Dine Outside at These Durham Patios
It’s patio season! Here’s your guide to dining al fresco in Durham.
Posted By Discover Durham Staff
There’s always a picturesque patio waiting for you in Durham. Here’s a list of places where you can eat outdoors and savor the flavor while you enjoy the sunlight and fresh air.
American Tobacco Campus (ATC)
Head to the restored historic tobacco factory for hours of fun and plenty of outdoor dining options. Parker and Otis and Boricua Soul share a large covered patio where you can people watch and stay cool. Ekhaya serves Bantu tapas and creative cocktails on their patio area adjacent to the water feature.
Blue Note Grill
Family-owned and operated, the Blue Note Grill is a live-music venue, complete with a full-service restaurant and bar. The slow-smoked barbecue and ribs are delicious, and their recently expanded patio is open, so head on over for some outdoor music, food, and fun.
Less than a 15-minute drive from downtown Durham is Boxyard RTP, a 15,000 square-foot shipping container park full of restaurants like Beyu Caffe, Fullsteam, Lawrence Barbecue, Leroy’s Tacos and more. Stop by the Boxyard and enjoy food, drink, and live music in one of the outdoor dining areas.
Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub
This Irish pub might have the largest outdoor space in downtown Durham. In addition to the massive lawn space, there is a wraparound patio that seats nearly 85 guests. It’s the perfect spot to take in the Durham skyline from picnic benches sprawled across the expansive lawn.
Cloche Coffee is an ideal coffee shop in the Ninth Street district. Their beautiful tranquil interior full of greenery is the perfect place to work, catch up with friends, or recharge. They serve organic, ethically sourced coffee from Larry’s Coffee, so take your brew onto the patio, or spread out across the street on the grass at Duke’s East Campus.
Corpse Reviver Cocktail Bar
Relax with fancy drinks and light bites at Corpse Reviver, a cocktail bar and lounge from the folks behind Durham Distillery’s gin, vodka, and liqueur.
Foster’s Market is a gourmet food market and cafe focused on scratch-made sandwiches, salads and towering slices of layer cake. They have ample seating on their covered patio and lawn.
Geer Street Garden
What do you get when you transform a dilapidated brick building and one-time gas station into a casual hub for comfort food, beers, and cocktails? Geer Street Garden, of course! Chill out on their covered patio, and enjoy some chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, tamales, and more.
Sit outside on the covered patio and enjoy delicious Italian dishes, handmade pastas, cocktails, and gelato and cannoli for dessert.
Make the most of this warm weather with pints of beer from Hi-Wire Brewing, ice cream (with toppings, of course) from Two Roosters, and much more on the spacious Golden Belt campus.
Goorsha and GoJo
Prepare your tastebuds for a taste of Ethiopia in the heart of Durham. Enjoy traditional Ethiopian fare like tibs, meat sautéed in spices, and shiro, chickpea stew, with a modern twist, on Goorsha’s spacious outdoor patio. Goorsha has expanded to a second space called Gojo where you can grab some delicious Ethiopian tea or coffee and a panini, and enjoy lunch outside on the covered patio just behind the restaurant.
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a tasty meal in an old gas station turned hip Southern eatery? GRUB Durham owners Stacey Poston and Wendy Woods combined their passion for community with their love and experience in the restaurant industry to create this full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and catering. With both a patio and rooftop bar, they have plenty of comfortable outdoor seating options.
This German-style café and bakery serves contemporary cuisine with a nod to its southern German roots, emphasizing local and seasonal ingredients. Their eclectic, architecturally striking building and garden patio filled with plants and flowers is the perfect backdrop for a casual yet unique dining experience with friends and family.
Open-air fireplaces, a spacious patio, and Asian fusion tapas and cocktails await you at the edge of Durham’s lively Ninth Street district. Juju serves up small plates with bold flavors, each prepared creatively with attention to tradition, whimsy, local integrity, and, of course, deliciousness. In addition to its extensive menu, Juju also features a dynamic beverage program of hand-made cocktails, extensive Sake selections, artisan wines, and craft beers.
Madhatter’s Cafe & Bakeshop
This cafe and bakeshop connects with local farms to create mouthwatering dishes that nourish the body and soul. Stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or grab a coffee and pastry.
