Buy-TicketsTickets are now available for the 21st annual World Beer Festival Durham, held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Saturday, Oct. 15. 

After visiting breweries in Durham, North Carolina, here are some of the beer bars and bottle shops worth exploring.

Bottle Shops

The patriarch of local bottle shops, Sam’s Quik Shop (1605 Erwin Road) has been supplying unique beers to the Durham community since 1974. Grab something to go or sit at the bar and pick from a dozen taps.

Sam's Quik Shop in Durham, North Carolina
Sam’s Quik Shop is Durham’s oldest bottle shop. (Photo by Bryan Roth)

An extension of the original store, Sam’s Bottle Shop (1112 NC-54) steps up the draft offerings, carrying 26 beers on tap that can be enjoyed on an outside balcony. Plenty of options line the shelves and cooler space, including many in-state brews.

Many staff members at The Glass Jug (5410 Hwy 55, Suite AF) own varying levels of Cicerone certifications and pride themselves on being able to help any customer find the right beer. It’s made easier with the store arranged by style with special highlights on what’s new, in season and local. Sixteen taps, too.

The Glass Jug in Durham, North Carolina
The Glass Jug features hundreds of bottles and 16 taps. (Photo by Richard Mitchell)

Visitors looking to find the gems of the North Carolina beer scene need to stop at Bull Craft Bottle Shop (1125 NC-54, #501), which exclusively sells Tar Heel State beers. The same goes for Bull Craft’s tap list of eight NC brews.

Beer Durham (404 Hunt St., #110) isn’t just a great stop for beer lovers, visitors often swing by with their dogs, too. There are plenty of treats for humans, including 20 taps and growlers to go.

Ramblers (115 Fuller St.) has six beers on tap, but earns extra points for listing the date those tap lines were last cleaned. A selection of beer typically presents two brands from each brewery sold, so customers can better find businesses they’ll like.

Along with 16 beers and wines on tap, Bottle 501 (3219 Watkins Road, Suite 200) offers more than 550 beer bottles from more than 20 countries. If one of the draft options tastes good, take it home. The store sells 32-ounce Crowlers.


Choose from 42 taps at Growler Grlz (4810 Hope Valley Road, #110), which serves flights, full pints and will fill a 32- or 64-ounce glass growler to go.

Don’t let the name fool you, as Kotuku Surf Club (703 Rigsbee Ave.) won’t have any beach-laden kitsch to gawk at. Instead, it brings a small, but thoughtful, tap list. Take your pint outside for a game of bocce.

You’ll find Criterion (347 W. Main St.) in the middle of downtown, an ideal spot for drinks after a meal at one of Durham’s many highly-regarded restaurants. Sink into a booth and see how many beer brands you recognize on the bottles and cans that line the walls.

It’s the best of both worlds: be an adult and choose from 28 beer taps, then drop some quarters for a game of Skeeball or NBA Jam. Social Games and Brews (1007 W. Main St.) brings people and memories together.

A favorite low-key location for locals, Dain’s Place (754 9th St.) has a tap list friendly to North Carolina breweries. You can also lose time carefully making a selection from a large glass door cooler stocked with bottles and cans. Don’t leave without trying the tater tots.

Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom (324 Blackwell St.) offers a classic hangout spot for beer lovers. With 60 taps, you’ll need a beer menu to make up your mind, then play pool or head outside to the biergarten to enjoy some sun.

Grab a beer and burger at The Federal (914 W. Main St.), located in Durham’s Brightleaf Square. The restaurant and bar acts as a perfect starting spot to several other bars on the same block or across the street. The Federal features 14 taps with selections from local and national breweries.

Sports fans will want to visit Satisfaction (905 W. Main St. #37), the perfect pit stop for watching just about any game you desire. Big screen TVs line the walls of the dining area and 18 taps sit behind the bar.

Likewise, if you’re a soccer fan, Bull McCabe’s (427 W Main St.) is your spot. The bar will open early on Saturdays to air matches outside the U.S. and plays host to the Triangle Gooners Arsenal support club. Choose from 20 taps or ask for a list of cellared beers that includes high-ABV beers from Bell’s, Founders and more.