Durham has so many amazing places to eat and drink it can be an absolute minefield finding where is worth visiting and where isn’t. Durham really has two main areas which are full of these amazing places; Saddler Street and the new Riverside area with most of the best places being located in one of these two spots. So here is a long list of the best places in Durham to Eat and Drink!
If you enjoy this kind of post then absolutely drop your email address below to be notified of all my new posts.
For this post, I have split the list into categories so depending on what you’re looking for, there should be something for you here on this list!
Coffee Shops and Brunch Spots in Durham
Durham is known for its student culture and with that comes a caffeine dependency washed down with avocado toast! So here are the best coffee shops and brunch spots in the city:
Durham Riverview Kitchen
This is definitely a great brunch spot and if you can get one of the lovely seats in the winder overlooking the water then I think it’s one of the best places in Durham. The food was delicious and didn’t take very long to come out despite the restaurant being fully packed. It also wasn’t too expensive either!
You can find their menu or open hours etc on their Facebook page here.
Flat White Kitchen, Durham
I have never walked past this place and there has not been a queue, in all weathers at all times of the year so if you are wanting to visit be prepared to wait! I have never been inside this end, but if it’s just coffee and cake you fancy, visit the coffee shop which is located in the alley behind the front on the main street.
The coffee is really nice and strong so if that’s how you like your coffee, this is a great shout for you!
You can find information about their menu and open hours on their Facebook page.
Cocktails and Bars in Durham
Durham is a great place for cocktails and pretty bars. Not only does the city have a huge student population, but it’s also known as a day-drinking city! On a summer’s day, the bars are heaving and there’s always a great atmosphere! So here are the best ones:
The Boat Club Durham
The Boat Club has always been somewhere I’ve loved in Durham. On one of my and Shaun’s first adventures to the city via bus (back before either of us could drive), we always went and it has just gotten better!
They are now a full-on cocktail bar and being right down on the riverside, it is a really beautiful place to be. They also have some amazing-looking food so it could be worth having a look at that too!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the bar, but I can offer you a toilet selfie!
Visit their Facebook page for more information about it!
This is a really nice looking place, and even though I have never been it came very highly recommended by you lot on my Instagram. It gives very industrial hipster vibes and I’m guessing by their name, they specialize in whiskey! So If that’s your vibe this could be a really great place for you to visit.
If you want to see their menu and find their open hours, their Facebook is the most up-to-date place.
The Drunken Duck
This is another place I have never been but it came very highly suggested by you lot! Although I have had a look through the photos, it looks like a great place to go. It has more of a nightclub vibe than a cocktail bar but still looks pretty good. And they seem to have happy hours and things like that so it isn’t overly expensive either.
If you want to visit and find out their open hours then check out their Facebook page.
Slug and Lettuce
Slug and Lettuce bars always have amazing atmospheres, great drinks and quite often have happy hours. I haven’t been in the one at Durham before, but I have been in the ones in Newcastle and York which are both great venues. If you want to read their menu and find their open hours then visit their website here.
Ebony Champagne Bar
Full disclosure, I had never heard of this one until I reached out on Instagram. But It came back so many times I had to include it! This place boasts expert mixers and 40 cocktails on their many so if that’s your vibe it is definitely worth a visit!
Their prices are a little more than some of the other places on this list, with a pint coming in at £5.30 and the cocktails averaging £10. But it does look like a great place to visit, so it might be worth stopping in for a classy one?
Their menu and open hours are here on their website for you to view.
Cosy Club Durham
So Cosy Club is a restaurant, however, the cocktails it serves were, I thought, a lot better than the food thus I have put it in the section instead of the food one which is coming next.
They had so many really nice ones. And yes they were a little expensive but the ones I have had from them were pretty strong so I think it is worth it. My favourite was the Cherry Bake well one, but they also had this one which I can’t remember the name of, but it had mango in it which is always a winner for me!
This is another great addition to the Riverside area and you really could have such a fun day just bar-hopping along here! Anyway, you can view their menu and book a table over on their website here.
Restaurants In Durham
There are so many amazing restaurants here in Durham, from well-known chains to small independents! Here are some of my favourites and some that are on my list!
I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening night of Turtle Bay last year and we had an amazing time! However, given that that was a press night I wanted to go back and see if the food and service were still good outside of the event when they were trying to schmooze us. And it was!!
