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.
Guglhupf- Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
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. 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. We love their outdoor seating that’s accompanied by a water foundation and tons of greenery.
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!
402 Chapel Dr Durham, NC 27710
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!
315 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @bullcityciderworks
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?
3628, 305 S Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27701
Foster’s Market- Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
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.
2694 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707
Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
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!
723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
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!
202 Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @pourtaproomdurham
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.
202 N. Corcoran St., #200, Durham, NC 27701
Duke Gardens Terrace Cafe
You may have missed this cute little cafe tucked away in Duke Gardens! You’ll spot it right near the gazebo. The menu but usually includes a variety of salads, sides, sandwiches, cold beverages, snacks, and 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.
112 S Duke St, Durham, NC 27701
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.
905 W Main St #22, Durham, NC 27701
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.
320 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
With one of the best views of the Lucky Strike tower, Tyler’s Taproom has an awesome patio for grabbing lunch or soaking up the warm weather with a beer. There’s plenty of picnic tables to one side and tables in front of the restaurant that are adjacent to the river that flows through American Tobacco Campus. You can’t go wrong with the garlic fries and the chicken and cheese biscuits.
324 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @cocoacinnamon
Cocoa Cinnamon- Geer St
We may have mentioned a time or two how much we love Cocoa Cinnamon. They have 3 locations and each has it’s own unique vibe. When it warms up we love coming to the Geer Street location for their patio. The inside is cozy with a mix of tables and couches, and the outdoor patio is perfect when the weather warms up. Their outdoor seating consists of plenty tables and benches, and we love that there is a shaded area as well. It’s also walking distance to Motorco, The Mothership, Fullsteam, and King’s Sandwich Shop so you can make an afternoon out of it!
420 W Geer St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @ponysaurusbrewing
Named a “Next Level Brewery” by Food & Wine, you’d be hard pressed to find a beer you don’t like at Ponysaurus. Their outdoor area is dog and kiddo friendly so it’s a great spot to bring the family. They don’t serve full meals but they have a great selection of bar snacks and you can usually find a food truck or two parked outside. OR you can bring your own food and fire it up on the grill. And you don’t necessarily have to wait for the weather to warm up to enjoy their outdoor seating, they have heat lamps and a bonfire going when the night is chilly!
219 Hood St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @grubdurham
Grub was once a full-service, gas station that transformed into a restaurant, and now they’re filling our bellies with food we love. They won us over with their southern breakfast menu and they stole our hearts with Mississippi Mud Pie. (Their lunch, dinner, drinks, and Taco Tuesday’s are amazing as well!) If you’ve been in Durham for any amount of time you know by now that rooftop patios are essential. We like our dinner and drinks with a view. Grub has a great rooftop deck (it’s shaded!)
3002, 1200 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @local22durham
We love the farmhouse vibes at Local 22 and the fact that they use fresh, local ingredients. They somehow manage to try brussel sprouts into a crowd favorite and I’m definitely writing home about their mac and cheese. You can find us sipping drinks from mason jars on their outdoor patio this summer.
2200 W Main St Durham, NC 27705
Don’t let the outside fool you because Namu is absolutely beautiful on the inside! They have a gorgeous bamboo garden topped off with a water fountain and koi pond, tons of outdoor seating that is pet and kid friendly. Now for the food. We can’t rave enough about their Korean eats. We 100% recommend the the Bo fries and spicy pork mandoo.
So grab a local craft beer or specialty coffee and hang a while. Also check out our article below that features their coffee!
5420 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd. Durham
Also See: Not Your Average Cup of Local Coffee
Maverick’s Smokehouse and Taproom
Maverick’s ribs left us drooling and the Smoked Gruyere Mac ‘n’ Cheese were the highlight of our night. We love their outdoor patio with a bar and fire pits to cozy up to. You can find them next to Brightleaf Square!
900 W Main St Durham, NC 27701
Photo: Instagram @basandurham
Located right next to the Durham Bull’s park you can find some of the best views overlooking downtown from Basan’s patio and the occasional roar of the ballpark during baseball season. It makes for a very ‘Durham’ day. We’re big fans of their ramon and their sushi, of course!
359 Blackwell St Ste 220 Durham, NC 27701