What to do in Durham during Moogfest by This Is Music’s Oli Isaacs
Founded in honor of synth pioneer Robert Moog, Moogfest celebrates the synthesis of music, art and technology. This year’s lineup includes Gary Numan, Laurie Anderson, Blood Orange, The Orb, Oneohtrix Point Never, Bicep, DJ Harvey, Health, Laurel Halo, The Black Madonna, and Veronica Vasicka and takes place in Downtown Durham, NC from May 19-22.
We asked current Durham resident, booker of Moogfest and all around festival expert Oli Isaacs from This Is Music to give us the low down on where to stay, drink and eat in Durham during the festival. See you guys there!
Where to Stay
Durham has two relatively new boutique design hotels, and there are two more on the way. This is simply a sign of the recent tech and cultural boom taking place in the city.
21c is another hotel housed in an old bank and includes a cutting edge gallery space.
Where to Drink
For a small city, Durham has its fair share of bars and breweries. Full steam is a progressive brewery in a spacious and friendly environment. Ponysaurus is many people’s favorite of the four local breweries with an outstanding and uncomplicated menu of beers. Surf club is a local hipster hangout with a great outdoor patio. Attached to the Motorco venue (and adjacent to the Moogfest main stage), Parts & labor has chill vibes and a large bar and outdoor space. It’s also a local favorite serving a good selection of beer, cocktails and snacks. A central fixture on the local scene, Pin Hook is the spot for underground and DIY sounds and they’re hosting a ton of shows for Moogfest. And Bull McCabes is an Irish pub with the best Guinness in town and home to Moogfest’s reggae soundsystem.
Where to Eat
Similarly to the bars and breweries, there’s a ton of great places to eat in Durham. Nanas opened in 1992 and serves high end cuisine in a smart, but not too formal setting. They also just opened a downtown steakhouse called NanaSteak. Gocciolina is a hidden treasure serving Italian delights. Reservations required. Pizzaria Toro is super tasty wood fired brick oven pizza spot with a hip bar. Mateo serves the best tapas in town. Dashi is a ramen shop downstairs and an izakaya (Japanese pub) upstairs serving awesome small plates. India Gate is an outstanding, family owned Indian restaurant in the Research Triangle Park. Thai Cafe serves incredibly fresh Thai food, including good vegetarian options. Luna is a new empanada and rotisserie spot that serves a mean selection of grain bowls as well. Vegan Flava is the best vegan spot in town, plus it’s family owned and really tasty. Scratch is a bakery, breakfast, brunch and lunch spot in Downtown Durham. Cosmic Cantina is a good late night spot serving up solid tacos and burritos. It’s also popular with students. Monuts serves southern style donut and biscuits and there’s usually a line out the door on weekends. Cocoa Cinnamon is the place to go for coffee in Durham. They have two locations, including one right on top of the Moogfest festival site). Only Burger is the best burger in the city–both beef and veggie patties are off the hook– think In N Out. Yes, it is that good.