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bites of bull city





Best Bar Bites B Y A M B ER WAT S ON


t’s one thing to be a good bar; it’s another to be a good bar with great food. There are a lot of places out there that focus on one or the other, but now, more than ever, there’s an expectation for quality beverages and dishes together. I have noticed a growing focus on chefdriven, adventurous menus that incorporate local ingredients at bars. For some of these establishments (especially those which have been around the longest), it was an evolution to hone a better bar menu over time. For other spots, a parallel focus on food was intentional from the start. Alley Twenty Six, in the heart of downtown, has long been known for serving some of the best cocktails in town. Since its expansion in 2017, when it nearly doubled in size, owner Shannon Healy has also been serving up some of the most noteworthy meals. There are staples, like the mouthwatering Alley Burger with bourbon-bacon jam, black truffle cheddar, chipotle aioli



| October/November 2019

and house-cut fries. And you should always keep an eye out for their seasonal specials. Down the road sits one of Durham’s coziest and most sophisticated bars, Bar Virgile. Of course, a key focus here is on classic and contemporary drinks, but considering the bar is a spin-off of Scott Howell’s Nana’s restaurant, with its top-notch seasonal food, you should know you’ll be getting high-quality eats here as well. The menu includes upscale, but not pretentious, options ranging from fried oysters and delicious deviled eggs to burgers, salmon and hanger steak frites. Intimate new downtown bar Kingfisher is making a point to incorporate lots of local love as well. The bar snack menu features Ninth Street Bakery bread products, treats from East Durham Bake Shop and North Carolina cheeses. The bar at Counting House, inside the 21c Museum Hotel, is gorgeous, and the bartenders can craft some pretty drinks to match, but the food is equally captivating under the guidance of chef Thomas Card. Check out the variety of well-composed seafood dishes, and don’t skip on dessert. Each dish is imaginatively created and plated – fitting for a bar inside an art museum. In fact, many of Durham’s hotels have a solid food game going on. It’s no surprise the menu at the rooftop bar at The Durham Hotel shines under the influence of chef Andrea Reusing. Featured items include platters of North Carolina seafood, shrimp cocktail, beef tartare

Profile for Shannon Media

Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019  

Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019