It's an exciting time to live in Durham. Well - it always has been, in the last 5 - 10 years, but right now there seems to be this particular boom of newly Kickstarter-funded food trucks in the process of setting up storefronts (Cocoa Cinnamon, Parlour), new restaurants opening, new bars in the works (I'm particularly excited for Alley 26), new boutique hotels being planned - all in a fairly small, dense area of downtown Durham.
Of course, I wasn't thinking any of this when I first headed out the door last night. Micah and I just wanted a drink, and we didn't want to go to any of our (perfectly awesome) "usual places." So we headed to Whiskey - a place we usually go to celebrate a professional achievement or anniversary with carefully crafted Prohibition-era cocktails (or - of course - whiskey). I love that it's always nighttime in Whiskey. The interior is dark, filled with glossy wood, patina, Chesterfield sofas, and the scent of good tobacco. They have the most impressive selection of whiskey I have ever seen in my life - I usually start with a shot of Redbreast on the rocks, since Irish whiskeys are my jam. But really, you can find almost anything here. (I wonder if they could do a flight of Irish whiskeys for me? Maybe for my birthday...)
After a drink or two, we decided to walk a few doors down to Mateo Bar de Tapas for some much-needed snackies. Mateo has been open - what, a week now?, and we were pleasantly surprised but definitely delighted to find it absolutely bustling on a Wednesday night. We grabbed two seats at the bar and took a glimpse at the (mostly in Spanish, but terribly exciting) menu before letting our bartender recommend a few plates. I think we got some sweet and sour pork ribs, a sort of mussel/shrimp salad pile, and the tomato/bread base. The plates came quickly, and were tiny and delightful. The wine list looked impressive, but we stuck with beer at that point in our trajectory. The atmosphere was great - warm, modern, and the demijohn-esque lights above the bar were a nice focus.
Overall, the whole evening was unexpectedly exciting. That Five Points area of downtown is going to absolutely explode with development in the next year. And I'm going to be there to watch it, with a whiskey in one hand and a tapa in the other. Cheers!