Mediterranean Grill and Grocery
The falafel will melt in your mouth here. Tucked away in the Parkwood neighborhood since 2014, this spot is owned by three friends who are committed to made-from-scratch gyros, baklava, and other Mediterranean delicacies.
This values-driven spot is best-known for its breakfast and brunch fare: homemade donuts, build-your-own biscuit and bagel sandwiches, seasonal specials and locally-sourced and house-made pantry items. The outdoor dining area is a welcome expansion of the bustling dining room.
Parts & Labor at Motorco
Head on over to Rigsbee Avenue for brews, cocktails, a delicious mix of small plates inspired by global street food, and live music. Hang out with friends outdoors on the spacious Parts & Labor patio and get up close and personal with the bands playing live music.
There’s a new vegan restaurant in town and the food is purely delicious to the soul. Located on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., the restaurant has a huge covered patio that is overflowing with plants and flowers.
What do you get when you combine a coffee shop with a beer hall with a Korean-inspired menu with a zen garden? You get the ever-inspiring Namu. It’s fitting that the restaurant is a combination of wonderful things because it was the result of two food trucks (Bulkogi and Bo’s Kitchen) combining their forces to create a Megazord of culinary delights. Enjoying a meal outside in their zen garden provides all the calming vibes you’ll need.
NanaSteak offers high-energy upscale dining at its finest. With an award-winning wine list to complement any meal and incredible downtown Durham views, this is the perfect backdrop for an extraordinary evening. Make a reservation out on their newly renovated patio.
Head chef Giorgios Bakatsias learned to cook at the foot of his mother’s stove in the quiet village of Karista, Greece. He immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 12, and his parents’ small diner, above which the family lived, was his first introduction to Durham.
Experience the history and talent of this James Beard nominated chef in the intimate outdoor dining space at Parizade.
Chill out with a cold beer and varied snacks on Ponysaursus’ grassy lawn, sheltered patio, or lofted deck. The lawn is dotted with picnic tables, so there’s plenty of space for a beer with a friend or a group. If you start to feel a little peckish, grab a $1 snack scoop at the bar or order a pizza from Little Pizza Box which shares space with the brewery.
Calling all beer lovers! Pour Taproom supports and showcases local craft beer, so they offer a unique self-serve system that allows you to try a large variety and selection of beer, cider, and wine. Grab a sandwich or a small bite, serve yourself at the bar, and then hang out on the expanded patio and take in downtown Durham vibes.
The Refectory Café
Established in 2005, the original goal of the Refectory Café was to be a one-of-a-kind farm-to-table restaurant where every diet classification could delight in delicious, satisfying, creative food from a common menu. Let them cater your event or join them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner outside on their lovely outdoor patio.
The Roof at The Durham Hotel
Enjoy one of Durham’s best views from a midcentury marvel. You won’t find a dining patio from a higher vantage point than this one. The Durham Hotel’s rooftop patio is home to drinks, dining, and yoga.
The Rooftop at Unscripted Durham
Take in downtown views from the comfort of this colorful poolside rooftop outfitted with comfortable seating where you can grab refreshing cocktails and delightful bites to enjoy. The patio features a diverse new American small plates menu in a casual, lively environment.
Tobacco Wood Brewing Co.
Tobacco Wood Brewing Co. features 30+ craft taps and delicious bites like pork belly grilled cheese, BBQ tacos, and flatbreads. Sit at one of the picnic tables with an umbrella to get some shade.
Saltbox Seafood Joint
Head chef and founder Ricky Moore won the prestigious James Beard award for Best Chef in the Southeast for his fresh catch and scrumptious seafood seasoning. A U.S. Army veteran and author, chef Ricky established Saltbox as a Durham favorite ever since the tiny shack opened on Mangum Street in 2012. People would line up down the block for an hour (or more!) to wait for the delicious fried catch of the day or some trademark Hush-Honeys®. Popularity grew, and he has since moved to a new location that still offers beautiful outdoor seating.
From oysters and lobster to foie gras, caviar and champagne, this restaurant has an extensive, delicious menu of French classics and a serene, plant-filled outdoor patio where you can dine under the glow of string lights.