Stuff We Like is a new series. Every Friday, we'll share an event, a place, a dish, a drink or just something random that the editors love here at Durham Magazine.
Chapel Hill Magazine, our sister publication, recently started a blog called Our Latest Obsession. Every Tuesday, they gush about a topic they can’t get enough of – from foodstuffs to stylish products to music – that can be found in or around Chapel Hill. (Check out their latest obsession, Durham-based band Delta Rae, who’ll be playing at Cat’s Cradle tonight, here.)
Well, since there’s a plethora of stuff we love about Durham, we felt the need to start our own version. So here it is: Stuff We Like. Naturally, I’m kicking the series off with a bar.
Dain’s Place is a Ninth Street staple that has everything you could want in a local dive bar – a hearty menu with a few quirky twists (like Oreos and milk), conversational décor and the best bottle selection I’ve found in Durham short of Sam’s Quik Shop.
I moved to Durham a little more than a year ago, and even as a recent college grad with no real money to speak of, I happily forked over $20-plus for a few good beers and a basket of cheese tots from Dain’s at least twice a week in the summertime. Much of what I know today about beer, I learned at Dain’s.
Dain’s quickly became our regular spot – my boyfriend and I live in West Durham, just a few minutes from Ninth Street, and we could always count on either owner Dain Phelan or his wife, Jen, to be behind the bar making suggestions for new things for us to try. This past Wednesday night was no different.
“I want you guys to try this, and tell me, honestly, what you think,” Jen says as she passes a murky orange mixed drink to us just after we sit down at the bar. She’s experimenting with a new brunch cocktail concept, and it is tasty, so we tell her so. My boyfriend goes into the nitty gritty of the drink details with her, and I think we convince her to put it on the menu. You’ll have to come for brunch on Saturdays from 9am-noon to find out for yourself – I don’t want to give the surprise away.
Jen sets the rest of the drink down in front us, and another experimental drink, and walks away to take care of other customers. Add those cocktails to my Weyerbacher Fire Side Ale and my boyfriend’s blended beer of Foothills People’s Porter and Seeing Double IPA, and we’ve got a lot of drinking ahead of us. But who’s complaining?
If you haven’t been, I strongly suggest you take a stab at making Dain’s Place your place – I think you’ll find it’s a pretty effortless endeavor. – Amanda MacLaren