, or stick to what you know. (Note: If you’re really into the pour-your-own-beer experience, check out Clouds Brewing in Brightleaf Square next!)
- Bull City Burger and Brewery
- Bull Durham Beer Company
- Clouds Brewing
- Durty Bull Brewing Company
- Beer Durham
- The Glass Jug Beer Lab
- Growler Grlz
- Sam’s Bottle Shop and Sam’s Quik Shop
- The Accordion Club
- Dain’s Place
- Geer Street Garden
- Tobacco Road Sports Café