Firstly they have happy hour most days of the week so if you want drinks as well as food then this could be a really good shout! But the food is amazing and they have such a diverse menu with meat, veggie and vegan options that I think everyone could find something they would like, even with that Caribbean flair!
It’s decorated incredibly too which gives it such an amazing atmosphere. Overall this is a great place to visit and even though it is a chain I do think it is one of the best places to visit to eat and drink in Durham!
If you want to go then you should think about booking and have a look at their bottomless brunch menus! But visit their website for all the info you will need here.
The Food Pit
This is another great addition to the new riverside development in Durham which has rave reviews. Honestly writing this list has made me realise I need to get to Durham more as this is another one I haven’t been to!
But The Food Pit has 8 different street food style stalls within it, as well as a bar serving cocktails and beers. So this could be another great place to grab some food and a few drinks! Especially if you get a summer’s day and can sit outside on the riverfront!
This one is high on my list and should be on yours too! Have a look at all the different vendors’ menus and find their open hours on their website.
I know this one is another chain, but Zizzi is a really good Italian restaurant and one I have never had any issues with! It also has a load of options for carnivores and veggie/vegans so it’s always ideal for us!
We visited the Durham site last summer and the food didn’t miss a trick at all! If you are going then definitely start with their garlic bread with the caramelized onions because that was incredible!
Their main menu had so many options that I was spoilt for choice. But ended up going for their pesto ravioli, and Shaun has one of the calzones which is cooked in a proper stone-baked pizza oven!
You can book your table, find open hours and browse the menu here on their website.
This Italian is supposed to be a really good one to visit, so if that’s up your alley then give it a try! I’ve never been so I cannot say what it’s like but I will try and give it a go when I can!
If you want to give it a go you can find their menu and open hours etc over on their page.
Now this one I can confirm is amazing and well worth a visit!! I’ve been to Fat Hippo so many times and absolutely love it. It’s genuinely one of my favourite restaurants ever! It serves delicious burgers (both meat, and vegan), amazing sides and quirky craft beers. It is a bit hipster but in a good way!
If you take anything from this list, take Fat Hippo! They also have a site in Jesmond and Newcastle but have others outside of the North East too. It is a chain, but a small one so let me off!
Have a look at their many and book a table (it’s not a huge place!) over on their website.
If you’re looking for somewhere fancy and a little more luxurious, then this could be a great spot for you! If you’ve got an occasion coming up and want to dine out at a fine food restaurant then maybe give this one a try. The menu looks delicious although I’ve not yet visited.
Have a look for yourself over on their website.
Late one night in Durham, me and Shaun were stumbling around (pissed) trying to find somewhere still open for food, and this place was the only place still open. So we went in not expecting much and stumbled upon an absolute gem. It’s upstairs and has such an intimate atmosphere, as many Italians do.
It might have been the alcohol but we polished the lot and we both had huge portions! It really was delicious and I do think it is a great place to visit. It wasn’t very expensive either, and considering the portions, it was very fairly priced.
Out of all the Italians on this list (that I have tried), I think this could be the best in Durham.
Tango is absolutely next on my list of places to try because every time I have walked past it, the place is rammed! It is a burger restaurant that seems to have a load of options on it, including plenty of veggie and vegan ones too.
Just reading the menu has got me drooling so I will definitely be planning a trip through ASAP! Have a look for yourself over on their website here.
Have you ever visited a Speak Easy? Me neither until we visited The Rabbit Hole. Set up as a Shanghai Supper Club, this place has such a unique and inviting atmosphere. Not to mention some incredible food. Really it is some of the best Chinese food I have had in a long time.
They also had some really delicious cocktails which explains why I got no photos of the food but plenty of shots of blurs and my feet! (apparently, all I do in Durham is get drunk? This place is a little out of the city centre but it is worth the walk out to it! But I would recommend booking a table because it was packed when we went with a queue down the street!
You can view their menu and book a table over on their website.
If you want to know more about the city of Durham and more of what you can do while you’re there then have a look at my guide to visiting the City of Durham.
Well, that’s everything I have to recommend. I will, of course, be adding to this post over the years so if you think I have missed anywhere let me know and I will be sure to add it. I hope you’ve found somewhere to visit or at least got some inspiration from this post. And if you enjoy this kind of content then drop your email address in the box below to be notified of any and all my upcoming posts!
Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring!
Want to feature on Mackemlife? Whether it be here on my blog, Facebook Page or Instagram, I am always looking for new businesses to work with. If you are interested, make sure to have a look at my Work With Me page and get in contact with me!