Essential Durham Patios for Dining & Drinking
This time of year, there’s nothing better than enjoying dinner and drinks on an open-air patio. We've got some local favorites here for ya and a few you may have not thought of.
You may not be able to say the name correctly or even remember how to spell it when you're telling your friends to meet you there, but Guglhupf is pure magic and so is their patio. A German-style bakery serving up breads, pastries, and desserts, they're an award-winning local favorite. But it's much more than just a bakery, you can also grab brunch, lunch, and dinner. They do all of them to perfection.
This is one of the coolest spots to grab a bite to eat. Food court style, but much tastier. They have a incredible variety of spots to choose from like Italian, BBQ, Indian, Asian, Sushi, a deli, and even a steakhouse. Vegetarian and vegan options available as well. There's plenty of outdoor seating on the bottom floor where you can soak up the sun and views of Duke's beautiful campus. Make an afternoon out of it and take a walk over to Duke Chapel afterwards!
Durham Hotel Rooftop
You're not a Durhamite until you get a photo from the rooftop of the Durham Hotel, am I right? This mid-century modern hotel in the heart of downtown isn't just somewhere for out of town guests to stay, it's also frequented by locals for the coffee bar, restuarant, and rooftop bar. Get some of the best views of Durham and some of the best cocktails. You can even catch a yoga class up here!
Bull City Ciderworks
Using apples from a family-owned orchard, Bull City Ciderworks crafts hard ciders in the heart of Downtown Durham. You don't even have to wait for it to heat up to enjoy their outdoor space. They have an awesome fire pit to keep you warm & cozy. Because what's better than hanging by the fire with some crisp cider?
Foster's is a Durham staple that is known for their scratch-made soups, salads, sandwiches, and casseroles. Be sure to check out their desserts as well. They have at least a dozen pies, cakes, or baked goods variety on any given day. They have plenty of picnic tables and outdoor seating making it the perfect spot to enjoy that piece of pie.
Parts & Labor
Parts and Labor serves food truck-like fare that you can eat in their garage bar or at the picnic tables on their patio. We love their small plates that are available at affordable prices. So you can get a quick afternoon snack or get several different items like german pretzels, beer battered cheese curds, and cheese burger sliders. They have large outdoor eating area, where you can sit in the sun or in the shade!
Unscripted is the perfect place to soak in the sunset. The former Jack Tar Motor Lodge has a spacious rooftop patio with a pool. You feel like you're on vacation when you can sit poolside with a cocktail in hand!
Located right below Unscripted, Pour Taproom has over 60 different craft brews, ciders, and wines on tap. Tons of local selections! They have a great patio that overlooks city center so you can get some great views of Major the Bull.
Duke Gardens Terrace Cafe
You may have missed this cute little cafe tucked away in Duke Gardens! You'll spot right near this gazebo. The menu from The Picnic Basket varies but usually includes a variety of salads, sides, sandwiches, cold beverages, coffee, snacks, and Maple View Farm ice cream. Gluten-free items are also available. The hours are limited, so we've listed them below for you.
Cafe hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m. The cafe closes each year in late November for the winter season. It generally reopens in early March.
Parker & Otis
Life would be much duller without Parker & Otis. I always find something so very ‘Durham’ here and a greeting card that makes me laugh out loud. This is the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up. They have a beautiful, large, shaded outdoor seating area.
Is there a prettier place to dine than Brightleaf? Clouds Brewing is a restaurant and bar focused on craft beer. Featuring 100+ beers and the Triangle’s first pour your own beer wall, The Downpour. Get some locally brewed craft beer and soak up the sun on their patio at Brightleaf Square.
Alley Twenty Six
You probably never thought you'd be hanging out in an alleyway, but when it looks like this who can resist? Alley Twenty Six is an award-winning cocktail bar that features upscale food and cocktail pairings in a relaxed setting. Bring your drink outside and enjoy these twinkling lights. The name of this alleyway is actually Alley 26 and if you walk down a little ways you can spot a two-story tall blue mural.