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The Velvet Hippo Bar & Lounge


119 Orange St
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: (919) 294-4447
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On weekends, you don’t have to leave Fido behind when visiting this new neighborhood bar downtown. The Velvet Hippo, an homage to the owner’s love of dogs, offers a breezy rooftop oasis with a view, glistening signature cocktails, boozy slushes, draft IPAs, small bites and fun events like karaoke. “Yappy Hours” are Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Since dogs are not permitted indoors, they get their very own VIP staircase. Star treatment for all! For humans, there are also popular dance parties that go late into the evening and regular events like drag bingo with Durham's beloved House of Coxx drag family. Food, drinks and mocktails are available -- typically with seasonal flair and clever menu titles.

Google Reviews


Photo of Robert Fergione Robert Fergione
Dec 14, 2023 5

Visiting town and checked out the this bar, and it was awesome! I met the owner, Leslie, who was incredibly nice. The atmosphere is great, and the drinks are good too. They have the entire bar done for winter decorations and it’s beautiful. Definitely recommend for anyone visiting or any locals!

Photo of James Goerke James Goerke
Nov 29, 2023 5

Great drinks and the perfect mix of nice but easy to eat bar apps. It had a good vibe and we were able to have a good conversation even though it was packed! Great rooftop area as well!

Photo of Dr. Jeffrey Zacko-Smith Dr. Jeffrey Zacko-Smith
Oct 31, 2023 5

Simply my favorite recent addition to the Durham bar and dining scene … really delicious and fun cocktails, great service and a sassy and classy atmosphere. The two level roof deck (covered and uncovered with effective heaters) is one of the best in the city. Food is good, though a tad pricey for what you get. Wish I lived closer!

Photo of Hannah Mingus Hannah Mingus
Oct 14, 2023 5

This is officially my new favorite bar in downtown Durham. They do dog friendly "yappy hours" on the weekends as well as host dog friendly events. I recently took my dog to a Pittie PJ Party and it was so fun. I don't drink much these days so I love their extensive mocktail menu. They do a frozen drink every day and also offer a non-alcoholic version of the frozen drink as well. They have incredible street corn dip, highly recommend it. Also the space itself is gorgeous. It has a great view of downtown from the roof but the inside space is so pretty. I can't say enough good things about Velvet Hippo!

Photo of Andrew Turnbull Andrew Turnbull
Sep 8, 2023 5

We came for drinks after dining out and really enjoyed the atmosphere. The bar is accessible from inside and from the outside patio. Excellent service and really great cocktails. I highly recommend this establishment.

Photo of Yolanda Brown Yolanda Brown
Aug 8, 2023 5

I love The Velvet Hippo! Everyone I’ve encountered has provided great service - to the point that they already know my name and they just opened (I’ve been by a few times 😄). At a more recent visit, I tried the crabcake and it was super delicious. I also tried a drink I didn’t care for (can’t remember the name) and they immediately remedied that with one I love - The Hot Girl Summer 💃🏾 My favorite drinks so far include that one, Maui Mayhem, and Cheetahs Do It In The Dark. I plan to try the full menu. I’ve sat in every section of the place and there’s no bad seat in the house. I appreciate the limited Yappy Hours so I can visit when they are finished 😅 (I do love dogs just not with me at the bar). The elevator is very useful when you don’t want to get in your steps :-) Great place. I wish them well.

Photo of Laurie Bengson Laurie Bengson
Aug 8, 2023 5

The expansive space (inside AND outside) is well-planned and pleasing to all of the senses. The hand-crafted cocktails are varied and delicious. Service is provided speedily by a well-staffed team. Bathrooms are presented in the form of individual 'water closets', which are ideal for patrons who appreciate privacy. Also, with a parking deck adjacent, a downtown experience is easily achieved. Run - don't walk - to The Velvet Hippo!

Photo of Brian Barngrover Brian Barngrover
Aug 7, 2023 5

The Velvet Hippo is the place to visit if your in downtown Durham. They have amazing drinks and great appetizers. The atmosphere is very chill and very relaxing. You almost feel like your in a Tiki Bar Spa. The outside patio and rooftop is amazing and the bartenders and management go above and beyond to make it a perfect experience. We are very excited to have a new place to visit when we are downtown.

Photo of Alex Davis Alex Davis
Aug 5, 2023 5

Loved this place. It’s on the third floor and right next to a parking deck so it was so easy to access. It’s a large area with tons of outdoor space. If it’s a weekend you will have to fight for a seat but it’s worth it! It’s decorated so nicely and the drinks were delicious. My favorite was the Maui Mayhem. Will be coming back. Great vibes

Photo of Chanel JMH Chanel JMH
Jul 31, 2023 5

BEST. ROOFTOP. IN. DURHAM! I am bringing EVERYONE and their mom to this beautiful, delightful Gem 2 blocks away from my downtown home. It is July 2023 And they are currently in the middle of a soft opening. I cannot wait for the grand opening this Saturday. I will start with saying as the parent of a teenager I am okay with this place not being for anybody under 21. I do not want to have drinks and mingle with my friends and other peoples kids. They do allow pets but I would definitely check the hours on that. The drinks so far on the limited menu were absolutely fantastic. There's very few places where I can find bourbon that has a sweet touch to it without too much bitters and they did it right with their old fashioned. The food selection is also limited right now until the grand opening but that crab cake slapped so hard! Kudos to the chef because she is absolutely amazing. The view is fantastic, I will say as a person who absolutely hates bugs and is not from North Carolina there wasn't a single fly in my face while I was eating. The owner and the bartenders are so personable and are okay with my immense amount of conversation. I LOVE this bar.